Graduate recruitment – main challenges and technological solutions

By 2020 almost 50% of the working population will be made up of millennials, and within the next 8 years they will make up 75% of the workforce. Many of them will be recent graduates. This is good news for companies, as graduates are typically tech savvy, eager to learn and open-minded. Graduates bring fresh blood and new ideas and are essential for succession planning, as the current seniors prepare for retirement – and not to mention cheap to hire. Acknowledging graduates as raw talent that can be shaped into excellent professionals, many companies have set up annual or bi-annual traineeships and graduate programs meant to train the best and the brightest talents to take up specific positions within 1-3 years.

These benefits notwithstanding, hiring graduates can be a pain from a recruitment stand-point. The top challenges that graduate recruiters face are high volumes of applications and lack of relevant work experience, making it difficult to identify the candidates with the highest potential and the right soft skills, motivation and culture fit. Difficult as it may be, there are a few workarounds.

High volume of applications
Graduate programs and traineeships are very appealing for young graduates because they involve extensive on-the-job training and rotation through multiple departments. In addition, in their search for the best young talent, companies open the selection process months in advance and also scout campuses to convince the right candidates to apply. This results in thousands of written applications that are similar to each other.

To sieve through the large pile of applications, one option is to use video technology to get a first impression of the candidates and grasp their motivation, drive and social skills. Pre-recorded video interviews allow recruiters to record a number of questions to which the candidates can answer with a video recording of their own. Getting a glimpse of the actual persons behind the CVs and understanding their values and their aspirations can go a long way in identifying the candidates that do, or do not fit the company’s culture.

Missing work experience
Recent graduates, by definition, have little or no experience and have not had much opportunity to develop skills that are relevant for business. On top of this, there is no direct correlation between academic scores and job performance, so grades and diplomas can not be taken as definitive factors in the selection process. This means that a graduate’s CV does not accurately reflect her potential, and so recruiters need to focus on alternative selection criteria.

To get information on a candidate’s potential, recruiters can use psychometric tests, personality tests or situational judgment tests. All of these can be administered online. However, administering these tests to all the applicants can be very costly and unsustainable. An option is to use such tests after an initial pre-selection based on video interviews. Alternatively, pre-recorded video interviews can be used to conduct competency-based interviews and situational judgments scenarios with all the candidates in the time it would take to interview a handful of candidates in real time. Such interviews can also be used to hone in on particular skills, such as creativity, emotional intelligence or logical reasoning.

With the advent of technology, graduate recruiters can use a combination of assessments, video interviews, and informative analytics based on machine learning to identify the best candidates accurately, and with less effort. Graduate recruitment can now be centered on the candidate without being exhausting for recruiters.

Happy hiring!

 


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