Graduate recruitment – it rocks around every year – and every year your strategy has to evolve. With the fast paced world of social media, and the unique set of challenges today’s graduates would have faced with the pandemic’s influence on their university experience, it’s important that you’re ready to recruit with this in mind.

Here are a couple of tips to inform your graduate jobs hiring process:

CSR is key for successful graduate recruitment

Many new graduates, especially from younger generations, prioritize working for companies that align with their values. In fact, 94% of Gen Z now think companies should address pressing social and environmental issues.

So, it’s clear that climate change and diversity are key issues that these graduates care deeply about when looking for the ideal employer and job. When creating the job description for your graduate jobs, bear in mind the importance of demonstrating your organisation’s commitment to addressing these issues, if you want to signal to a potential hire that the company shares their values and is actively working towards positive change.

Additionally, current employees are more engaged and motivated when they work for a company that reflects their values. By highlighting social responsibility in your recruitment, an employer who chooses to create a sense of purpose and shared mission among the people who are starting their career with you. This, in turn, boosts morale and job satisfaction, leading to higher productivity and lower turnover rates among new graduate hires. Graduates are increasingly seeking career opportunities where they get to contribute to meaningful work and make a positive impact, and brands that demonstrate a commitment to climate change and diversity are seen as more likely to withstand future disruptions and remain relevant when it comes to hiring in these talent pools.

Flexibility & work-life balance

Many graduates prioritize achieving a healthy work-life balance in their job. They value flexibility in their working arrangements, such as flexible working hours, and hybrid/remote work options. By offering these flexible working models, an employer can attract and hire talented graduates who seek a better balance between their personal and professional lives. It also promotes employee well-being, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and productivity.

Flexibility in working models can also contribute to hiring a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Graduates from different backgrounds, such as those with caregiving responsibilities, individuals with disabilities, or those pursuing additional education, may require flexible work arrangements from their employer to accommodate their unique circumstances. By offering flexible working models, companies create an inclusive environment that enables individuals with diverse needs and backgrounds to thrive, allowing them to recruit a wider pool of talent for the available graduate jobs they are hiring for.

Retaining talented graduates is crucial for the long-term success of an employer. Graduates who feel supported by the hiring manager and organisation as a whole are more likely to stay with an organisation. By offering working model flexibility, companies demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being and provide graduates with a sense of autonomy and control over their work. This can contribute to higher employee retention rates within graduate jobs and reduce turnover costs.

Opportunities for L&D

Learning doesn’t have to stop after university! Research conducted by Cloud Assess found that, when done well, training and development have a stronger impact on young people’s work ethic than any other generation. Over a quarter of employees aged between 16-34 believe training and development is the most crucial factor when it comes to their engagement as an employee.

Graduates are typically at the early stages of their careers and have a strong desire to learn and grow. By providing learning and development opportunities, companies demonstrate their commitment to investing in their employees’ professional growth. This can include training programs, mentorship initiatives, workshops, conferences, or access to online learning resources. When graduates see that their hiring manager or employer cares about their development, they are more likely to be attracted to and remain in that company and perceive it as a place where they can advance their career.

Graduates may have theoretical knowledge from their academic studies at university but often lack practical skills and experience, which is important to hold in mind during their recruitment process. Providing learning opportunities allows them to acquire new skills that are relevant to their roles and career aspirations. This can include technical skills, industry-specific knowledge, soft skills such as communication and leadership, or even specialized certifications. By offering these opportunities, companies enable graduates to bridge the gap between academia and the workplace, enhancing their employability and ensuring they are equipped to excel in their roles.

In a competitive job market, companies which prioritise learning and development have a distinct advantage in attracting top graduate talent – so make sure to emphasise it in your job description during the recruitment process! A strong learning and development program can serve as a differentiating factor, making a company more appealing and positioning it as an employer of choice to those fresh graduates you’re hiring.

Utilise a specific social channel

Gen Z’s love of social media is no secret and should not be forgotten in your hiring strategy. With 58% revealing they search for information about potential employers on social media, it’s time to look at how you can use these channels to share your EVP, and how that is present in the graduate jobs you’re trying to recruit for.

A lot of organisations are now curating certain social media accounts purely for recruitment purposes, and if you have a role or two to fill every year with graduates, this could be the perfect way to hire them. Starbucks is a great example of this. They have an Instagram page which has garnered over 80,000 followers where they essentially show off their employer brand. They share what makes them stand out as an employer, such as the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, their achievements around pay equity, and stories directly from employees who can vouch for the culture and what it’s like to have a job there.

The use of a specific social channel provides the opportunity for you to easily deliver tailored and specific information to your graduate talent pool, and not be lost in the noise of other social media activity on your organisation’s main social media accounts.

You might be interested to learn more about the advantages of social media recruitment.

Graduate recruitment strategies will inevitably vary depending on you industry, area, and which graduates you are trying to appeal to, but we hope these tips we have provided will inspire and inform your strategy for 2023. How you appeal to graduates encompasses everything from your employer brand to your workplace culture, so consideration of what graduates may be looking for is crucial across the board!

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.