Graduate Campaigns For Professional SMEs – Part 1

Graduate recruitment is unique. The attraction component has more in common with a consumer product launch then it does with a professional mid tier job opening. The selection stage is much more personality and character driven then normal recruitment. Once they are on board not only is there increased effort required to bring them up to speed, but as an employer you have additional opportunity (and responsibility) to develop them as positive professionals. At every stage graduate recruitment and employment is different. Thus it needs a very different approach to make it successful at each of these stages. Today we’ll look at some of the myths and facts about graduate recruitment.

Myth: Hiring a young staff member’s best friend or an older staff member’s niece is good hiring practice. It’s not, plain and simple. A professional and competitive process will deliver you a professional, driven, and better individual.

Fact: Big companies have big brands and those brands attract graduates, in droves. This is partly true, but it’s not ‘droves’ and there’s another underlying problem. Graduates are rational decision makers. A larger company also offers more positions and therefore more opportunity to get successfully recruited. So it is far more advantageous to apply to 10 large companies then to 10 small companies. Couple this with the belief that large companies offer better career prospects then the disadvantage grows.

Myth: That there is only a set amount of ‘good’ graduates and that you need that top ‘2%’. This is part true and part false. It is certainly true that there is a diverse qualitative spectrum to applications. It’s also true that the bottom quarter of applications are usually very poor. However, let’s take the top third of any graduate recruitment campaign. What should differentiate these candidates is cultural fit and potential, not raw marks or how well written their CV is compared to others in that top third. Different people will flourish in different environments and you need to look at your organisation and the people in it as much as how ‘shiny’ the grad looks. Therefore;

Fact: You need the right fit. The right fit will develop faster, deliver better results and stay longer. And the right fit is not just the best looking candidate, the coolest candidate or the nerdiest.

In part 2 we’ll look at sourcing and attraction.