SmartRecruiters Blog

Apprenticeships: The War for Tomorrow’s Talent

Recruiting ain’t easy and for most hiring manager recruiting great employees is a long, drawn out, and uncomfortable process. The hiring process historically takes 90 days from start to finish, adding stress not only for the businesses as they make adjustments to temporary fill the organizational and work flow gap that exists, but equally frustrating for candidates who wait often impatiently to hear back regarding their application. In the new workforce where Generation Y makes the rules as older Boomer workers begin retiring, the Gen Y workforce wants instant gratification. Gen Y wants autonomy, flexibility, and personal development preparing them for the next challenge or experience to add to their growing resume.
For competitive industries like technology and start-ups, that particularly is an enormous challenge. Larger organizations – especially the top tech companies – offer large bumps in salary and amazing fringe benefits to employees, some even complete with a college campus style atmosphere. You can’t compete especially when it comes to the specialty type positions of coders, programmers, and engineers that in such high demand.  What’s an organization to do?
Apprenticeships offer hands on learning with some of the best practitioners. Apprenticeship programs may just be the answer. LivingSocial recently closed the first round of applications for their new apprenticeship program Hungry Academy on January 9th.  At Hungry Academy, all levels of engineers are considered, while previous job history and education are not required.  The 18-month apprenticeship program provides training to fit the apprentice’s schedule as it is completed over the course of five months online and guarantees them a job for 18 months upon completion.



“I’ve often thought ‘just give me 3 months with a smart person and I can have them running circles around the average developer.’ Have you thought that too? I know a lot of my colleagues have.” – Chad Fowler on Hungry Academy 


LivingSocial isn’t the first to offer apprenticeship programs but Hungry Academy is a best of the best program.  In DC, where their offices are located, LivingSocial is the premier employer for the tech community and sets the bar for other tech companies and startups who reside in the metro area.


Editors Note: I completed my Apprenticeship and said, "Computers, Compute!"

Apprenticeships are a great way to learn and a trend that is growing: I know of at least a dozen innovative programs that offer very specialized training for skilled high tech positions (but this one is led by Jeff Casimir).

So let’s say that you are not an organization who has a need for a technology specialized apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship programs offer a great opportunity to tap into the millions of motivated, unemployed, and under-utilized workforce by offering them an opportunity to learn, professionally evolve, and work. But the apprenticeship model can work when searching for any postion, from customer service managers to corporate support positions to maintenance technicians to delivery drivers. You can then make a well informed hire based on drive to work, production, cultural fit, and personality, while giving people a chance to overcome perceived limitations in specific skills, education, or qualifications.


Recruiting using succession-planning strategies like these is not an effective option for Just In Time Recruitment. But the longterm matters. Business leaders must hire for today, but not always for today; for investing in the development of training programs catered to the specific apprenticeship positions can secure the best talent of tomorrow.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.


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Video Credit Hungry Academy


Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.