Richard Shea: How to attract the best graduate talent in an increasingly competitive market

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Recent research from High Flyers has revealed a buoyant graduate recruitment market in 2015. According to its findings, an additional 1,200 public-sector graduate roles will be available this year, a year-on-year increase of eight percent. With this surge in job roles, graduates can now afford to be more selective, making it essential for organisations to equip themselves with comprehensive recruitment strategies to stand out from their competitors and ensure they are a desirable option to graduates.

Here are four ways organisations can make sure they are reaching their target market:

Build strong relationships at a university level

As the market continues to recover, organisations must think about their long term strategy, and working with universities is one such way to do this. According to High Flyers’ research, many employers have already begun to market themselves from a university level, with an average of 19 universities currently being targeted per business. Partnering with academic institutions that run courses related to their field, or working directly with professors on their syllabus to provide real-life insights into the industry, will allow students to become familiar with the business and how it operates, putting the company at the forefront of their minds come graduation day.

Use internships effectively

Internships remain a popular way for graduates to get real experience whilst they are studying or once they have graduated. These can be an excellent means to assess if these individuals are suitable for a permanent role, and train those identified as having potential. Moreover, offering work experience places to first year students, as well as running training events and introductory courses, will give students a better understanding of the roles that will be available to them when the time comes to begin their job search.

Use their channels to communicate

Generation Y is known for its digital prowess so it is important to have a strong presence on social media channels. Sharing news and stories will allow graduates to understand what opportunities are available, as well as offer insight into the company’s culture. Posting photos on team projects to show the manpower behind the company and highlighting the work that they produce, helps to engage graduates and present the business as a desirable place to work.

By doing this effectively, students will be engaged before graduation, encouraging them to look at an organisation’s website to find out more about it and potential career opportunities. Consequently, businesses need to ensure they are presenting themselves to the best of their ability, which begins with the company website. Graduates will use this as their first point of reference when job hunting, therefore it is important to have a strong brand identity that will enable graduates to identify whether a company is the right one for them.

Don’t underestimate mobile

Digital is now an intrinsic part of our lives and the use of technology has grown rapidly, especially with the use of mobile, with 50 percent of job seekers now globally applying and searching for jobs using mobile devices and smart phones. Businesses must concentrate on its digital initiatives to engage potential graduate candidates, putting themselves where graduates are going to see them – which is on their smartphones.

With a quarter of the UK’s leading employers increasing their graduate budgets this year, it is clear that for many organisations employing career-driven graduate talent is a top priority for their wider business objectives. With an increasing number of opportunities becoming available, graduates will find themselves in a stronger position for the first time in a decade, emphasising that businesses will have to work harder to make themselves stand-out in a competitive job market.

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About Richard Shea

Richard Shea is Futurestep’s Managing Director Search for the EMEA region, located in London. In this role, he oversees the firm’s search work and operations for the Financial Services, Life Sciences and Technology practice lines. He has over 15 years’ experience of international executive search across EMEA.

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