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Attracting candidates to your Graduate Programme

Graduates are the lifeblood of any growing company. Their fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and hunger for success are invaluable assets that can propel your organisation to new heights. However, in a competitive job market, putting a post on Facebook just won’t do – attracting top graduate talent requires a well-thought-out strategy.

A strong recruitment campaign will form the foundation of your graduate programme, helping you get the best talent in the market for your business. To attract this talent, you must take a holistic approach to planning to ensure a seamless candidate experience.

In this blog, we will look at the key considerations for graduate recruitment and how you can ensure you are attracting and engaging with the right audience.

To start, you should define your value proposition – what makes you different? What can your programme offer them that others can’t? How can you help them develop? Make sure your materials speak to their need. Look at the following considerations for when you start creating your recruitment materials:

  • Clear progression path – Top grads want to know that there is a clear progression path for them and like to see where they could get to – give them the facts and figures of what this looks like within your organisation.
  • Reward – The best graduates will get up to speed quickly as part of a well-designed programme. Include regular reviews and opportunities for two-way feedback. Demonstrate “What’s in it for me” (WIIFM).
  • CPD – Top grads want to develop professionally. Can you support them on the path to chartership/accreditation?
  • Challenge – The world’s most successful companies only take the best of the best. Explain the challenges of the programme and what your expectations are of them in 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. Building a reputation for being a difficult company to get into is beneficial – it’ll put off the people who aren’t right and attract the ambitious and competent individuals that your business needs.

How to attract candidates pre-application

The pre-application phase focuses on generating awareness, capturing interest, building desire, and ultimately motivating potential candidates to take action by applying for your graduate program.  Also, think about when to start the program – some leading employers begin the awareness up to 9 months before onboarding.  Check with your local universities and colleges on their milkrounds.

Attention

Generate some word of mouth through engagement with universities and referrals from current employees. Create social media snippets to gain interest. Write job adverts that follow the AIDA format to ensure content is engaging.

Interest

Share success stories from past graduates or people who have advanced within your organisation. Create explainer videos on the unique things that you do and the impact you have on your industry. Demonstrate the WIIFM for candidates.

Desire

Talk about how challenging the recruitment process is. A highly selective recruitment process means they will work with top talent. It creates a competitive environment for candidates and can make your programme more sought after.

Action

Have a straightforward application process. A CV and cover letter are the most you should request (unless you must have an application form).

How to engage candidates post-application

The post-application stage focuses on engaging with candidates who have taken the initiative to apply for your program. This is where you take action to create a positive candidate experience and enhance your employer brand.

Engage

Take a high-touch approach with candidates. Build in time within the process to ensure you are engaging with them and keeping them bought in throughout each stage.

Communicate

Ensure applicants know where they are in the process and what the next steps are. Know where the communication points are within the process, and ensure you deliver on these consistently throughout – including as much information as possible to keep them well informed. Also, provide applicants with an approachable point of contact for any questions.

Feedback

Make sure all candidates get feedback. They may not be successful in this process, but you may want them to want to make an application to your company in the future. Feedback is a key driver in a positive candidate experience, so providing this will help build your employer brand.

By taking this approach in your graduate attraction efforts, you can help your company stand out in a competitive job market and secure the top graduate talent needed for your organisation’s growth and success.

 

Written by Michelle Kearns.


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It’s time to start planning your Graduate Programmes

Young Graduate Workers Having Meeting

Graduate recruitment is a crucial part of building a talented workforce for the future – it’s a process that requires careful planning, preparation, and execution, and those who want to secure top graduate talent need to start planning now for their 2024 intake.

This blog covers why graduate programmes are important, how long they take to recruit, and tips on what to prepare to ensure a seamless process for you and your candidates.

What are graduate programmes, and why are they important?

A graduate programme, in a nutshell, is a structured training and development initiative designed to mentor recent graduates into valuable assets for an organisation. These programmes are vital for several reasons:

  1. Securing Future Talent: Graduate programs allow organisations to identify and nurture the next generation of talent, ensuring a continuous flow of skilled employees.
  2. Tailored Development: They provide recent graduates with the necessary tools, training, and support to excel in their roles and contribute effectively to the company’s success.
  3. Filling Skills Gaps: In a competitive job market, graduate programs help address specific skill shortages by customising training to the company’s needs.

Why start now for 2024 graduate recruitment?

Graduate recruitment is like every other aspect of recruitment right now – competitive. Starting your planning early can be a game-changer to the success of your recruitment efforts.

Here is why:

  1. Resource Availability: By launching your campaign before final exams, you increase your chances of securing the best candidates, as they’re not yet committed to other opportunities.
  2. Planning and Preparation: Beginning early allows you ample time to plan, create attractive collateral, and fine-tune your selection process.

How long does recruiting for a programme like this take? 

To help you visualise the process, here’s a timeline to consider.

  • December: Gather your recruitment collateral, ensuring it’s engaging and informative.
  • January: Launch your advertisements for four weeks to reach potential candidates.
  • February: Compile your initial shortlist of candidates and send rejections to unsuccessful applicants.
  • March: Carry out your chosen assessments and select your second shortlist. Communicate any further rejections with candidates and provide feedback.
  • April: Conduct first-stage interviews and create the final shortlist, which will then be invited back and interviewed at the final stage. Again, let any unsuccessful candidates know and give them constructive feedback.
  • May: Manage offers and provide final rejections to candidates.

What do you need to get started with a Graduate Programme?

Before you dive into the recruitment process, there is some essential preparation that is needed. Make sure you consider:

  • Candidate Pack – include an overview of career paths, culture, CSR activities, and any other relevant company information that helps differentiate you from competitors.
  • Job Description – outline of the responsibilities and an overview of your graduate training programme
  • The attraction, recruitment & selection process – decide on the various milestones within your processes. When will you advertise? How many interview stages will there be? Which assessment tools will you use?
  • Create interview structure & scoring matrix – create structures for your interviews which link to the competencies and qualities required within your early career intake.
  • Identify advertising channels – make sure your advertisements are available on all social media channels and appeal to the right demographic.
  • CEO Address – this is a personal touch to your recruitment campaign and can be used across your collateral. Make this authentic and provide insight into the organisation and opportunities available.

Preparation is key for a successful graduate recruitment process. By initiating your campaign early and adhering to a well-structured timeline, you can ensure a seamless process for both your organisation and the candidates. Remember, it takes time to identify, attract, and secure the best talent for your company’s future – start planning now to make 2024 a success in graduate recruitment.

 

Written by Michelle Kearns. 


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