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Graduate Recruitment – How the Market is Moving On

Few would argue that technology has revolutionised the graduate recruitment industry, making it more efficient and effective for all those involved. 

Engaging and attracting the very top talent has never been more crucial to organisational success, especially with candidates increasingly expecting forward thinking companies to have the tools and technologies in place to stand out above its competition. Tommy Lai, Marketing Director at WCN, the leading global e-Recruitment software provider, believes that traditionalgraduate recruitment practices are over, encouraging companies to adapt or risk losing top talent to more progressive rivals. Today’s graduates are more creative in their approach and align themselves with companies they have a desire to be employed by; this means early engagement is the key to attracting this top talent. Failure to do so could mean that you’ll be losing out on high potential hires now, and future experienced hires…

1. It’s a Candidate Driven Market

Companies need to have the candidate in mind and cater its website towards the needs of those being targeted. Graduates, now more than ever, want to connect with real people, hear the voice of the employees at the organisation, and see the authenticity of the brand; 56 percent of candidates prefer an employer blog than a recruiter blog. There is also an increasingly common theme developing, that candidates feel that applying for a job should be a ‘fun’ experience, not time heavy and surrounded in confusion. The recruitment process should be a two way road of clear communication, which should not be neglected by organisations due to time or budget constraints.

2. Take a Virtual Approach

Whilst talking at a recent industry seminar, leading graduate recruiter, Blackrock, stated that a more virtual approach is needed when targeting graduate applicants. Candidates seem to prefer a virtual recruiting process, including webinars, online interaction during the recruitment process and video interviewing. Pre-recorded interviews have become the largest part of the process, and graduates seem to like it, as they can add some ‘personal colour’ to their CV. With Britons spending twice as much time online as they did ten years ago, it is no wonder that the recruitment industry has had to adapt and take a more virtual stance. 16-24 year olds now spend over 27 hours each week online and 72 percent now have at least one social media platform, which is a 50 percent increase since 2007. The world Generation Y live in has been completely revolutionised by technology and organisations need to change its approach in order to keep attracting the very top talent.

3. Improve the Recruitment Experience

Graduate candidates are becoming increasingly irritated with ‘job searches’, because many feel they have certain skills that cross over numerous different sectors, restricting their desired reach. The repercussions of having a poor candidate experience can resonate far beyond recruitment. John Lewis Partnership, who views each potential applicant as both an existing and future customer, has stated that they would expect to lose up to £4.8 million per annum without adopting a positive approach to candidate experience. With this in mind it is clear that the more sceptical companies need to adopt a different outlook, as it can greatly improve employment results as well as brand loyalty and brand awareness. With more graduates thinking with their feet it is crucial to create a positive recruitment reputation for all potential and future hires.

4. Find the Right Candidate

It might sound simple, but you have to attract the right person for the right role. Interacting with graduates in the relevant locations (social media, blogs, LinkedIn and mobile) can increase the number of applicants. It is becoming an increasingly common train of thought that two graduates with similar degree qualifications, in different subjects, are equally employable. Companies looking to employ a graduate must not filter its search down to just those with seemingly relevant degrees, because they risk losing other top talent. It is important to remember that the most statistically qualified person is not always the best fit; you can always teach them the skills needed to perform the role successfully. Whilst there is no magic formula to finding the best fit for your business, removing unconscious bias from the recruitment process will certainly help. Major employees have already started to tackle this CV prejudice; by agreeing to hide candidate names on their application processes. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

5. Use Technology Better

Graduate recruiters need to move away from outdated tools, such as Excel, Survey Monkey and Word in favour of new online technologies, social media and increased virtualisation. These new methods will help attract and identify top graduate talent, allowing ‘key matches’ to be obtained during the screening process, leaving the most desirable candidates. The recruitment industry will always innovate, but today the biggest tool is using Big Data to your advantage, allowing it to rank applicants check diversity levels and analyse where the best graduates can be found. In a recent study, a computer could more accurately predict the subject’s personality than a work colleague by analysing just 10 Facebook Likes; more than a friend or a roommate with 70 and a family member with 150 Likes. 

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