8 Ways to Make Sure the Next Stream of Graduates Select Your Role over the Competition.

With the next stream of students graduating over the upcoming months, competition is at its all-time highest to attract the best talent. The next cohort are the largest ever working generation to enter the marketplace and are the age group who have the most diverse expectations of the world of work…. And that is exactly why you need to evolve your recruitment strategies to appeal to them.

As the recruitment industry is heavily saturated, it is vital that you make some adaptions to stand out in the application process, while also maintaining the balance of your company values and catering to graduates desires. If you feel like you’re struggling to think of on-trend concepts, here are the top 8 ways to attract, engage and retain the next pool of talent over your competitors:

1. Honesty is the best policy
From personal experience and background research, one of the highest prioritised factors graduates look out for is an open door, truthful communication flow. Many job descriptions aim to fluff up key roles and responsibilities to attract candidates, with the knowledge that the position only includes a small percentage of them. Although this may be a short-term success for a hiring manager, graduates won’t stand around for it, and before you know it, you’ll be advertising for the same role again!

Though this may not be an issue for companies who have a high turnover rate, the biggest negative factor of dishonesty is that the younger generation will express their experiences online! Before you know it, you’ll have a negative review on Glassdoor and every other social platform, which could jeopardise your chances of attracting candidates in mutual networks.

The best thing to do is to be honest about all aspects of a role and company from the offset- Gen Y will really appreciate it and respect your offering more!

2. Grow your network with universities
Although this is a strategy that will take some time and effort, long-term, the results will have a great impact. Universities can have a significant influence on the type of companies graduates are exposed to, therefore, collaborating with local campuses will help to boost your overall visibility.

From career events and leading industry talks, to potential sponsorship opportunities, you can be as creative as you like to get your name publicised all over their marketing material, while supporting a local educational hub. Furthermore, having an official, visible partnership with a dependable institution will make you stand out and increase your credibility…. Ultimately, you’ll be perceived as the company everyone wants to work for!

3. Move with technology
Now we all know that the younger generation loves a good social stalk, so being on your online a-game is a must. Not only will it demonstrate how you’re a company who loves to move with the trends, it will constantly remind them of your offering. Furthermore, sharing informative, strong content will represent you as an industry leader.

On the topic of remaining contemporary, many companies are missing out on talent by pushing traditional recruitment methods- read here to find out more.  As online communication channels are the norm for the younger generation, it’s the most proactive and efficient way to build up a professional relationship, therefore adding it into your recruitment process is a must.

Additionally, as technological advancements are highly desired by IT graduates, utilising the latest software/resources within your company while also offering additional accreditations for employees will make you stand out – It’s a strategy that’s in the best interest for both parties.

4. Share employee testimonials
As a clear progression plan is one of the greatest priorities for graduates when considering a role, one of the best ways to demonstrate that you are a company who promotes personal growth is to share examples of current employees and their internal developments! Not only will this give you some positive exposure, it will also reassure candidates that their concerns will be taken into consideration.

There’s nothing better than having real testimonials to support your strengths!

Click here to see a recent study on what millennials want out of a job, and how career progression and goal driven workplaces are in high demand!

5. Offer work experience opportunities for freshers
Along with direct institutional collaborations, a further option to develop relationships while getting your name out there is to offer work experience opportunities for freshers.

Though this is a strategy that will require greater investment, there are many long-term benefits linked to it.

By encouraging and supporting students throughout their studies, there’s great potential for full-time graduate roles to develop. Not only will this benefit graduates by providing them with hands-on experience, it will also provide you with a group of employees who know the ins and outs of your company. Likewise, you will personally know them, their strengths and weaknesses.

6. Shout your employer branding from the rooftop
Now we all know how important having a unique employer brand is, yet many companies fail to advertise their differences when aiming to attract candidates. One approach that has recently emerged by utilising online platforms is a careers hub which candidates are diverted to when applying for a role.

The hub can include informative and authentic content demonstrating your company perks, culture and active roles – This strategy can be a major game changer in the decision process as applicants are able to have a behind the scenes view of what its like to be a part of your team.

For example, a further highly demanded factor for graduates is the working environment – A staggering 21% of 21-24-year olds have or will turn down a role due to its office design…. therefore, if you have a quirky space, share it with them!

I promise this will do more good than harm!

7. Provide feedback
One of my main frustrations after graduating was the lack of feedback received in the application process, and by the sounds of it, current graduates are still experiencing the same level of service.

Understandably, in-depth feedback can’t be provided to every single applicant, however, if a candidate has taken the time to attend an interview, providing comments should be courteous. This will show that you care about your candidate’s prospects and want to support their development in the industry, even if they aren’t right for your company.

This could really set you apart from the competition!

8. Adapt the whole application process
Ultimately, along with implementing concepts like the ones listed in this blog, making changes to the entire application process to appeal to the next generation of workers is a must. A key frustration of theirs is the length and inefficiency of the system.

Imagine you’ve just finished writing your 9,000-odd word dissertation, and you’re craving to put your knowledge into practice. You’ve applied for job after job and receive little communication. A few weeks pass by and little progress has been made….

Just from reading the above, you can see why graduates get disheartened and lose interest in certain offerings. Therefore, it is a must for you to try and reduce the turnaround period, as the longer you leave it, the more likely it is that your competition will be selecting all the talent.

I’m not going to promise that by implementing all the above you’ll attract every single graduate, but by making some adaptions that will make them tick, you’ll have a significant chance of appealing to them, with the hope to convert into loyal employees.

If you’re wanting to keep in the know about what graduates want and the latest news, follow @Gradability on Twitter.

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