The Battle For Talent: Attracting The Best Trainees

Dec 23, 2022

Our featured research topic in this year’s competition is “Recruitment.” In this 2 part series, we’re exploring the topic of “The Battle For Talent,” specifically not only recruiting trainees to companies and retaining them. Part one of our series explores how we attract talent to our companies and how we create an image of our companies to do this.

Talent competition is fierce. We all want to attract the best trainees and employees to our companies and build strong, effective teams. We spend time, effort, and money in creating the ideal perception of our companies to appeal to prospective trainees. Still, the reality is that the façade needs to match the experience.

The market for traineeships is increasingly competitive, with new traineeships constantly appearing that further dilutes the available pool. How can we attract the best new talent to our companies and create a realistic but attractive company outlook?

Online Presence

The first step to a winning strategy should be an assessment of your online presence. Effective social media isn’t just about attracting customers – it’s also extremely powerful tool to attract potential employees and specifically potential trainees. 

86% of potential employees (source:  will research companies and look at their online reviews when deciding when and where to apply for a job. Trainees want a transparent and authentic perception of what your company is like to work for before they even consider applying. One of our past winners utilizes social media as a strategic tool to attract trainee talent.

Best Traineeship Battle for Talent
Social media is also a powerful way to make yourself known as a company with new potential trainees and other colleagues. –
Mart Koeslag, Enexis Group, 2020 Winners

The Enexis Group utilized social media effectively during and after the 2020 competition, showcasing not only their win, but also implemented as a powerful and effective recruitment tool for future traineeships.

It’s worthwhile investigating your online presence (this can be as simple as a Google search!) and seeing what people are saying about your company. As you may know, websites exist that have reviews, salary information, etc, which are also worth investigating. Online promotion of specific parts of your traineeship, and tagging in your important network connections helps spread the word.  Potential trainees can be reached effectively through this method. 

Why? Because we can 100% guarantee that the potential trainees will google your company, your traineeship and everything that they can find which is utilized to decide which company they will join.

On the topic of your online presence – how are you portraying your company on social media? Is there is a balance between informative, industry-related posts and company culture? Does your social media presence match your company culture? It might be worth considering this when you’re looking to attract trainees. 

Target Specific Networks

Trainees get as lost as you do when googling.  That’s why it’s important to have a physical, as well as a virtual presence.

The opportunity to meet companies face to face at career events is great for trainees. They can ask questions from representatives of the companies, and have physical contact.  When this is done before the selection process, it makes the company visible and available, and portrays them in a positive light to potential candidates.

best traineeship attracting trainees alumni

Have you also considered your Trainee Alumni?  Those past trainees, who are still connected to their universities and nearly graduated students who are a golden source for applications.  Showcasing their personal experiences (such as our previous entrant, the NN Group) attracts like-minded students, especially those who have the same study, or major.  Current trainees are also a valuable resource for the same reasons.

While on the topic of universities – approaching the student recruitment team in local universities and colleges and building a relationship with them can yield valuable connections, and trainee applications.

Don’t rule out the power of your own network, either. Word of mouth is an effective recruitment tool!

Appealing To The Right Audience

It might sound basic, but who is your target audience, and how well do you know them? Attracting trainees might sound simple, but knowing who you want for the role and making sure you’re tailoring your job description and the actual position for them can be quite challenging.

Take an in-depth look at your target audience, and discover what motivates them to apply.  Do a focus group with the past two years of trainees, and ask them for input on your target audience. What made them choose your company over your competitor?

It’s important to ensure that your position and your company are attractive to  your specific audience. If you’ve done the online review, and are transparent about your mentorship and support programs, make sure that everything else aligns – are you using the right language? Is your wording too formal, or not formal enough? Are you transparent about your company’s values? Within our competition, we found that this was such an important question to ask trainees that we have made it our featured research for this year.  Asking questions like the following:

  • To how many traineeship programs did you send your CV (or applied online)?
  • In how many traineeship application process(es) were you accepted into?
  • How many traineeship and/or job offers did you receive?
  • What was the main reason (up to 3 reasons) you chose this particular traineeship/company?
  • Please choose up to 3 main reasons why you chose your company, or choose “other” if we missed the reason here:
    • Culture & People
    • Location
    • Marketing, Social Media & Image
    • Content of Traineeship Program (L&D, etc)
    • etc
  • What would you do to improve in the recruitment process of your traineeship?

These questions have helped us better identify the triggers that inspire trainees to apply for, and choose your traineeship. The Benchmark Report will give highly valuable information regarding this topic to help you on your way with sharpening your target audience. 

Promote The Advantages

Starting a new traineeship by hitting the ground running isn’t unrealistic or unexpected. Trainees want to know that they have not only the necessary training to meet this expectation but also that they have support through mentorship and peer support programs. 

As we discussed in our last blog, effective mentorship programs, either formal or informal, are an effective way to support both trainees and employees in the workplace. Trainees rely on these programs for the vast experience they can provide, as well as the workplace insights, and learning the company culture.

It’s essential to promote the existence of your mentorship program, not only in your onboarding but also online and within the position description for your traineeships. An effective mentorship program that supports your trainees is definitely an attraction for talent. This goes for all benefits of your program – be transparent and be open about what the benefits for trainees are within your company. Reassuring them they are supported and will gain knowledge and information is essential.

Recruitment Is Just The First Step

The battle for talent has many parts, and that’s why we’ve chosen this as this year’s featured research.  Our Benchmark Report gives valuable insights and information about how to utilize this research in your traineeships – get a blinded copy here to see how our data can be used to do this.

In this blog, we’ve covered just a few of the essential considerations you need to make to recruit the best trainees to your positions – but what about keeping them? 

In the next blog we’ll cover the essentials of retaining trainees and how you can keep your trainee talent in your company.


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