Is your company looking to attract graduates? If so, now is the time of year to think about how you are going to go about it.

Remember, a graduate is looking to start their career – not get a job! And you are most likely looking for someone who can grow with your company. You both need to make the right choice. It’s a long-term commitment for both sides – employer and employee.

Judi and I have been working with companies for many years now who recruit graduates. We have found that although the method of attraction changes – how much is online and offline – a number of constants remain.

It’s all about finding the perfect match

Because finding out about a person or a company is ridiculously easy now, as an employer you need to be up to scratch (OK – same goes for the graduate!). Nothing will discourage potential candidates, or customers for that matter, more than an organisation falling short of boasts or promises.

So what will a graduate be looking for? In our experience, to varying degrees they’ll typically be after the following qualities in a potential employer:

Graduates want:

  • to know what they will be doing day-to-day
  • an identified training programme
  • clear professional progression and future prospects
  • friendly orienteers, buddies or mentors
  • variety of work
  • to feel valued
  • to have travel opportunities
  • to join a company that behaves ethically
  • to join a company with a responsible environmental footprint
  • to make friends

Did you think money was going to be in the list? Surprise! Although it’s obviously important, that’s NOT always a top priority!


Tips on attracting graduates

Be honest – or you’ll be found out! If you are a small company, you most likely won’t be able to tick all of the ‘want’ boxes, but that’s OK – just be clear about what you are offering. And if you’ve had bad press, get that dirty laundry out and wash it in public – everyone makes mistakes.

Don’t try to be hip – unless you are a company of recent graduates and that’s just the way you are. It’s like dad-dancing – don’t go there!

Be concise – a graduate needs to be able to make an informed decision.

Choose the right media platform – you need to be where your graduates are. This isn’t being trendy, it’s about being accessible. Being on social media platforms means that you are open for dialogue and collaboration – honesty and transparency are what graduates are looking for.

Write well – match the tone of your writing to the graduate – whether that’s on your website, Facebook page or in a brochure or exhibition stand. Write with your reader mind. Think about what they need to know, not what you want to tell them!

Show them what your organisation is like – use real (not stock!) images of people at work. Pay attention to aesthetics because that may be what first attracts an individual to look at your company.

We have examples on this site of graduate attraction projects – most recently for Baker Hughes, and also BP. If you’d like to find out how we can help you attract graduates, please get in touch!