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Amanda Wilks


Freelance Writer

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How could you improve your graduate recruitment program?


Fresh talent is a valuable resource for any company. Graduate recruiting programs should start when the students begin their final university year and persevere until their graduation ceremony.

Many students limit their career options to KPMG, Accenture, and Deloitte. There are high chances that your next ideal candidates will graduate this year, but they might not have even heard of you.

So, it’s time companies gave their graduate recruitment program a new suit and sent it to promote their employment vacancies. Here are a few ideas for how to start:

1. Create the candidate persona

There are hundreds of thousands of successful students with great potential to shake up a company, but not all of them are good candidates for your positions. Before addressing a whole class, you need to understand what are the key features that would help a student prosper within your company.

To streamline this incipient stage, the creation of the candidate persona comes in handy. This persona represents a very specific profile that describes your ideal candidate. The profile should cover practical points that fall under the following categories:  

  • Demographics
  • Influencers
  • Challenges
  • Job preferences
  • Interests
  • Job requirements

What would be the ideal location of the candidates? What information sources do they read? Who do they look up to? What kind of work challenges should engage their potential? What soft skills should they have? What are their hobbies? 

Once this profile gets its own form and shape, it will be easier to find the right voice through which to formulate the perfect pitch for career opportunities in your company.

Moreover, the presentation will inspire only the ideal candidates to train and apply for your positions. This will enable the graduate recruiting program to avoid career mismatches that could bring a negative impact both on students and your company.

2. Wire your recruitment program to the online world

The next step in your plan to provide 24/7 assistance for prospective candidates is to set up a dedicated website for your recruitment program. Here, students & graduates will be able to read more information about the culture of your brand.

The guys from JAC are doing a wonderful job by connecting job seekers with worldwide open positions. They explain the whole job applications process clearly by identifying the industry, responsibilities and requirements; painting the true picture of the company’s background, and describing the career opportunities and salaries.

Your website should have several extensions to cover all the aspects of the day-to-day activities. Students are used to reading blogs on a daily basis and connecting with their friends through social media. Consequently, the website should be accompanied by several social profiles from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., and should also have its own blog.

Content marketing is the main promotional medium among many international companies. Writing interesting facts about the evolution of your business, successful employee stories, and the value the brand brings to the community will turn your employment vacancies into more rounded opportunities for students.

3. Improve your application process

The new wave of the workforce is fiercer than ever, so your application process should encourage out-of-the-box thinking; something that is vital when starting down a career path.

The usual CV and cover letter are too out-dated to support young and fresh talent – new methods should replace the old ways. When hiring graduates, the HR team should shift attention from the candidate’s expertise to the candidate’s resourcefulness. It is impossible for students to comply with the requirements that ask for “23 years old graduates with 24 years of experience”.

So, a successful application process should assess the compatibility between company and candidate.

Instead, the employer should test the capacity of the graduates to adapt to the company’s routine and demands. Anybody can learn technical skills in a matter of time, but few have the exact soft skills the job requires. So, a successful application process should assess the compatibility between company and candidate.

Some application processes are very creative, making use of the latest digital tools, such as a 90-second video in which the graduates talk about a given theme. The purpose is not so much on getting to know the candidates better – as this can be covered during the interview – but rather testing their communication skills. Other recruiters employ social media chat, role play, and group presentations into their application processes.

4. Be active in the real world

As well as having an effective graduate recruitment program online, students need to feel the presence of the company in real life too. So, send your top employees to talk with students on campus. 

The idea of leaving educational institutions for good and diving directly into full time employment might be terrifying for some students. They don’t really know what to expect – as  many job descriptions only tackle technical aspects and don’t mention much about the real work routine and culture of the organisation. So, sending a representative team to talk on behalf of your company will be the key point that humanizes the application process. 

Moreover, career fairs are not something to miss. Even though there may be more than a thousand companies showcasing their career opportunities, there are still methods to attract prospective graduates. First things first, make sure your stand gets a good spot near the entrance, otherwise, the students might lose enthusiasm before they reach you. Secondly, send in some of your employees who can talk from their experience about the open positions you have to offer.

One Response

  1. Really useful guidance here.
    Really useful guidance here. In particular, the short video option for applications helps a company to see a different side of the candidate (and quite frankly, has to be more interesting than CV sifting!). I came across this example at the recent HireVue online talent summit

    Research by LinkedIN has also summarised that candidates can struggle to get to know the real culture of a company so getting employees to informally share their real experiences is a great idea. More info on that research can be found here:

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Amanda Wilks

Freelance Writer

Read more from Amanda Wilks

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