Despite the Web 2.0 hype, in an independent survey of 2000 graduates, traditional influences, such as ‘choosing an organisation that was good for my career’ was seen as the most important factor when making applications by 71% of respondents, with 66% citing the ‘quality of an organisation’s people’ also being important. For Oxbridge and London graduates, working alongside the right people was the most important factor overall according to 75%, and seen as a ‘deal making’ requirement. These factors highlight a more strategic approach being taken by today’s graduates than commentators suggest. But it is how these traditional values of professionalism are communicated in a Recruitment 2.0 environment that is making the difference.
Martin Cerullo, Director of Resourcing Communications at Alexander Mann Solutions, comments, “There is a trend at present to see graduates as a new, unknown entity. Like any demographic group, they have similar characteristics, which need to be recognised, but they also have expectations similar to previous generations when it comes to work. Graduates today are tech-savvy and expect ongoing communications at every level. But constant and consistent communication must appear at each step of the recruitment process, not just on a flashy website, if companies are to recruit the cream of the crop. It is essential that more traditional elements, such as the final interview, be presented in the same way if organisations are to gain a competitive edge. Even in a downturn, companies need to be thinking about how they attain the top talent of tomorrow.”
Key findings from the research show:
- Financial pull – This is no longer a defining factor when its comes to choosing a job, with respondents ranking pay and benefits (59%) lower down the list of ‘must haves’ than the calibre of colleagues.
- Not all 2.0 – Today’s graduates expect face-to-face contact, plenty of feedback and the opportunity to get under the skin of prospective employers, along with instant 2.0 communications. 68% ranked the tangible aspects such as the final round interview to have the biggest impact on their overall perception of a company’s recruitment process, compared to the online application experience with 39%.
- Individualism – Most (63%) rated the professionalism of an organisation or its caring culture (62%) as its most important characteristics, while hot topics such as a potential employer’s environmental or social responsibility was of interest to under half (44%).
To gain the attention of high calibre graduates, these messages need to be communicated in the right way. Containing both style and substance, it has to be experience-led, brand-savvy and delivered through multi-media channels. 81% cited the company website as the primary channel for influencing the decision to submit an application, compared with only 14% for a presentation and 23% for a recruitment brochure. Graduates also listen to their friends with 70% being influenced by recommendations.
Cerullo, comments, “When assessing the effectiveness of its graduate attraction strategy, an organisation needs to ask itself what graduates are looking for, how are we perceived, how can we differentiate ourselves and what are the most effective ways for communicating – constantly benchmarking its entire recruitment process.”
He continues, “Ultimately, to snap up the leading emerging talent, organisations need to achieve a truly ‘joined-up’ recruitment process. This will be characterised by high-touch candidate management and communication delivered with a consumer edge and embracing Web 2.0. But it must also convey a company’s level of professionalism throughout the recruitment process all the way through to the final interview stage. If organisations are looking to achieve a competitive edge, they must mix the more traditional influences with recruitment 2.0.”