The ‘typical’ Brit will take a holiday between July and September, so it is no surprise that we are receiving a fair few ‘out of office’ responses at the moment. But as some pack their cases and take to the skies for a relaxing break, in the world of graduate recruitment, businesses are gearing up to open their doors to graduates who have successfully secured a role and start this Autumn.

This busy period comes at the same time as A-level students across the country are celebrating receiving their university offers, starting their apprenticeships or pursuing some other exciting route. More than 409,000 students were accepted into UK universities and colleges yesterday – the highest number of acceptances ever recorded.

Not only do we have to think about the immediate need to prepare for the next couple of months, but also consider the fact that in three years’ time, we may be experiencing the largest influx of graduates into the commercial world. If the class of 2015 are anything to go by, nearly half of whom started looking for their graduate role during their first year at university, then we need to attract and engage students as early as possible.

So, we have some immediate commitments and some plans to make for future graduate intakes. Here’s my checklist of things that absolutely must be considered at these two stages.

The here and now:

  • Onboarding

As I’ve mentioned many times before, having a formal induction programme for graduates is imperative and will be a contributor to their success. For some further advice on how to guarantee an effective onboarding process, take a look here. If you do nothing else but these five things, you’ll certainly make the right impression engage the graduate right from the word go.

  • Filling those final, ‘hard-to-fill’ vacancies

Whilst the statistics regarding the eagerness of 2015 graduates can be daunting when it comes to filling those remaining few positions, there are still excellent graduates looking for their first step into their career. Whether they have spent their summer volunteering, travelling the world or working in a non-graduate role to pay off their immediate debts, now is the time when these graduates will start looking to kick start their career. It may take a little more time to find them, but it sure is a worthwhile investment of your time.

What lies ahead:

  • Development plan

Have you considered how you are going to develop the graduates starting in your business this year? Training and development opportunities are a number one priority for today’s graduates. Explore your options: is there an immediate need to focus on specific technical training or is the development of soft skills a priority, to ensure a smooth transition from academia to business? Do you want to encourage their leadership skills? All these elements of development must be considered to enable you to make the right investments and develop your workforce as you see fit.

  • Strategic planning

Before you know it, today’s graduates will be taking their next career step in your company and today’s freshers will be eager to jump in right where the previous graduates left off. Having discussions around not just your 2016 intake, but the next two to three intakes will ensure that you start targeting students at the right time. Even if you’re new to recruiting graduates, it’s worth considering what your plans will be when this year is turns out to be a roaring success.

If you would like any advice or support with any of the above then do not hesitate to get in touch. I’d be delighted to share my knowledge and advice where possible.