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Online recruitment and psychometric testing becoming common

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A new report from GTI gives an insight into current recruitment procedures. It is based on graduate recruitment in engineering, IT, City and finance, law (solicitors and barristers) and the built environment over the last three years.

Main findings
– selection procedure have become more complex and lengthy with the increase of testing, presentations and case studies
– the use of online applications is increasing dramatically in all sectors
– starting salaries for graduates are rising, and packagea are improving, with more golden hellos, bonuses and share options
– graduate vacancies have increased
– expected vacancies are still increasing in IT sector even though there is an economic downturn, and the increase in the number of vacancies is most marked in the sectors of engineering, IT and the built environment
– a high percentage of City and finance and law employers taking graduates with any degree discipline

Details
Online applications have become a favoured way for companies to filter graduates, with four times as many now using them (54%, up from 12% in 2000). After this, recruiters are resorting to more scientific methods to identify suitable candidates, with over a quarter now opting for psychometric tests (27%), up from 17% in 2000.

Employers are also increasingly demanding that graduates demonstrate essential skills during their job interviews. Forty per cent of companies surveyed use group exercise (up from 26% in 2000), while a similar number (37%) ask candidates to give presentations to an interview panel (up from 25% in 2000).

Starting salaries are on the up. At the lowest end, the average salary has risen by nearly £3,000 to over £18,900, while at the top end they have risen by 13%, to over £23,000. In addition to rising salaries, the UK¹s big employers are offering a raft of extra financial benefits to attract the best graduates. The number offering an annual bonus has nearly doubled since 2000, to 44%, while those offering golden hellos and share options has increased from 0% three years ago, to 7% and 15% respectively in 2002.

Tips for employers: How to get the most from online applications
– don’t assume that all applicants have easy or equal access to the internet.
– think carefully about the things that will annoy users, for example, word limits and illogical processes.
– ensure that users can save their application forms and return to the system later.
– respond promptly and sensitively to submitted forms.
– test the system thoroughly before launch.

Tips for graduates: How to survive the recruitment gauntlet
– know yourself: visit your careers service to complete a self-assessment questionnaire and pick up careers publications to help you choose a suitable career.
– don’t restrict your options: employers are increasingly seeing beyond your degree discipline, so be open to pursuing different careers.
– know your market: make use of the resources in your careers service to research future employers.
– decide what you want: graduate employers come in all shapes and sizes so know what you’re after, be it a big salary, overseas travel, variety, good training, a small company or a global player.
– be targeted: draw up a short list of organisations and target your applications to each one.
– be honest: find out the selection criteria that a future employer will use, and judge yourself honestly against them.
– be prepared: think about the questions you may be asked during the interview and practise your answers. Also take the time to draft your answers to the application form before filling them in.
– follow up: never feel afraid to get in touch with a prospective employer to find out what stage your application is at. If you are unsuccessful at any stage, always ring up to ask why so that you can improve your approach for the next time.

The full report contains breakdowns for each sector. A full copy of the survey is available from Sarah Marsh on 01491 828 905 or [email protected] .

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