What every graduate recruiter needs to know

Kathryn* learnt she had been unsuccessful in a graduate recruiting process on the company’s Whirlpool forum. “Other candidates were already celebrating,” she recalls, while her rejection email eventually arrived in her inbox a week later. She was disappointed, obviously. But she also took away a negative impression of the organisation: “the lack of communication made me lose a lot of respect for that company.”

 Kathryn’s experience brings home the importance of getting graduate recruitment right. Every year as organisations conduct their graduate recruitment processes, they’re not only competing for the best talent, they’re engaging with potential customers. Graduate recruitment is a long term investment not just in the talent that will take your organisation into the future, but in the brand’s wider reputation. Businesses need to tune in to what graduates expect – whether they’re successful or not – and hone their processes to identify and attract the right talent.

 What motivates today’s graduates?

 “The factor that motivated me the most when choosing a role was the ‘interesting’ factor and when I came across the Korn Ferry graduate program, the description of the role really caught my interest – it promised exciting and interesting opportunities that would engage me. This encouraged me to apply and try my hardest during the application process.” Didier Guillot*, Korn Ferry graduate program, Melbourne

Understanding the expectations of today’s graduates means understanding the characteristics of the millennial generation. Recruiters and business leaders need to consider how millennials want to work and how they want to be managed.

Employers need to look beyond the obvious to really focus on what graduates are looking for. While monetary rewards and other employee benefits are important, today’s graduates are looking holistically at what organisations offer when they decide where to apply.

When we asked graduates what they were looking for, the top factors reflected where these individuals are in their career journey with career progression and development featuring highly.

When it comes to how they want to work and be managed, millennials are looking for “interesting” jobs in a culture they can identify with. And they want more feedback more often than previous generations.

Swift, modern, responsive

 “While applying for graduate positions, one of the most beneficial things organisations did was to clearly communicate the steps of the recruitment process. For example, Korn Ferry was proactive in their communications and made it clear as to when and why steps in the process occurred, where I was in the process and next steps moving forward.” Thomas Bristow*, Korn Ferry graduate program, Sydney

Successful graduate recruitment processes don’t just focus on showcasing the organisation’s values, they put equal effort into offering a seamless candidate experience. In a competitive talent market, a process that respects the time and effort candidates put into their applications sends an important message: this organisation walks the talk.

When we asked graduates what they want from the candidate experience, four major themes stood out. Today’s graduates want:

  •     Good communication and feedback
  •     A swift process
  •     Politeness and information
  •     A realistic picture of the graduate role on offer.

Four ways to get recruitment right

Every organisation is different and graduate recruitment processes should reflect this. But we also believe that there are specific elements of the millennial mindset that all organisations should integrate into their processes to attract the best talent for your business:

  • Understand what graduates want: Millennial are putting organisations under the microscope when deciding where to apply. Showing potential recruits that you understand their priorities and how they want to work will put your organisation at the top of their application lists.
  • Know what success looks like: In high-volume recruitment it’s easy to fall back on sifting candidates based on a single personality metric or academics, but research shows these factors don’t equal success. Build a holistic success profile to ensure you assess candidates based on the whole person.
  • Make the process candidate-centric: The recruitment process is an expression of your organisation’s brand. Whether or not candidates are successful, the process should offer a valuable, feedback-rich experience that provides real insight into your culture.
  • Pay fair: In a candidate-led market, pay does matter. Offering a fair total reward package that is tailored to the millennial mindset is essential to attracting and retaining the best talent.

Download our report to learn more about what graduates really want.

*Kathryn Wellings, Thomas Bristow and Didier Guillot started the Korn Ferry graduate program in 2019

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About Contributor

Cyrus Cavina is a Senior Client Director with Korn Ferry with over 15 years’ experience in Australia, Asia Pacific, EMEA and the US and the ability to build new business and grow existing relationships.

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