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Future-proofing your graduate recruitment

Future-proofing your graduate recruitment

Competition around graduate recruitment is consistently fierce. Every year, organisations become more and more sophisticated in their approaches to finding and onboarding the best graduate talent on the market.

In a fast changing environment, impacted by new technologies and increasing expectations, the battle for graduate talent begins years before the candidates actually finish their degrees and complete their studies.

The key to capturing the best of the best is having a clear vision and purpose.

We talked to some of the experts in graduate recruitment and put together a list of four key strategies that will help you build a strong pipeline to future-proof your graduate hiring.

1. Build relationships early

The first step on the way to future-proofing your graduate recruitment is building relationships with future graduates while they’re still at school. Offering internships, apprenticeships and work experience programmes has been proven to be an effective way of identifying talent early and an equally effective way of getting your brand on the radar of the next generation of professionals.

Enabling the future graduates to experience life in your company (your working culture, values, mission, atmosphere in the office) will also give you a chance to educate them on the career opportunities and development paths that could be available to them.

While the goal is to catch their interest early, it’s worth noting that on the completion of the work experience or internship, students will return to campuses and can become your brand ambassadors promoting your employer brand to other students - and we all know how successful and powerful referrals can be!

Attending career fairs and having partnerships with Universities are tactics that are already commonly used by organisations. However, the trick is to use these channels to include a younger audience. The goal is to meet first year students to educate them on potential future opportunities. Being present on campus and at events is another way of putting your organisation on their radar at the early stages of their academic careers.

2. Create and maintain engagement with talent pools of future graduates

Building awareness of your employer brand at an early stage will also allow you to identify potential talent years ahead of their graduation. This will leave you with plenty of time to nurture the relationships and slowly, naturally encourage the future talent to join your company.

Creating talent pools (databases rich with potential candidates) is the next step, allowing organisations to take more control over their relationships with future graduates. Fostering these talent pools is a crucial element in the process of future-proofing graduate recruitment.

The identified talent could be invited to an online community and kept engaged through social media platforms. Regularly sharing behind-the-scenes information about your organisation will help to keep them informed, engaged and more open to career opportunities in your company.

3. Use AI to eliminate unconscious bias

Recruitment software can reduce or even eliminate unconscious bias in the hiring process.

Using techniques such as machine learning, sentiment analysis, and natural language processing will streamline and automate your candidate sourcing and screening - the main areas where unconscious bias can come into play.

Eliminating the bias at that level will lead to increased workforce diversity, which according to the research by Deloitte, is one of the values that millennials consider critical while weighing up whether they will accept a job offer. In the perception of most millennials, diversity is a sign of competitiveness, growth and the culture of empowerment.

Aiming at promoting workforce diversity and leveraging a culture of inclusion will impact on the positive perception of your employer brand among millennials and Gen Z giving you a competitive advantage.

4. Measuring ROI

Measuring the ROI of a graduate programme is a crucial part of the process as it demonstrates the value and impact the programmes have on your business. This can feed your future strategy and help to secure the all important budget.

  • Is your graduate recruitment scheme achieving the established business goals?
  • Are participants of the programme meeting the expectations related to their performance?
  • What are the results of the scheme and what are the overall costs of it?

Answering the above and similar questions is necessary to ensure commitment to the schemes at all levels within your organisation. It will allow you to establish whether the graduate recruitment scheme is worth the investment and sponsorship at board level.


While graduate schemes usually start only once a year, graduate recruitment is a long-lasting and ongoing process. Organisations that invest in building strong foundations to future proof their graduate recruitment will benefit by having a first-hand access to the best and most suitable candidates on the market.

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