During the times many refer to as a ‘talent shortage’, it’s imperative that companies broaden their horizons and look for candidates in different places. Many companies, as much as 76% in fact, try to attract graduates, for they see them as an excellent source of talent.

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Graduate candidates, however, are not quick to decide where to apply. On average, a young job seeker will look at 25 different positions and take up to two days to thoroughly research a potential employer.

That short time window is your chance to impress a candidate and convince them to prioritise your company in a sea of employers offering graduate positions.

But how can you attract them successfully?

1. Build Your Social Media Presence

Graduating generations are digital natives and will be so even more going forward. According to statistics, Gen Z-ers spend 8+ hours a day online – basically an entire workday of screen time. And considering our lifestyles, the numbers are unlikely to go down.

Their online activity opens the door for you to get their attention and persuade them to take a deeper interest in your brand. But as vast as the Internet is, you first need to know which social media platforms are the best access point to young talent.

Not only LinkedIn

Although LinkedIn remains the go-to for 44% of graduate job seekers, the tides are changing. During the pandemic, there was a 12% spike in the use of social media platforms (such as Instagram) among young people looking for employment – an opportunity not to be overlooked.  

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In the US, this trend has already been noted. Across the Atlantic, 90% of HR professionals use social media to attract graduates and hire them. Moreover, they report an increase in the quality and quantity of applicants they recruited this way.

2. Attract Graduates with Your Values & Culture

Your primary graduate target audience as of now, Gen Z, is a generation that puts a heavy emphasis on their personal values and social matters. As reported by Deloitte, 77% of their respondents name these as necessary when deciding to join an organisation.

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And indeed, almost 8 out of ten young people say that a company’s commitment to diversity would be a deciding factor when looking for jobs.

To win over graduate candidates, highlight your values and show you’re committed to them. If they’re aligned with the popular demand – even better so. Nonetheless, your ethics and authenticity are two of your strongest selling points.

Use social media to show your brand behind the curtain

Similarly, don’t feel intimidated by showing your culture from the inside. A healthy workplace environment can be your most crucial bargaining card, as 43% of respondents say that seeing unhappy employees would make them lose interest in working for a company.

Use social media to give a sneak peek into your work environment and how employees interact with each other. Don’t be just a brand – show your human face, as younger generations value this side of businesses more.

3. Fully Digital & Accessible Recruitment

A part of attracting graduates is ensuring your recruitment process lives up to their expectations. Do you know the #1 reason for graduates not completing an application form and process? It’s too long to complete. Graduates complain about too many open-ended questions and having to fill in the same details more than once – every applicant’s pet peeve.

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For younger generations, a fully functioning digital recruitment process is a must. 43% of Gen Z-ers expect it to be easy to navigate, and 62% of them won’t even use an app or website that takes too long to load.

Failing to meet their needs may cost you potentially valuable talents, as many surely won’t hesitate and look for a better experience elsewhere.

Mobile-friendly application process

As younger workers are more likely to use their mobile phones, the application process needs to be optimised to work smoothly also on these devices. The data from Glassdoor research shows that mobile-friendly job openings can increase the number of applicants by 11.6%.

Yet, if the mobile experience isn’t positive, you risk losing up to 53% of the candidates who simply don’t finish the application process.

4. Attract Graduates with a Realistic Job Preview in an Engaging Form

First impressions matter not only to recruiters but also to candidates. That’s particularly important when you try to attract graduates with little to no experience in the real business world.

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To begin with, look at your job postings to make sure they’re clear and present the job realistically. Almost 50% of polled graduates said that seeing jargon, buzzwords, and industry language makes them confused and unprepared. Thus, instead of attracting graduate candidates, you deter them.

Keep in mind that for candidates, understanding what the job really entails is of great importance. In fact, it’s equally important to you. If there’s a misunderstanding between your expectations and what candidates make out of your description, you risk losing time on unsuitable applications.

How to offer a realistic job preview?

One of your best bets is to present candidates with work samples. This screening method has been proven to be the best at predicting future job performance and gives a detailed insight into the tasks one can expect.

Why is that so? A work sample is a sample of a task that best represents what a candidate would face on the job. For example, if you’re looking for an accountant, ask them to show how they’d prepare a budget forecast based on your requirements. That way, not only will the candidate see what they should expect and lets them show their talent – something 25% of graduates think is impossible through resumé screening.

To attract graduates even more efficiently, consider including a video presentation of the job alongside the work sample. Information in a visual form is always more attractive, particularly for younger generations that have an attention span of only eight seconds. According to data, 71% of Gen Z-ers spend more than three hours watching online videos daily. It’s fair to say they’re more likely to watch a clip of an employee explaining the job rather than read a lengthy description!

5. Offer Flexibility

Older generations were used to the traditional 9-5 working schedule. However, your graduate candidates are not so likely to find that appealing. While 32% of Gen Z-ers consider themselves the hardest-working generation, they also value a healthy work-life balance more.

Thus, giving an option to regulate their worktime is a sure-fire way to attract graduates. Especially since 33% of young candidates say they wouldn’t work for an employer that doesn’t give them a say over their schedule.

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Alongside allowing flexible worktime, consider also attracting graduates with the possibility to work from home. Students have gone through many struggles in the past two years, and it’s visible that their approach toward work has shifted. Based on a UK survey, 40% of current students admit they expect to work from home after graduation.

The expectations of those who are or will be your target audience for recruitment are clear. To increase chances of attracting graduates and successfully hiring young talent, it’s paramount for employers to understand what appeals to them – and deliver.

Attract Graduates in Innovative Ways

Graduates are undoubtedly a valuable source of talent, as portrayed by the number of companies that choose to hire them. Yet, younger generations’ expectations towards future employers have changed.

Employers need to adjust their approach to recruitment and talent attraction methods to grab graduates’ attention successfully. Focusing on social media, using screening tools that allow candidates to prove their skills, and creating a solid, authentic employer branding are just a few of them.

Are you ready to secure fresh talent?

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