A UK study by the Association of Graduate Recruiters involving 10,000 students and graduates and 395 employers and intermediaries i found 34% of graduates are in temporary work not related to their career and 12% have a permanent career job in a non-graduate job immediately after graduation. These statistics are alarming and send a clear message to organisations (and Universities!) that if they are to win the hearts of minds of graduates they need to get closer to the talent source and begin their recruitment program in the early stages of the students university program.
International employer brand strategist, Brett Minchington shares 10 insights into graduate recruitment from a keynote address he delivered at the recent International Placement conference in Italy along with Dr John Sullivan.
- Graduate recruiting begins with understanding the whole system and its key players – these include Universities, Governments, Employers, Industry Associations, Skills Boards, Media, Recruitment agencies/vendors, and the various support service providers including on/offline careers fairs, online job boards. Understanding the key players is the first step in develop a graduate recruiting strategy that delivers long term value to the organisation by understanding and meeting the needs of stakeholders.
- Have a long term mindset – relationships need to de developed with key University personnel (e.g. lecturers, careers staff, etc) and recruiters should not expect applicants to fly in simply because they have job vacancies. Top University talent are also in high demand by your competitors.
- Take a class or chair a discussion on campus about your organisation or industry – the most powerful teachings come by linking the theory to practical applications and providing students with an opportunity for detailed Q&A sessions on campus will enhance your employer brand.
- Understand the mindset of a graduate and deliver relevant and personalized communication about your company and employment offerings – your online recruiting initiatives should include communication channels where you are likely to find your target audience – e.g. Facebook, MySpace, You Tube, Linkedin, Second Life, concerts, the beach, fun runs. Talent acquisition initiatives such as career videos, video testimonials from the most recent graduate intake, blogs, 2 way chat, TV shows, online video games, podcast and billboards.
- Don’t over complicate the recruitment message – be clear in the type of graduate you are looking to recruit and don’t expect to recruit a CEO straight out of University. Promote career development, flexibility, opportunities for fast track advancement and accessible leaders if you are serious about attracting the best.
- Build a relationship with students you want to recruit on graduation. Use a combination of high tech and high touch to communicate relevant messages about your company and also seek referrals from engaged targets.
- A recent UK survey found 4 out of 5 job hunting students and graduates use career websites to search for work. In my recent ASX150 Career Website Research and Best Practice Guidelines Publication I found that the majority of Australian careers sites were static, out-of-date, contained too-much text and lacked interactivity. This will change over the next couple of years but those investing in their career website now to engage their target audience will get a head start on their competitors.
- Make it easy for graduates to apply for positions in your company. Provide resume application and application letter tips, ways to answer tough interview questions and provide an avenue for graduates to provide feedback on the recruitment process.
- Don’t forget the parents - Parents help influence their career choices so ensure they are part of your recruitment strategy.
- Understand that as well as having robust training programs you will need to have programs in place that manage the graduates transition from full-time education to the world of work, which represents one of the most fundamental changes in people's lives. This may involve coaching or mentoring with recent graduates, supervisors or leaders. I have seen a number of world class graduate programs on paper that fall flat on execution leading to confusion, frustration and turnover.