Not too late blog

Recent statistics published by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) reported that nearly one-quarter (23.3%) of AGR employers did not fill all of their vacancies in the 2012-2013 recruitment season. Are you in a similar position? Do you still have vacancies to fill?

Unfilled vacancies at this time of year are not at all unusual. Read on to discover five essential considerations that I think you should make before recruiting graduates at this time of year.

My five top tips for late graduate recruitment:

1. It is vital that you understand why you haven’t filled your positions so far. Have you been unhappy with the quality of candidates? Have candidates gone elsewhere due to better prospects in terms of salary, graduate development opportunities or employee benefits? A clearly outlined job description that details development opportunities is critical to engaging graduates at the application stage.

2. Understand that it is not too late! Our partners Gatwick Airport and Intercity Telecom are perfect examples of organisations who are recruiting this summer, just in time for an autumn intake. We have recently completed our project with Gatwick Airport and have successfully placed six graduates on their Aspiring Leaders Programme. Having signed off just a few weeks ago, we are now in the initial planning stages of Intercity’s graduate recruitment campaign and will be sourcing eight exceptional graduates ready for an October start.

3. Ensure that you have a realistic idea of when you need your graduates to start. Is it absolutely essential that they start immediately? Or can you wait a little longer and make sure your organisation truly is ‘graduate ready’? Statistics by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) revealed that most graduates plan to leave their current employers within two years. Dissatisfaction with career development and a disappointing salary and benefits package are two of the main reasons why graduates leave organisations. It is worthwhile ensuring that these features are well planned out in order to retain your graduate talent later down the line.

4. If you have struggled to fill your vacancies so far, perhaps it is worth considering a change in approach. If you’re not attracting the quality graduates you want, would a headhunting approach be more effective?  Is it worth targeting the hidden graduate market? By this I’m referring to individuals who graduated a couple of years ago and have either been travelling or working since. A graduate who has been working for a year or so already could be a real asset to your business, already commercially-minded and familiar with corporate environments. Likewise, if you’re after language graduates, post-university travellers may just have the cultural resilience and proficient language skills that you require.

5. And my final piece of advice is – be prepared to ‘flex your spec’! Your original specification sought candidates with a 2:1, but can you be flexible on this? Similarly to what I advised about start dates, decide whether your requirements are desirable or essential. A recent report by Gradweb stated that degree results had no effect on success at assessment centre level. A graduate with a 2:2 could be a great fit for your business and an exceptionally hard worker so maybe you shouldn’t be excluding them.

I hope these five tips prove useful and reassure you that great graduates are still out there.

If you are looking for the right graduate candidates to fill your range of vacancies, Discovery Graduates can help with all stages of the graduate recruitment process including attraction, recruitment and retention.

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