3 ways to attract the best graduate talent

Organisations need to stand out among competitors in the war for graduate talent

Many businesses are realising that they do not have the necessary tools in place and must enhance their talent management strategies, writes managing director of Futurestep ANZ, Tim Powell, who explains that there are a number of steps organisations can take to develop more innovative graduate recruitment programmes

Organisations have traditionally relied on graduate talent to build their technical capability, inject new ideas and a fresh way of thinking into the organisation or to develop tomorrow’s leaders. With the economy continuing to strengthen, many organisations are placing a renewed focus on their graduate programmes, this is making for an increasingly competitive graduate talent marketplace, causing businesses to confront the challenge of how to attract and recruit best-fit candidates. Here are a number of ways in which organisations can stand out among competitors in the war for graduate talent.

1. Start the engagement process at your earliest opportunity. It is important to engage talent from an undergraduate level or even high school level. We recently worked with a renowned global manufacturing company to engage with high school students from as early as years nine and 10 to encourage male and female students to consider careers in engineering.

Students were actively involved in creating mechanical solutions, giving them some insight into the design process. Also consider partnering with universities and other academic institutions with courses that relate to your business field, organisations are able to provide valuable content to the syllabus, whilst offering real-life insights into the industry.

This is a valuable tool when engaging with students, allowing them to become familiar with the business and its operations and hopefully placing the company at the forefront of their minds as a prospective employee come graduation day.

2. Create digital-first recruitment strategies. As digital natives, graduate employees pose a new challenge for businesses to move beyond traditional forms of recruitment. Innovation and creativity should be tangible throughout all of an organisation’s interactions as these graduates will be attracted to companies who use innovative methods in the initial stages of the recruitment process, but also those that can demonstrate innovative thinking engrained into the brand culture as a whole.

Graduates are avid users of mobile technology, making mobile optimised career sites with tailored content a necessity. Establishing online professional and social communities which communicate your company’s culture, values and personality with real-time interaction from the brand, will enable graduates to truly connect and engage with you. Gone are the days when a company’s market brand and employer brand are exclusive of one another. Today’s graduates will demand that your employer values and market values are aligned and expect you to behave and communicate with them in a way that directly reflects your brand attributes.

3. Embrace technological innovation. When it comes to screening and assessing applicants there will need to be a balance between the efficiency of the assessments and the quality of contact businesses have with prospective candidates. Using methods such as video interviewing or automated scheduling tools can be highly efficient and engaging experiences, giving candidates some ownership of the process.

Moreover, streamlining the process using mobile and tablet optimised technology will make the process more engaging for graduates who will be submitting multiple applications for graduate roles. Gamification is also becoming increasingly more important for a more dynamic candidate experience and also for candidates to quickly filter themselves in or out of the recruitment process.

Technology can be a useful asset in determining which candidates are a best-fit for your company, with assessment tools helping to identify the qualities, attributes and motivations that meet the businesses criteria. In addition to traditional psychometric testing we recommend assessing for leadership potential and learning agility with today’s working environment seeking entrepreneurial and disruptive thinkers. Assessing for these attributes can be done early in the screening process to identify candidates that the match your company’s success profile or can be incorporated into the assessment centre process. Increasing in popularity is the integration of gamification as an assessment tool; this is a great way of assessing both cognitive and behavioural attributes.

Attracting and engaging top graduate talent is becoming increasingly important for businesses and their long term talent management strategies. Embracing digital innovation is vital and will play a key part in making businesses visible to the types of graduate talent they wish to attract, but balancing technology with personal interactions will be key to keeping them engaged throughout the recruitment process and beyond.

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