Recruiting Grads

    Its getting round to the time of year where many companies are thinking about taking on their Graduate trainees. Some of the bigger and well organised smaller companies have already got their 2018 Graduate intake locked up back in January.
    But most of the Graduate pool, and most of the positions have not yet been filled and it means that there is a considerable amount of talent still available to your company.

    Advertising your role

    The first thing you need to do is convey your organisation to the Graduate usually via an advert, and here is a short list of what Grads would look for.

    1. Training & Development
    2. Company name, brand, reputation and culture
    3. Salary and benefits (benefits geared towards them are best)


    How do you tackle the filtering of your graduates? Many companies start with imposing some minimum requirements, the main one being the 2.1 or above rule. It’s one that’s understandable under certain circumstances (if the job requires a person to be of well above average intelligence like software development) but in most cases the 2.1 (or lack thereof) doesn’t actually mean that much in reality. I would be especially willing to give a candidate a pass on a lower classification if they had good A’Level results.

    The better indicators on a CV are if the person has relevant experience or interests that are geared towards the role that you have. If someone has either done work experience in a similar firm, or even better done paid work in your sector this is usually a strong indicator that they will be a good fit.

    As ever, only take forward candidates that have presented their CV with no mistakes or errors on it- even if they have passed all the other filtering.

    By far the best way of sorting out the best candidates is to schedule a 15 minute telephone discussion with your applicants, this may seem time consuming but it’s really worth it, and can save you hours at the face to face interview stage.
    The content of the call and the questions asked are not that important, what is important is how this person communicates. Obviously allow for a bit of nervousness initially, but if you focus on something on their CV or application where this person is on safe ground, and has a good knowledge of the subject matter you will get a sense of how they convey themselves and how well they come across on a subject they are knowledgeable about.

    Face to face interviews.

    It’s good practice to pay the candidates travel expenses to your interview.
    Surprisingly one of the biggest issues we face with Graduates is that they have a strange tendency to turn up very early for job interviews! It’s probably useful to remind them that there are no extra points for doing this, and could in fact be detrimental.
    Obviously the usual interview rules apply here, and this is very much a two-way street. Don’t assume that you are doing this candidate a big favour by offering them a position, the good candidates will always have several options, so sell your company well, making specific reference to the points I have made above.

    Job Offer

    Once you have decided on your first choice candidate, then go ahead and make an offer. Ideally you will have a reserve in place should the first choice not accept.
    One of the best things you can do at offer stage is front load the offer by giving an enhanced first pay, an extra £1-2000 in the first pay can go a long way to securing the candidate, as this will give them some money to get on their feet, especially if they are relocating. Another option would be to pay relocation expenses, which have the added benefit of being tax deductible.

    Start date

    Many companies start Graduates in September but if it is possible, give them the option to get them started soon after Graduation, they might appreciate the extra money, and the opportunity to get stuck in to the role straight away.