How to gain an unfair advantage in graduate recruitment

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Having a winning graduate recruitment strategy can give you a huge advantage. If the highest calibre people choose to join your company over your competitors, everything else becomes so much easier.

Graduate recruitment is a unique opportunity to bring raw, coachable, motivated talent into your company, at scale. It’s like an injection of fairy dust. But they won’t just waltz in the door. No, top graduates are highly sought after and companies are investing heavily in their graduate recruitment processes.

The good news is that not many companies are doing it well. Very few are doing something exciting. And that’s what you should aim for – making graduates feel excited about joining your company.

It’s a competition, so compete to win

A useful starting assumption is that it’s you who is being evaluated, not the other way around. Top graduates have options. In fact, everyone has options at the start.

That’s why it’s so important to present a compelling story about why people should join your company. Otherwise you won’t stand out. Most job adverts focus on the requirements of the role. But the best employers flip the script and sell their story.

An authentic video is a great way to give prospective applicants “behind the curtain” insight into what you’re really like as a company. It doesn’t need to be very scripted, in fact the more casual the better. The idea is to share something about your company and give people an opportunity to see themselves being a part of it.

Offer a journey, not a job

People entering the workforce want more than a job. They want an exciting career path. They want to be inspired by an opportunity to learn, grow and fulfil their potential.

Tell them what they’ll be doing. Talk about the opportunities they will have access to if they perform. Tell them how you intend to invest in them.

If you can help people see how your company can help them move their lives forward they’ll get interested. Opportunities for intellectual stimulation are attractive to talented graduates. They want to solve hard problems, so show them what they have to look forward to.

High performers want to work with other high performers

Think about it. High performers hunt in packs. They seek each other out and make each other better. A high performer won’t stay very long in a mediocre environment.

If you want the best people, you need to be the destination for the best people. Catch 22, right? Not necessarily.

If you position yourself in the right way, the best people will come. Make sure they know they will have every opportunity to get the best out of themselves. To be challenged. Even to move outside their comfort zones.    

Invite them to design their own job

To top it all off, give prospective applicants the ultimate challenge. Make them in charge of their own destiny be letting them design their own jobs.  

Set a high level objective for the role. Then let them fill in the blanks. Make it a competition as part of the hiring process. You’ll achieve two things. First, you’ll give candidates a strong sense of ownership and they’ll pay you back in spades. Second, you’ll see who steps up. Who is creative. Who is a leader.   

If you want the best graduates you need to be bold.

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