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Graduate Recruitment: Attracting Graduates to Your Job Vacancies

Hints and tips
Graduate Recruitment

Having freshly graduated this summer, the latest 2015 graduates are out in force looking for their next opportunity. But how do you go about finding and attracting them to your company?

Places to find graduates

Twitter / Facebook – whilst social media and social recruiting may or may not be your thing, 73% of generation Y utilise their online presence to search and apply for jobs.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are a great way to share awareness of the fact that you’re hiring and directing job seekers to the application form/website. What’s more is that social media is easily shared amongst peer groups and it’s the socially acceptable norm to do so meaning that your role gets seen by large numbers of your desired demographic that may have previously been unattainable to you.

LinkedIn – depending on the role you’re hiring for, LinkedIn could be a fantastic opportunity to find graduates. The purpose of LinkedIn is to link businesses/contacts together on a personal level. A lot of graduates set up a LinkedIn account towards the end of their degree to increase their network within the industry and get a feel for companies of interest.

In turn, LinkedIn has developed their platform to push towards recruiting from higher/further education by reducing the minimum age limit for accounts and developing an alumni search. This introduces young professionals to business networking at a much earlier stage.

Job Boardsonline job board advertising remains the most prolific method for job seekers to search and apply for jobs. In addition to the big names you’d expect to advertise on for your normal roles, you could also consider also advertising on graduate job boards too such as milkround, TheGuardian, Prospects, Target Jobs or even local university career sites.

Graduate job seeker habits

Naturally, graduates are not vastly different to anyone looking for a job. But there are some distinct differences in their job seeking behaviour that may develop from their inexperience in the workplace or their awareness of the competitive market. Remember that generation Y has grown up in an age of recession and the threat of high unemployment figures has featured largely in their environment and they are still constantly being reminded of the ‘highly competitive’ job market.

Aware that their peers and their competitors from other universities are also applying for similar jobs, graduates often apply for jobs en masse. Unlike other job seekers, graduates are often in the same position with little or no industry experience but they do have a degree. As do the hundreds of other recent graduates in the area. It makes sense then that they try to cast a wide net in order to get seen. So don’t be concerned if you get in touch and they need refreshing as to which role it is.

Whilst they may apply to more jobs than the average job seeker, they are prepared to spend longer on their application and actually expect to fill out a few lengthy application forms for companies they are interested in. So they apply for a lot of jobs but they are prepared to spend longer on the application process and they are more likely to spend time tailoring their CV and cover letter.  This gives the employer a great opportunity to tailor their recruitment process to this target audience and by designing a well thought out application form at the initial stage it will also allow you to screen these applicants quicker and more thoroughly.

Selection methods commonly used for graduates

There is an array of methods you might adopt to select your perfect candidate. But keep in mind that whilst you are reviewing and short listing potential applicants they are applying for other jobs too. Remember to keep them engaged, you should expect large volumes of applications so the whole recruitment process may take longer than usual.  So, during this period it is important that you communicate with your applicants and watch out for any signs that you are losing your applicant’s interest.

When it comes around to the selection process, you may need to adopt various tiers in order to cope with screening and whittling down the number of graduate applications. Things you could consider include:

  • Application forms
  • Aptitude tests
  • Written assessments
  • Telephone interviews
  • Role plays
  • Interviews
  • Presentations
  • Group interviews

Once you’ve chosen your interviewing and selection process to remember that it’s not just about how they need to impress need to impress them too!

What graduates are looking for in their employer

Don’t forget that most graduates are on an equal footing, they are aware of competition as should you be. While they are applying for your fabulous Graduate Scheme, they are also applying to your competitor’s as well so it is important that you are offering them what they want as well as what you want.

Be sure to sell your company – let the graduates know what you can offer them. Are you offering a competitive salary, attractive benefits, have you explained your company culture and where they fit in and where they can go? Interestingly, it has come to light recently that UK graduates are actually now seeking job opportunities with training and development opportunities attached over jobs with career progression according to research by the World of Learning.

This is particularly of note for smaller companies who don’t have the hierarchical structure of large corporate organisations. This means that you are on equal footing with the big boys – there are lots of part funded skills training schemes to help SMEs provide their workforce with the training they need and desire – take a look at the Skills Funding Agency which has LEPs nationwide so you can see what is on offer in your area and you can be just as competitive as the big brands.

We hope that this post and relevant links have given you some ideas to help you plan your next graduate recruitment campaign.  September is a great month to work on your resource planning or launch your next recruitment drive.  If you would like any help or advice on where to advertise, how to manage your applications or to improve your employability in the graduate market, then please get in touch as we would love to hear from you.

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