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Six Areas Top Graduate Recruiters Are Investing In

Graduate RecruitmentStudent Recruitment

The war for graduate talent has stepped up a gear. Competition is now fiercer than ever with companies across the globe widening their net to recruit graduates who can work remotely. To compete on this new global playing field, UK based recruiters, need to rethink and adapt their strategy.

We’ve noticed the following areas that top graduate recruiters have updated as follows:

1.    Employer branding. It was important before the pandemic but now more so. This is the time to put more resources into branding so you win any head-to-head recruiting battle to attract the best graduates. If you want to compete with the likes of mega-brands like Google (they get over 3 million applications a year) you need to update your marketing collateral and clearly articulate your vision. Set yourself apart from other graduate recruiters in your sector but also other sectors that appear more exciting than yours. What makes your company great to work for an ambitious graduate?

2.    Job ads. Spare a thought for the often-neglected job advert. These are a HUGE marketing opportunity that gives recruiters a golden opportunity to shine. Look at competitor ads and see what you can do differently so you appear superior when compared side-by-side. Get your candidates excited and explain the real purpose of the role! Ask your most recent hires what sparked their interest.

3.    Think global. If you weren’t before and you can onboard and train graduate remotely, what’s stopping you offering fully remote positions? Think of the newly expanded graduate talent pool you could access especially underrepresented groups now freed from social mobility constraints. Look at your sourcing strategy and make sure your tech is fit for purpose to interview and assess this talent.

4.    Technology. With reduced opportunities to meet candidates face to face now is the time to make sure your technology is up to scratch to successfully interview, assess, onboard and even train remotely. Investing in virtual platforms is essential and will have huge time and cost saving benefits in the longer term so don’t cut corners, start small and build assessments tailored to your requirements. 

5.    Get your team up to speed. Every candidate touch point needs to communicate a consistent message about your company and the role. Prepare your recruiters to successfully convince candidates to work for you and not the competition. Have responses ready for the inevitable comparisons with your competition and back this up with a strong job offer package.

6.    Hardwire Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) into your business. Good DEI can increase profitability by 15% according to Ann Pickering, HR director at Telefónica O2 UK, speaking at the CIPD annual conference last year. "The business case for diversity is a compelling argument," she said. "It really makes a difference to the bottom line, and it isn't difficult.” If an organisation talks about their DEI it positions them in a favourable light within the graduate marketplace. For any DEI initiative to be successful it means valuing and celebrating differences and encouraging a workplace and culture where all can thrive. This means graduates are supported, respected, engaged, have a voice, and are able to develop skills and talents - which company wouldn’t want that?

You may not be able to do all of the above but despite the uncertainties facing employers around the world, top graduate recruiters have used this time to rethink, adapt and invest in areas which have worked for them during previous downturns, embraced new technology and driven forward. This is supported by ISE and AGCAS research “Covid-19: The impact of the crisis on student recruitment and development” in May 2020 that showed that 88% of members are continuing or increasing their graduate recruitment this year and 85% in 2021. Furthermore, many GRB clients have moved through the crisis and not pulled back knowing from experience during the 2008-9 recession and understand the need to continue recruiting efforts so they do not lose ground in the market and have to restart their graduate recruiting at a disadvantage once the economy recovers. Keeping momentum in the right direction for you is essential to remain competitive and not get left behind. 

If you have any insights you’d like to share please email me at [email protected].  

Dan Hawes is the Co-Founder of the GRB Group. He hopes to enlighten students, graduates and employers with his wisdom from over 25 years in the industry.

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