How to grab a great graduate that will grow with you


With university and tertiary exam results just released, students are pounding the pavement. Just 15 years ago graduates normally accepted the first position they were offered out of financial necessity. But now, they’re sharp, nimble, more experienced and living at home for longer. They’re also rather choosy, which means that if you want the greatest minds working for you, you’ll have to compete for them.

Here are my 3 top tips for appeal to the best tertiary graduates.

Be the cool company

This may seem generic, but there is more to being appealing than meets the eye. You need to stop looking like you give your people perks and start being workplace of meaning, purpose and camaraderie. Your business has its own bespoke culture, a unique perspective and communicating that to grads in a way that is relevant and stand-out is what’s needed.

In this, social media – and Instagram in particular – is gold. It’s a user-friendly and visual medium (both of which will appeal to grads) and the content gives you an opportunity to showcase what it’s like to work with your team. Consider what your staff most enjoy about working for you? What fun things happen in the office? What will their day-to-day life look like? What makes your workplace unique? These are all questions that a killer Instagram account can answer.

As an accepted self-promotion tool, Instagram also gives you the ability to shout about your company’s achievements. Whether a staff member has written a great blog, or your company has supported a great cause (the grads of today appear far more altruistic than past generations) – Instagram is a platform that can merge professional and personal interests. All of which serves to embed your organisation’s success’ a part of your follower’s daily life and engage them in your culture long before they set a foot in the door.

Be transparent

Do you remember going for your first real job interview? For most people, interviews are extremely nerve-wracking. And often, ‘what if’ questions double your anxiety, making you feel unconfident and unprepared.

So, why not make it easy without spoon-feeding? Remember that most graduates will have very limited experience interviewing (particularly in a corporate setting), and as such, they may not know the ‘rules’. So, lay it all out for them.

During your phone interview, let them know that if they’re in a place that is crowded or has bad phone reception, that you’d prefer they give you a call back. Tell them that you’ll be typing out notes during the interview to pass onto your supervisor so that they can come back to you, prepared. If you schedule an interview with them, provide them with a guide. Include things such as maps to get to your office, details about what they should wear, and what kinds of questions they can expect to be asked.

By clearly laying out your expectations and giving them an idea of what they can expect, you’re minimizing their anxiety, maximising your chances of having a candidate relaxed enough to showcase their talents, and allowing them a real chance give you an insight into their personality. All of which is critical when hiring junior staff.

Be relevant

Your recruitment advertisement is the most important piece of marketing collateral you have, so treat it that way! Make it unique, readable and eye-catching so your position gets noticed.

There are some other things to consider when writing a job ad for grads:

  • Language – Make it gender neutral and inclusive. It doesn’t have to be straight, narrow, cold and corporate. But know that if you are cutting and pasting the position description you will lose your audience. Make it human.
  • Readability – Create something that’s visually appealing. Use colours that are easy to read, and include images where possible. Are there key takeaways from the ad? Highlight those so they jump off the page and your applicants know what you’re looking for.
  • Publication – Whilst it’s fine to post job ads in the ‘usual’ places, there are also a few off-grid platforms on which you should cast the net wide. The first, mentioned above, is Instagram. The second is universities and tertiary institutions. This can either be in the form of a job board they have on the careers website, by contacting the careers department directly, or the key tutors or lecturers who can present your opportunity to the best and brightest students directly.

Recruiting the right people, no matter their seniority can be difficult.

But when you’re recruiting graduates, there’s a myriad of emotions, tensions and pressures high up on the list – and this can make it incredibly difficult for you to understand exactly who you’re hiring.

By being cool, transparent and relevant, you can maximise your chances of coaxing a grad out of their shell and encourage them to show themselves. In doing so, you’ll be able to find great people who fit into your company as an integral member of the team – for now and in the long-term.

Are you a graduate looking for work? What has your experience been like? If you’re an employer recruiting graduates, how have you found the process? We want to know!

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