Challenges for the graduate recruitment market in attracting top talent

Written by
Changeboard Team

26 Apr 2010

26 Apr 2010 • by Changeboard Team

Inclusion - an important recruitment requirement

One of the few Benefits for employers in times of recession is that there are more people looking for work, but that creates another issue: sifting through enormous volumes of applications for each job. By employing the right strategy and approach, the process doesnt have to cause a major headache and the key to this is ensuring accuracy of selection.

Employers should take a focussed and balanced approach to recruitment while remaining mindful of wider diversity issues. It's a case of casting the recruitment net wide enough to catch the best candidates, while remaining in support of inclusion and equal employment opportunities. Research shows that those organisations perceived as having a culture of inclusion are the same companies that are most successful in recruiting and retaining top talent.

Assessment tools in the recruitment process

Identifying and employing the most effective and relevant recruitment channel is paramount and employers should use the full mix of tools available to them to respond to changing market conditions. Channels from online platforms such as, which specifically targets the student and graduate market, to contacting university careers services should all be considered. Ultimately, the most important areas to address are the skills of the candidate you are looking for along with the specific sector requirements and culture of the company.

We have found that an increasing number of employers are using assessment centres to separate the wheat from the chaff. They offer a wide range of Benefits and produce a far higher capacity for predicting job performance than a structured interview. Using assessment centres also reduces time and money by combining selection, assessment and identification of training needs within the same procedure. In short, they are a good way of predicting how a candidate is likely to behave in a job and in todays climate, there is no doubt that they will become increasingly valuable.

Promote talent development through work experience

A long-term view of recruitment and retention is essential to avoid a war for talent as we move out of the recession. Forging ongoing relationships with universities and other higher education institutions is central to this approach and working with them to provide an internship can be a valuable way of getting an extra pair of hands that has the potential to be a future permanent employee. PricewaterhouseCoopers has recently employed this strategy, widening the net of its internship scheme to include first year university students.

Having a good quality work experience programme in place can be the key to maintaining the pipeline for future graduate intakes. Last year 70% of interns undertaking work experience at National Council for Work Experience Quality Marked organisations were offered a job after graduation, saving time and money on succession rather than replacement.

Branding basis of the employment relationship

Well start to see more focus on branding as the competition for talent intensifies. This should not just be seen as simply a marketing exercise, but the basis of the employment relationship. Recruiters that recognise this will act as talent managers, building their companys reputation as a talent-rich enterprise and attracting only the best candidates to their organisation.

It's essential that HR and recruiting staff develop a compelling story for existing and potential employees about working for their organisation. As part of the overall corporate brand, this encompasses an organisation's values, systems and behaviours with a view to recruiting and retaining good people. By conveying the culture and personality of a company, potential hires can develop a sense of what it might be like to work there.

Strengthening a companys image is particularly important for those recruiters in so-called damaged sectors such as financial services that need to reinforce positive recruitment messages to the talent pool. By presenting consistent, positive messages and images about life inside the organisation, whether in job adverts, employment fairs, on campus events, applicant literature, or interviews it will only be a matter of time before the cream of graduate talent is walking through the door.