First impressions count. Not just at uni, but for years afterwards.

January 17 2014 by Editorial - admin


We’re big fans of the focus that employers place on hiring future talent. And why wouldn’t we be? We work with some of the world’s best-known employers to build their employer reputations. Graduate recruitment marketing – especially in the UK – is amongst the most competitive, most innovative, most dynamic and fun areas of employer marketing to be involved with.

Good news then that research released this week by HighFliers points to a resurgent graduate employment market in 2014. Hundreds if not thousands more roles will be open to those coming out of UK universities looking to start work in the autumn.

More good news. This time for those new graduates who just invested in paying tuition fees and living costs for the past few years and need to begin paying off that debt.

Some interesting changes have happened over the last few years however, suggesting that all may not be returning to the status quo as the economy improves.

The same research suggested that more than one in three of those vacancies will be filled by candidates who’ve already completed a placement of some sorts with their future employer. Good news again for the proactive, career minded student. Not so good if you’re less inclined toward planning your career and more inclined towards studying for your degree.

Just think. One third of all vacancies that are not open to application. What does that mean for graduate recruitment? And, what does it mean for those of us tasked with recruiting graduates? It’s clear that the future leaders we’re aiming to hire and develop (that’s why we hire graduates rather than those from earlier in education right?), are as keen as we are as employers to try out the working relationship before making a commitment.

So it seems that graduate recruitment through the milkround is not as tied to the concept of finding the next generation of leaders as it once was. And, if the annual autumn milkround circus is less important in finding the people that end up getting hired, what is all that marketing for? Come to think of it, if the decision to hire is made way before degrees are awarded, what is the purpose of recruiting graduates? Why not just hire earlier?

As one of our clients said to us recently it’s a bit more complicated than that. Graduate recruitment (and the associated marketing effort), serves many purposes.

It is partly about filling actual vacancies of course. Those people hired may or may not choose to stay with that employer for the whole of their career, if they do it’s a good investment to pay more in attracting, training, paying a higher salary and associated benefits. Unfortunately, statistically they’re more likely to move in a few years time. In which case it’s not. The investment simply serves to get people ready for their next job – perhaps in a competitor organisation.

However, as a means of providing early insight into the reasons to join a business, the process of the marketing of graduate vacancies is difficult to beat. If we are seen as a great place to work in those formative years then this memory of our offer will stay with the people we need for the whole of their career- irrespective of whether they join us or not immediately.

The future leaders we hire are influenced by their first impressions and do remember the good and the bad. I’m certain that we all can recall from our own experience who we’d work for if we had the chance. How would you respond if that company approached you now? Do you feel any more positive or negative about them?

Graduate recruitment is changing. We have to think both ahead of the curve and for the long- term if we are to maximise our ROI. Very little of our energy should be focused on being part of the final year application fest that happens each autumn. We won’t hire the best people that way.

We’re going to start exploring the traditional and contemporary models of graduate recruitment over the next few weeks – which is better and why. We hope you’ll enjoy the blog series over the next few weeks and hearing what you have to say.

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+Tonic Agency Ltd