Businesses are losing out on hiring strong graduate talent by focusing too heavily on grades and technical skills. Five in six hiring managers believe their new graduate hires lack the skills and knowledge they need, but instead of changing their hiring strategies, companies are wasting millions on ineffective and poorly targeted recruitment programmes, only to have to re-hire for 25 per cent of graduate positions within a matter of months.

Member-based advisory company CEB has identified 10 areas that businesses should consider if they are to gain a greater return on investment on the next graduate recruitment cycle.


Challenge status quo

Surface, check and question the assumptions and practices that drive your graduate recruitment programme. Do you focus recruitment efforts on the same universities each year? Do you stipulate that only graduates with at least a second-upper class honours degree can qualify for a role?


Lessons from the past

Cast your net far and wide across the business to source information about graduate programmes from previous years — explore costs, application volumes and percentage of candidates hired, time to hire, retention rates and internal stakeholders’ opinion of hired candidates. Identify the information gaps that need to be filled this time round.


Measure the outcome

Build meaningful metrics that capture recruitment outcomes and evaluate programme effectiveness. Focus on job performance, career potential, engagement and retention and not just efficiencies in the hiring process.


Correct recruitment strategy

Know which recruitment strategy will deliver the greatest value for you. Depending on the strategy your organisation adopts, be sure to make sufficient investment in learning and development programmes and training schemes that will upgrade employees’ skills to improve job performance.

Buy strategy:Where employers compete for the graduates who demonstrate the strongest all-round skills and potential.

Buy-and-build strategy:Where employers acquire strong graduate talent but recognise that targeted investment is needed in their development to bridge skills gaps.

Build strategy:Where employers acquire graduate talent that needs ongoing development in areas that will enable them to execute tasks and engage effectively.


Invest to maximise value

Know the talent sources and channels that offer greater value for you. Use talent intelligence — your knowledge and insights on graduate talent to maximise on-campus investment, on and offline advertising, social media spend as well operations across geographies.


Review EVP

Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is the rewards and benefits, beyond monetary remuneration, that employees receive in return for their performance at the workplace.

Make your EVP tangible to attract the talent you want, influence their decision to work for the business and manage the premium you pay for them. Less effective EVPs result in employers paying more than a 21 per cent premium for talent.


Know your talent

Understanding what motivates graduates is critical to engaging them over the long-term. Most firms assume that graduates are lured by salary and material rewards. Today’s graduates are actually motivated by opportunities to develop and grow, as well as demonstrate their strengths and progress in the company.


Flexible approach

Adopt a more flexible and objective approach to recruitment by measuring motivation and employability — the rounded repertoire of skills that graduates have to offer — rather than just academic achievements. Using an objective assessment to measure against these factors can improve the odds of finding the right graduates by as much as 7.5 times.


Benchmark graduate practices

Is strong talent walking away to your competitors? Use your knowledge and insights on graduate talent to know if your processes are effective in capturing the strongest talent. Be diligent in tracking retention rates and monitoring reasons for graduate turnover.


Balance demand with vision

Find a happy medium between responding to demands to fill vacancies and securing the right talent to meet long-term business needs. To do this effectively, human resource divisions need to be equipped with talent intelligence that will help business leaders clarify their strategic and investment choices at a macro level, and provide greater transparency across the talent pipeline.



Article by Shaurav Sen, executive director (South-east Asia), CEB, which is a global, member-based advisory company that equips organisations in Asia with insights, tools and actionable solutions to help these companies transform performance.