Look at me! Pick me! Listen to me!
The tendency of the modern world is that those who shout loudest get the furthest. For young people, pressure to stand out from the crowd has always been something that can make or break an enthusiastic hopeful. Do you have the minerals to go that extra mile and get yourself noticed?
Now, flip the focus from the candidate to the employer, and you'll find that businesses face a very real issue; with raised standards and even more competition for places, it's harder than ever for firms to find the real talent among the enthusiastic pretenders.
A nation of achievers
With over 30 years' experience of investment and business, I understand that the most crucial investment to be made at any employer is its people.
More than a third of the working population in the UK now holds a degree, which can make it tougher to differentiate the highest achievers from the very good, or even just the adequate.
So what are businesses doing to ensure they can find the very best talent?
Making connections is key
In 2015, Ernst & Young (EY) removed degree classification from their graduate programme entry criteria, citing that there is "no evidence" that success at university correlates with achievement in later life.
By opening up their graduate applications to those of all educational levels, they have placed absolute trust in their own selection process.
EY, as just one example, has taken the bold move to make their own connections with as many people as possible, in an effort to identify, first-hand, who the talented candidates are.
In a world that now provides more connection possibilities than ever before, businesses need to find the best ways to reach out to potential employees. Technology is providing the key and, at the heart of this social revolution, we're seeing innovative middlemen who are providing the link between large employer and the best potential employees.
We've aimed to do that at invstr, with our app-based Student Investing Championship. A competition aspect of the tournament - which challenges students to create virtual wealth through playing the markets - forms the starting point, yet it's the additional benefits which demonstrate how the recruitment world is changing.
For high achievers, prizes in the championship include internships and networking events. Both are traditional routes for potential employers to engage but, in this environment, they connect them to candidates they would never normally reach.
Plus, if you take another look at the EY model, competitions such as the championship can provide the add-on that some employers feel are missing -demonstration of real-life attributes such as experience, ability, imagination and eagerness.
Recruitment in the new world
With millennials coming into the workplace with different expectations of their opportunities and abilities, and with Gen Z now coming to working age, the world of recruitment has become more challenging than ever.
Harnessing new connections through competitions, networking, social media and technology is going to be crucial for big business as they look to find the stars of tomorrow. We'll still require hopefuls to go the extra mile, but they now need to identify how they can form the links which will serve them well as they embark on their careers, in any field.