As job vacancies rise and the number of job seekers decreases, competition is getting higher. If you want to secure top graduates here are my five recommendations that will minimise the risk of you losing them to a competitor:

Development, for the graduate, and your business – recent studies have shown us that graduate development is now more important than ever, as it is a key requirement for job hunting graduates. This is a great opportunity for your business to grow its future managers, so seize it and start looking at how you can integrate a good development programme into your business or improve your existing one.

Follow the path to progressthe driven, ambitious graduates of today are likely to want to be able to visualise the steps they could take within your organisation to reach the top. It is fantastic for them to have a long term goal to aspire to and you need to ensure that you can show them the path to achieving it. Explain how you will support them and lead them along the path, pushing when they need pushing and advising when they meet challenges. If you can show them you are enthusiastic about doing this, they will certainly hold you high in their considerations.

It’s not all work, work, work Fresh from the vibrant social scene that comes with being a student, job hunting graduates are interested in not just what you can offer them professionally but also how you can get them involved in the local community. CSR projects are a great way for new employees to form connections and build relationships. Does your organisation engage in charity events or social evenings out? Are there any professional networking communities, such as BPS Birmingham Future, in your local area? These may be things that you take for granted, but they are very important for newcomers to the professional world and for those who are relocating to the area.

Undergraduate interactionsThe 2015 High Fliers Report found that 31% of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations, either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work. Work placements give employers the chance to see students in action and give students a good understanding of what life is like working for your company. What better way to select the best graduates for your business than with what is essentially an 8-12 month trial period?!

And finally, salary – This must be mentioned, although surveys have shown that salary is a much lower priority than the points explained above. As long as the salary you are offering is appropriate to the role, the other benefits that you offer are what will really make your offering attractive. From staff benefits to the working environment, even the little things which you may deem as ‘standard’ for your organisation: perhaps you offer discounted travel, have a staff canteen, provide free fruit, organise regular social events.

All this, along with an appropriate salary and details of development opportunities, will help you attract the kind of graduates you really want and ensure you don’t lose them to a competitor.