Creating a powerful pitch will become your key competitive advantage in the war for graduate talent in 2022. Other parts of your recruitment may become automated in the future but this element of the process cannot. It requires the human touch. So, what can you do to put this into practice?
1. Identify the competition. Who are you up against in the war for graduate talent? Speak to last year’s graduate cohort and see which employers were on their radar. Create a matrix which lists all aspects of the offers from each firm and see how you compare. Enable hiring managers to use this sheet to highlight where your company offers above and beyond the competition when faced with a candidate who is on the fence.
2. Set the stage. This generation aspires to great things. They feel the world can be their oyster and strive to start their “dream job”. This in itself is one of the most single powerful offers you can make. Find out what their dream job looks like. What can you do immediately, or work towards, to help them reach their goal? This could be choosing projects, using cutting-edge technology or working with a high-profile employee or client. Alternatively, try what Google do and offer graduates a set period of time to embark on their own dream project.
3. Early salary reviews. Countless surveys show that salary isn’t always the top motivator BUT right now with wage inflation and staff shortages you have to be in the right ball park to be in contention. If you really can’t budge on the basic salary then maybe promise to have a review after probation or within a year. Another important element is how far their salary will go in your location. Take a look at affordability rates for your area. You may come out on top if you have a good salary without the expense of a big city lifestyle.
4. Meaningful work. Graduates want to make a difference. How good is that?! So share your values and mission statement so they can see what you are all about and the good things you are doing. Emphasise how they have an opportunity to make a difference every day working on innovative products/services that help people, save the planet or even save lives. This can be a very compelling feature to an ambitious graduate keen to start their career.
5. Sell your people! Make them aware of the outstanding qualities of their future teammates. Introduce individuals the graduate will be working with, share LinkedIn profiles and set up informal chats. Remove the mystery and you remove any anxiety the graduate may feel and create a positive buzz from day one.
6. The future. Graduates job seekers all like to know where they will be in 5-10 years’ time so it makes sense to show the likely career progression based on real life examples. Don’t make any promises but do demonstrate what is possible. If your C-suite started on the grad programme then that is the best possible advert!
7. Flexibility. This has shot up the list for graduate job seekers. Offering remote work options where possible or after a short period of time can be especially attractive to graduates who face a long commute or have childcare or other responsibilities.
8. Safety and wellbeing. The “always on” culture of many high-pressured industries needs to consider wellness programmes for graduates to avoid burnout and stress. The pandemic has made graduates come to expect that workplaces will be safe in-person work environments so it’s worth mentioning the precautions you have taken and any support you can offer.
9. Appeal to their ego. For a graduate’s first job, having an impressive job title goes a long way! If you can, offer a range of possible titles to choose from, or even let them create their own with your approval. Other status symbols that may set you apart from other job offers include company cars, office location, an assistant, intern, international travel or gym membership – be creative!
We’d love to add one more to the list and invite you to send us your suggestions so we can make it to ten! Email me at [email protected]. Thank you.