Speaking to a packed audience at a recent Graduate Recruiters Network (GRN) forum, Laurell Hector, fresh from her recent CIPD Conference speech, was able to give hope to many graduate recruiters struggling with retention. I interviewed her briefly after the event for this blog to pass on her insights to a wider audience.
DH: Is graduate retention a real problem?
LH: Absolutely. According to research by The Marketers Forum, the average graduate’s first job lasts only 18 months. This can affect small and large firms in equal measure but the time invested and financial impact can really make SMEs reconsider a campaign if it goes wrong. There are however many, many success stories and so I wanted to speak at GRN to help companies struggling with this part of their strategy that it can be a sound financial investment in human capital and is worth the effort.
DH: Great. What are the common pitfalls recruiters make?
LH: I think recruiters can spend too much time on the attraction and less so on retention which is crazy. Getting buy-in from the board is obviously important but even then it can start going south with something as simple as a poorly thought out job description. If a candidates expectations are mismanaged at the very beginning then the clock is ticking as to when that new hire may start looking elsewhere. Once in post, if a candidate has no defined career path or support, especially with a keen graduate, then this too can stack the odds against that person going the distance you hope they would. Motivations must also be aligned to increase the odds of success. There are a multitude of factors at play and recruiters underestimate its complexity.
DH: It sounds like graduate recruiters especially need to take a strategic view when someone is expecting to start their career with you?
LH. Absolutely. You can't expect a new recruit to stay with you forever however the potential from a graduate could really transform a business so I believe it's worth taking it seriously. As with any business strategy it has to generate profit so expect your FD to want to see a time frame where that candidate will make a contribution in order justify the time and expense you have invested. This will differ with every organisation but this exercise alone with give you much more commitment to see it work and take that candidate along with you.