Despite fears over Brexit, graduate recruitment is on the rise in 2016 but many employers find the hiring process problematic. Here, we provide answers to the most pressing issues facing HR.
How can I improve the quality of my applicants?
Personnel Today report that 85 percent of employers cite a lack of quality applicants as a barrier to their graduate recruitment success. Improving the standard of people applying to your jobs depends on a variety of factors:
Target your job posts
Employers utilise a number of sources to hire graduates, including careers sites, social media and fostering links with Universities. Job boards are also popular. HR analytics will provide insight into the sources that provide the highest quality of applicants for your business. Innovation in hiring, including gamification will also help to improve initial screening and assessment to provide you with a closer candidate match.
Improve your candidate experience
Delays in the hiring process, a lack of communication, no post interview feedback for unsuccessful applicants and too many recruitment stages all contribute to frustration and a poor candidate experience for graduates. To ensure timely communication, automate your process to ensure all applicants are acknowledged and constructive interview feedback is provided.
Reduce your time to hire
Follow the example of KPMG which will drastically reduce its time to hire from October 2016 by condensing its candidate assessments into just one day, rather than over several weeks. Reducing your time to hire could be the most important change you make to the effectiveness of your graduate recruitment strategy.
Find out what’s wrong: HR technology will quickly identify candidate roadblocks but you can also begin by asking your graduate applicants for their opinion, from ease of application through to their experience at interview and the reasons for any job offer rejections.
How do I retain my new hires?
Utilise skills: Graduate hires are more likely to stay in a job if they feel they are able to utilise the skills and learning they have invested in, but the majority of employers are failing to facilitate that. Accenture’s UK University Graduate Employment Study found that 7 out of 10 graduates feel they are ‘underemployed’ in their current role. Meet the promises you made during the hiring process, offer opportunities to learn, manage expectations effectively and harness the talent and skills available before you lose them.
Understand what graduates want: It isn’t about company size. Accenture found that a quarter of graduates aren’t interested in working for corporates brands. What they are interested in is meaningful work, recognition for their achievements, flexible work options and an engaging and fun culture.
What salary should I pay?
Graduate starting salaries haven’t moved significantly over the last eight years. Today’s entry level positions are attracting salaries of c£23k but where skills are in demand, employers will inevitably need to pay more to attract the right candidates. Glassdoor’s first ever survey into graduate salaries reports the highest earnings for jobs in IT and engineering. The survey notes that the top three paying jobs feature analysts (salary £34,366), consultants (£28,891) and software engineers (£28,370). The availability of graduate talent in your region or sector will also influence salary.
Is the apprenticeship route a suitable alternative to fill the skills gap?
In areas experiencing a skills shortfall, apprentice training may be a viable option for employers. The problem lies in the low up-take among young people, leading to calls for a ‘radical shake-up’ of the system by the CIPD and a delay in the introduction of the apprenticeship levy. The cost of training is also deemed prohibitive by small businesses. It should also be noted that apprentice salaries are rising. The CIPD reports that the majority of employers are willing to pay salaries of up to £18,000 for apprentices.