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2017: What Did You Learn About Graduates?

Dan Hawes, GRB Co-Founder and Claudia Tattanelli, Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Board, UNIVERSUM compare their findings and insights in the last 12 months based on broad client experience and International research projects in the student market.

Did your recruitment strategy hit its objectives? Did any graduates throw you a curveball? Did you have to flex or pivot your tactics? What did you change? What will you avoid next season and what will you scale up?

As recruiters reflect on the 2017 graduate recruitment season many will be hoping to gain an advantage from the lessons learnt as we enter 2018. In the fast moving war for graduate talent, recruiters had to be on their game in 2017 more than ever as a finite amount of talented graduate job seekers entered into the job market. So what are some of the things GRB learnt about graduate behaviour in 2017?

1.       They are taking multiple offers - One of the top things we saw were reneged offers: graduates accepting more than one job offer leaving recruiters by the wayside last minute. This generated a huge amount of enquiries to my team as recruiters scrambled to fill shortfalls as a result of offers being rejected.

2.       They are researching you like never before – but only if they can find you online. Recruiters with active, engaging social media channels are managing to get ahead of their competitors by opening dialogue at an earlier stage. This enables candidates to learn more about a company and its opportunities gradually building trust and loyalty and eventually “buy-in” with the employer.

3.       They expect feedback every step of the process – Keeping your graduate applicants in the loop is now easier with technology so there’s no excuse for dropping the ball on this one. A negative experience may not just lose you a great candidate but you will have also just taken away some your brand loyalty too.

4.       They bring commercial awareness – Most students with time around their studies are able to acquire the usual customer service or retail experience but many are thinking strategically and choosing internships that set them apart and offer more transferable skills to employers. However don’t expect if they intern with you they’ll join you when they graduate – they are very focussed on hoovering up skills.

We now turn to the experience of Claudia and her team at UNIVERSUM whose research covers more than 125,600 students and graduates across Europe to reveal more insights.

Prestigious companies’ names are not that attractive anymore: talent today is looking for a purpose they share and for a culture they would belong to when choosing an employer. Big corporations are also competing against start-ups which are perceived to provide a more flexible and fast paced environment where students and graduates can actually make an impact with their personal contribution.

5.       They fear a cultural mismatch and the absence of development opportunities – Their biggest fears are represented by joining a company that does not match their personality and to get stuck in a position with no development opportunities. Professional training and development is highly valued by both women and men studying Business and STEM.

6.       They are still looking for work life balance – which translates in a respectful, friendly and flexible work environment where their ideas are heard and where they are enabled to integrate their personal interests in their schedules. Tech employers are the most associated with these characteristics, while banks score the lowest.

7.       They look for an authentic and genuine communication from companies – no more fancy and glossy ads, if companies want to build trust and credibility as the employer of choice they should start leveraging their own employees and involve them on social media: talent is more likely to trust people who have worked or are working at the company and social media is the place where you can reach and engage with them.

8.       They are not the same – they have different preferences across countries, gender, areas of study and year of study: there are commonalities of course, however in order to be more successful in communicating with students and graduates companies should take in account the differences and target their communication for their specific audience.

 For further information please contact Dan Hawes at GRB on 01273-200411 or Claudia Tattanelli at UNIVERSUM can be reached on +39 340 9188295 or 



Dan Hawes is the Marketing Director at Graduate Recruitment Bureau. He hopes to enlighten students, graduates and employers with his wisdom from over 20 years in the industry.  

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