Gamifying the job hunt: Debut connects graduates to the right employers

Using games to engage graduates on the job-hunt, Charlie Taylor of Debut wants to make it easier for millennials and employers to connect online.

A-level results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are out today, amid a more difficult change in examination conditions.

Ucas figures show 411,860 students have taken places at university already – down one per cent on last year. Yet  27.9 per cent of the 18-year-olds has already been accepted – a new record.

With a good pipeline of talent coming through the education system, one app thinks its time that businesses need to refresh the way they communicate with graduates.

Looking to revolutionise the way graduates engage with employers, Debut, the job-hunting app for students, has put together the top ten interview faux pas. Charlie Taylor, the founder, thinks that it ‘s about time businesses caught up with the millennial generation.

So what does Debut do for students and employers?

We are an app that allows students and graduates to quickly engage with employers, completely free. We have gamified the process, encouraging graduates to engage with company culture and educate themselves on the intricacies of employment through games, blogs and interaction.

On the employer side, we streamline the process to help them find relevant candidates and connect with them directly, offering internships and interviews as notifications on their phone rather than lengthy email exchanges. Employers no longer need to sit through one candidate at a time, like a tinder for recruitment, wasting time, it is all expedited and made simple for both parties.

Where did the idea come from?

I noticed something strange when I was at university, which was that we, as students, do everything from our phones. We are ordering food, we are dating, shopping, getting taxis and controlling our banks on our phones; but we are doing pretty much nothing on our mobiles when it comes to careers. What made it even stranger was that even leading technology companies were not interacting online with students.

Todays undergraduate was 11 years old when the iPhone was released. They look at their phone on average 214 times a day, they don’t know any different to this mobile atmosphere. The career industry needs to flex and engage with this shift.

I thought back to when I had just graduated and I thought about how tough that entire process was. After some investment pitches, we launched with 40 FTSE 100 companies and in 12 months we raised £2.2 million; our last round being with three very strong venture capitalists and one big Angel called Paul Forster, the former CEO of Indeed.

Debut is based in Old Street in London, with what will soon be 20 full-time staff members. Our customers range from Rolls Royce and Tesla, to Microsoft, EY, the NHS and the Police service and many more.

How do you market and engage with the millennial generation?

Finding a career is important for a student and it isn’t a luxury, it is very much a necessity.

People use Deliveroo because they are hungry, Tinder because they want to find love, online banking for the ease and convenience of checking their account. Finding a career is of particular importance when they are coming out of university with £30,000-£40,000 of debt with their parents breathing down their neck about career prospects.

Students are bombarded with marketing and advertising but if you create something you can trust and that works, doing something that this generation loves which is convenience and speed on mobile, you stand a good chance of capturing their attention.

The top ten interview faux pas from Debut

1. Swearing, being rude or talking about illegal activity

2. Using a mobile phone for something unrelated to the interview

3. Being late

4. Not doing the right amount of research on the company

5. Getting the name of the interviewer wrong

6. Not having examples when responding to a question

7. Forgetting what you have said on your CV

8. Not having any questions to ask the interviewer

9. Misunderstanding the dress code

10. Going red or blushing

Some of these points, you would assume, are pretty obvious, but it does happen in interviews and we want to raise awareness of this and I think its really helpful to students to understand this as they step into the world of work.

On the opposite end, is there any advice to employers looking to hire graduates on what not to do?

The number one piece of advice is looking at candidate experience. You look at Apple or Etihad, they pride themselves on exceptional customer service in their stores or with their products. In the recruitment world, that isn’t so much the case. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if job candidates were treated like customers? You blend employer experience with consumer experience and create a strong user experience.

This is where the idea for Debut came from. 20 per cent of UK millennials don’t own a computer, they only use mobile. If you are not speaking the language that your audience is speaking, already you add a layer of friction. Every time you deviate from the way of life of the people you are targeting, you make it harder and put up a hurdle. You ultimately see a reduction in engagement.

Are there any discrepancies between age brackets?

Definitely! That stems from their time spent at university. We have seen that career advice typically doesn’t happen until the third year and more employers are targeting students during insight programmes and weeks.

When formal guidance and training for entering the world of work begins and when companies are coming in to target the audience not the same and the approach for each of these age ranges and each level of interaction and experience with the working world is very, very different.

Why does the younger generation find it so difficult to find work at the moment?

I think one of the reasons is the recruitment industry lacks in the structural changes that each generation has gone through; the way they operate, communicate and engage with companies.

“The job industry hasn’t moved on along at the same speed as these generations. LinkedIn, for example, isn’t suitable for students but great for mid-career workers.”

Employers need to recognise and support the shift in focus but, unfortunately, we still live in a day and age where employees struggle to be supportive of backgrounds and situations. That is something that we sincerely want to change.

Michael Somerville

Michael Somerville

Michael was senior reporter for from 2018 to 2019.

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