Our experts have created this section which covers everything you need if you are recruiting graduates for the first time or need to check your current process against an industry standard checklist.

1. Know the market

Just like any task, research is key. To effectively recruit for a particular role, you need to be clued up on the target market and where to find the best candidates – not to mention who your competitors are. Decide on the universities you want to recruit from, and which courses would be applicable to the role in question. Then do your homework on the behavioural habits of the students/graduates you hope to sift through and apply these to your searching tactics. Learn more about Generation Z.

2. Make your brand as attractive as possible

In a time when students are stubbornly attracted to big name companies, as a smaller ‘less attractive’ brand, you need to do some clever marketing. If you have the authority, aim to generate a graduate specific section of your website, giving you a far better chance at attracting prospective employees. Also consider how enticing your job specification is; if you’ve done your research on the market, you can employ your new found knowledge here. Learn more about Employer Branding.

3. Be clear on your proposition

Begin by asking (and answering) the question ‘Why do we want to hire graduates?’ Once you have a solid response, you can use these points to attract more people to the role. Now consider what your brand and the role in question has to offer in comparison to your competitors. Be sure to highlight the company’s strengths in order to stand out. If you however lack the resources to efficiently market the role, consider working with a recruitment agency who will do the leg-work for you. Learn more about the 7 benefits of hiring graduates.

4. Get clued up on the law

Be sure to learn about and abide by employment legislation, such as the 2010 Equality Act. Learn about Employment Law.

5. Is everyone adequately trained?

Ensure that everyone involved in the selection process has also done their research, and has received adequate training for the task at hand. Learn about Effective Interviewing.

6. Choose ‘best-fit’ over ‘best’

Remember: the ideal candidate for a role may not be the most qualified or the ‘best’, but should be someone who fits the job specification and would work well in the environment for which you are recruiting. Learn about Selection Methods.

7. Avoid stereotyping

In the same vein as number 6, don’t be blindsided by the prototypical ‘ideal’ candidate. For example, not all graduates that would meet your job specification are 21 years old or even fresh from university (they may have taken a gap year). If there was ever a time to apply this cliché, it’s now: Think outside the box!

8. Embrace social media

Hopefully your research will lead you to the key social media sites for recruitment and how to use them effectively. With Generation Z as your probable target, embrace their love for social media sites they have grown up using daily. Grab their attention when they least expect it. Learn about Marketing to Students.

9. Learn when and where recruiting will be tricky

Through research and experience you will come to learn that specific roles can be a lot harder to recruit for than others plus the timing of your campaign can affect success too. Learn more about Running a Graduate Recruitment Campaign. 

10. Consider work placements

A growing band of employers are now offering work placements to undergraduates. Quality placements have the dual benefits of providing 'employment trials' and building your brand name. A student who experiences a great work placement will become an ambassador for the business and hopefully return as a graduate hire. Learn more about Gaining Value from Student Placements.

11. Expand your searches

The graduate talent pool has expanded in recent years, but competition among employers remains strong, especially within the top university bracket. A smart move might be to consider 'fishing' in different parts of the graduate talent pool, including graduates who left university in previous years. See the GRB Talent Pool Data.

12. Provide feedback

Feedback is both essential for a candidate’s progression and also respectful of their time. Even if they weren’t right for the job, let them know why. If they move forward through the recruitment process, feedback is especially helpful. Plus, taking the time to be honest with potential candidates builds the brand as well as satisfying their curiosity. Learn more about feedback.

13. Try to reduce ‘time to hire’

In a market where graduates take multiple job offers, keeping them engaged post-offer is essential. This can exacerbated where there’s a time lag between a candidate’s offer and their start date so plan to keep them ‘warm’ through communicating regularly with them. Using social media or technology is a good way of managing this.