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Three things graduates admit to wanting more of from recruiters

2015-06-23

Graduates are reporting that they're finding it difficult to make a careers choice after leaving university based on a lack of resources available to them.

While exciting, it’s also a daunting time of the year for students who have just penned their final university exam and handed in their dissertation. Despite the realisation that McDonalds will no longer be able to provide them with a free cheeseburger once their NUS card expires, and the inescapable fact that the bank of mum and dad is likely to soon come to a close, it’s also a time for graduates to start questioning what they want to do in life.


While exciting, it’s also a daunting time of the year for students who have just penned their final university exam and handed in their dissertation. Despite the realisation that McDonalds will no longer be able to provide them with a free cheeseburger once their NUS card expires, and the inescapable fact that the bank of mum and dad is likely to soon come to a close, it’s also a time for graduates to start questioning what they want to do in life.Many graduates begin their job search online, firstly seeking careers advice to help decide a careers path.

However, a recent Graduate Recruitment Report that we conducted found that nearly a third of students are left feeling confused and disappointed with the information that is made available to them. As a result, these graduates reported being unemployed for longer than average or accepting work in a job unrelated to their chosen university course.

From speaking to over 1,000 university graduates, we have identified three things that university leavers wish recruiters would do more:

 

1. Speak to students while they're still at university

Nearly half of students feel there aren’t enough options available to them in terms of career paths. Graduates expressed that they were not given the correct advice about finding the right job while at university, and therefore found it difficult to start a career after they finished.

The most immediate action that recruiters can take is to get students thinking ahead about potential career choices and to understand the options available to them. One initiative that has a high success rate is on-campus student marketing.

For example, Lidl, the European supermarket chain wanted to further increase their reputation as a Top 100 employer amongst students at the UK’s top universities. The company was supported in delivering a high-engagement campaign at the UK’s top 30 universities during a three-week period. The aim of the campaign was to establish Lidl as a leading graduate employer while emphasising the ‘fun’ and ‘exciting’ aspects of the business. In addition to the pre-promotion marketing, Lidl increased their exposure on-campus by running a competition through their branded photo booths which appeared on 10 campuses.

 

You can view the campaign in full here.

 

2. Engage better with students on social media and email

Another method of reaching students while they’re still at university is through social media marketing. Not only is social media yet another recruitment tool that businesses can harness, it also provides an opportunity for companies to present potential employees with an honest and open representation of their work culture.

Kevin Hough, head of group resourcing at LV=, reinforces this point: “it’s about authentically promoting [your] employer brand. LV= is a very different place to work within our industry and we try to make sure this message comes across in our interactions.”[1]

While social media is a popular option for reaching the youth market, a vast majority of graduates cite email marketing their most preferred choice of receiving information. Additionally, the more targeted the email, the more likely it is that a company will develop a direct relationship with students who are actively looking to apply to their jobs.

 

3. Provide information about career paths

More than half of students begin thinking about employment options while at university, with the university careers service being the second most popular resource for job hunting. With this in mind, companies should look to connect with liaison services and key influencers in higher education to offer insight and advice on how students can achieve their career goals.

Despite what some recruiters might think, a general theme throughout the research was that students are keen to be targeted by recruiters, and much earlier than after they graduate.

While simply making the information available online may seem like an easy option for recruiters to reach potential employees, graduates have made it very clear that an internet search leaves them feeling baffled and overwhelmed.

By doing more of the steps listed above, recruiters can engage better with university students in a bid to support them in making the big career choices, through to helping them take their first steps on the career ladder.

 

[1] http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hr/features/1149347/getting-social-media-recruitment