5 Tips For Better Graduate Recruitment

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Graduate recruitment has specific requirements and benefits compared to other forms of recruitment. You’re dealing with a specific group, with unique criteria, and you need to alter your techniques to effectively hire and retain them. Recruiteze is the best free candidate management system on the market. Start your free trial today.

Foster Relationships

Foster relationships with certain colleges and their students to create a fertile environment of knowledge and communication that benefits students, colleges, and companies.

Colleges already utilize strategies to pave the way for students to find success in their careers after they graduate, and by building a relationship with them, you can play a part in that.

You can begin by discussing the college with the career center’s staff to get in touch with the college’s culture.

Then you’ll want to start engaging with students and staff so you and the people at the college can get to know each other. Career centers usually let companies post relevant job openings and recruit on the campus, giving students an opportunity to explore opportunities while still in school.

Don’t just contact the school when you’re actively looking for candidates. Maintain a presence at the college before and between hires so students have an opportunity to learn about your company, and you have a chance to collect a network of possible candidates, long before a job opening becomes available. Bonus, even if you don’t hire one of these students the year they graduate, you’ll have built a network of candidates with a positive association and knowledge of your company to reach out to for future job openings. They may even seek you out.

NACE had a great suggestion for ways to stay connected with students at the college when you aren’t hiring:

Companies “find ways to maintain their ties, such as continuing their internship program, taking part in mock interviews, or performing resume critiques.”

All of those examples help you provide real value to college students, so you become forefront in their mind for a job, as a helper, and as a place they already trust to be something they’re looking for.

Inform Them

Candidates want to know and need to know what to expect and where they stand. As you should also be doing with your other candidates, treat them with respect for their time and effort by communicating with them. Tell them when the hiring process begins what to expect, such as how long it normally takes and what steps they’ll be going through. Then reach out to them along the way to give them an update.

You might also simply stay connected. Even if you’re not discussing the job with them, drop a line or ask them how things are going. They may have a new achievement you can add to their profile for consideration.

You also want to make sure they have a thorough and honest understanding of your company.

As we covered in a previous post, you need to make sure candidates know the following:

  • What is your definition of an ideal candidate?
  • What are your expectations from your employees?
  • Define values, tradition and culture that thrives your company
  • What makes your company unique and what is it that differentiates you from your competitors?

Optimize Your Efforts

Anytime someone isn’t measuring progress and/or consistently setting new goals for themselves, they’re achieving less than they could. Doing your best is never an accident or something you can glide through.

Make sure your representatives at the school are knowledgeable and engaged. They are giving potential new candidates the primary look they’ll get of your company before being hired; make it a good one.

The opinion this representative gives students of your company will not only impact your candidate pool for current job openings but these students will go on to be disenchanted for the rest of their careers, while the opposite is true if the representative gives them a positive impression.

To ensure you use the best representatives, you’ll have to carefully consider the representatives you choose and then routinely assess their work. Even a great representative may not be right for just any college and no one can achieve their fullest without measured goals.

In fact, you’ll want to measure pretty much everything in graduate recruitment:

  • Hire rates
  • Time-to-hire length
  • Retention rates
  • Difference between the number of students interested and those hired
  • Which students perform best after hire
  • Success of job postings
  • Success of onboarding strategies
  • Which schools you have more success with

You need to know how many successful hires you’re getting, what’s preventing successful hires, and how to create a nurturing environment for hires to succeed in.

Choose Wisely

Selecting the college to hire from and the students to hire is a bit more complicated than you probably assume. Many, many recruiters think choosing a highly rated college will be the best option and believe that they should pick students from the most obvious major for the job opening. But the best-rated college may not fit your company or provide the best results. And students in a much wider range of majors may have the same skill set you need.

Get to know the culture at the college and details about how the career center works. Then measure hires from that college to make sure you’re getting the best results for your efforts.

Determine the hard and soft skills you really need for your job. Which skills are nice to have but not necessary? Who are the most successful candidates? What qualities does someone have to innately possess and which can be learned? Which traits and goals determine if a student fits your company culture?

Use this information to consider a wider and more accurate view of students. If a recruiter assumes that only a student with a certain type of major will perform well at the job, they could be missing out on excellent talent and reducing themselves to a limited talent pool where they end up choosing a student from the one major who is not really as competent, motivated, or matched for the company culture as another student would have been. There are few jobs that really require that specific of a major.

Donald Asher wrote for Monster, “It is easy to assume that students who major in accounting and finance have quantitative reasoning skills, but so do students who major in chemistry, physics, math, statistics, engineering, and even music, as well as students who minor in all these topics.”

Skills may be possessed by a much wider range of candidates than you realize. And some skills you would be better to train candidates in and get pickier in selecting fit, engagement, and other skills.

Tailor Your Strategies

Most college graduates today fit into one of two groups, Millennials or Generation Z, and the recruiting strategies that hire Boomers and Generation X may backfire.

College graduates are generally more enthusiastic with brand-new ambitions and without having been beaten up in unengaged company cultures or jobs they don’t really like. Take full advantage of this, hire for that enthusiasm and drive and nurture it in your own company culture.

Millennials and Generation Z students have particular needs and expectations. They’re used to the digital world and will respond best to recruiting efforts using and/or including digital means. Make full use of social media, make sure your career portal is mobile friendly, let them explore job and company information through digital means, and feel free to communicate with them through texts.

Focus less on money as a perk for the job and more on career growth, company culture, and work benefits that promote wellness.

It is vital to be honest and transparent. Millennials and Generation Z not only expect it, but they’ll fact check. They expect to be able to inform themselves, and they’re skilled at doing it. Don’t let them discover your company being sneaky.

Combine your digital initiatives with your transparency initiatives to create a strong employer brand. This helps college students and other candidates get to know, interact with, and come to trust your company before they even apply to the job.

Pick a small number of social media platforms that suit your target audiences. For college students, you’ll want to select ones younger people use most like Snapchat and Instagram. Then regularly post engaging content relevant to your target audience and representative of your company culture.


Graduate recruitment is a different animal than other forms of recruitment. Don’t waste that opportunity by using the same old tactics. Speak to them in their language about the things they want to know. And don’t halfway tackle graduate recruitment, invest the time and effort to pick the best representatives and set measurable goals for yourself to ensure you’re reaching your potential.

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