Blog Candidate Quality How To Effectively Recruit Graduates Into Your Business
Graduates throwing their caps into the air

Recruiting graduates into your organisation, straight from education or who are at the start of their careers is challenging.


Graduates or college leavers, in particular, are presented with major challenges, not only in finding the right role, but also deciding on the industry sector that they want to get into.


Companies in sectors such as hospitality, automotive, education, not for profit and healthcare are all faced with the difficulty of persuading new talent that their industry, as well as their company, has a lot to offer.


So here are a few ideas that can help you present a compelling business case to those individuals you are trying to attract:


Salary and money

If you want to hire graduates into your organisation, then you will need to offer a sensible salary. However, providing the opportunity to earn more through performance-based targets or via bonus payments is an essential part of the sales pitch. It doesn’t have to be the ultimate deciding factor, but approaching this as a way of increasing headcount with low salary objectives will preclude many of the best applicants from considering you.


Many graduates will have accrued debts during their time at college or university, so introducing a scheme to help them repay those loans could be a major attraction.


Opportunity to progress

Turning the job opportunity into a career opportunity is key to persuading young people that this is a career decision. Outlining where this role can lead to over the next 2-5 years can help achieve this. Using case studies to demonstrate that this is not just a sales pitch and that other young people have walked this path successfully before them is a great way of establishing trust in this particular proposition.


Company culture

Promoting an attractive company culture that appeals to young people is another key ingredient.


Established professionals know what to expect and have a different agenda when deciding on a career move. Young impressionable people need to feel excited about the culture that they are joining and you can convey this by promoting a strong social scene and a work hard play hard culture. The beer fridge, pool table, break out area and a company blog or intranet that brings a social element to the business can all help to genuinely create the type of culture that attracts graduates and college leavers.


Use pictures and video

Videos and pictures are a powerful way to attract attention and generate interest. Let them see images of other like-minded people working there, with pictures of new starters with senior management or the CEO.


Graduate schemes

Many people leaving education really don’t know what they want to do or what their strengths are. Graduate schemes that offer some diversity, so that they can gain experience of operating in different roles will be very attractive and makes good sense for the company to establish where those new starters can add most value long term.



New people are nervous about fitting in and are keen to learn. A solid induction with ongoing training designed to help them accelerate their development will all help to sell your organisation to the most ambitious individuals.


Recruiting Graduates

Applying for one of your first real jobs with career potential is a little daunting and can be disheartening and frustrating. It’s a new experience for many of them and you can make this process part of the sales pitch for your organisation. It is the first experience that they will have of your company and culture so make a good first impression.


A slick recruitment process that follows best practice is essential to attract and retain the interest of the best applicants. Clearly defined time frames and processes will help along with prepared communications throughout the recruitment lifecycle to impress potential talent.


Simple things like responding to all applications received and keeping applicants who are being considered informed throughout the process is key to a successful recruitment campaign.


Getting your opportunity in front of the best applicants is not that different from recruiting experienced people. They search the internet in exactly the same way, so ensuring that your advertisements have the suitable reach and placing your well-written adverts on the appropriate channels is all part of delivering an effective campaign. Multiple generic job boards, industry-specific and graduate and university-specific channels should be used alongside social media and a good referral programme.


Screening and selection

Most recent graduates or college leavers don’t have specific experience relevant to your role, so you are looking for any relevant education and training that can give them a head start. However, much more emphasis needs to be placed on cultural and behavioural alignment to ensure that you recruit people with the correct mindset.


Video profiling and behavioural assessment tools are the screening services that can genuinely assist you in making the best decisions. Recent graduates are far more tech-savvy and will be willing to adopt modern screening techniques far easier than seasoned pros. However, that doesn’t mean that they will jump through hoops just because you ask them to. A considered approach that encourages the applicants to perform the tasks that will help your decision-making process is required. You will need to nurture the best talent through the selection process in exactly the same way that you would with any other position.


Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Mark Stephens

September 22, 2020

Mark has worked in and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 20 years. His key focuses are how recruitment technology, evidence-based processes, and human behavioural science can be used to optimise recruitment performance. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers of Commerce 'Innovation in Business' award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd (Corpwell).

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