Innovations in graduate recruitment

In an increasingly globalized and digitized talent marketplace, recruiters and IO Practitioners involved in employee selection have a tough time keeping up with demands. Most businesses are expecting shorter time-to-hire windows than ever before, and managers expect to have the best young talent to ensure future-proof functioning.

In this context, being more innovative in how we recruit and select graduates is imperative. When recruiting Millennial graduates, organisations have learnt that engaging potential employees early in the process is becoming as important as the administrative efficiency of the recruitment process itself.

Recruitment is the first touch point between the organisation and potential employee, with the potential of either enhancing or damaging the employer brand and value propositions.

Recently, our assessment partner, cut-e (an Aon company), had an opportunity to implement innovative graduate selection methods to Deloitte Consulting’s Ireland operation. Below is a short summary of their creative approach.

The challenge: Innovation as brand promise

While Deloitte Ireland already had a strong in-country presence and robust graduate programme, the business felt that they needed to better align with the organizational and group-wide values of innovation in all areas, including recruitment. To this end, they decided to task cut-e with a major overhaul of their existing graduate recruitment processes.

In the marketplace of consulting talent, Deloitte Ireland were also experiencing increased competition from other consulting firms and start-ups who were outpacing their capacity to attract the very best graduate talent.

One of the most important initial findings that shaped cut-e’s solution was the insight that to innovate recruitment practices the client needed a seamless, engaging, and memorable candidate experience.

Engaging and selecting graduates

Based on research with Millennial job-seekers, cut-e and Deloitte Ireland realized that competing graduate recruitment processes often included more immersive, compelling components that attracted young job-seekers. However, most of the competing consulting firms in Ireland were not using psychometrics as part of their selection process.

These two findings pointed to a merger of (a) engaging recruitment practices and (b) psychometric methods to select top talent.

In addition, cut-e realized that to be truly innovative, a selection process would have to include showcases of what it meant to be part of the Deloitte Ireland team, with specific reference to values- and culture-fit.

The solution: Seamless digital integration with chatAssess

As part of the recruitment approach, Deloitte Ireland also wanted to communicate their values and unique market position to potential employees. At the same time, they needed to determine which graduates were the best fit for their values.

To this end, cut-e suggested the use of their innovative, mobile-first SJT, chatAssess. chatAssess applies well-researched situational judgement tasks to a mobile messaging app format. It required graduates to participate in a text conversation with virtual colleagues, where the candidates had to choose priority of messages and select among a series of predefined responses.

The response options included answers which best reflected Deloitte Ireland’s value system, culture and preferred ways of working. This approach allowed for both communicating the Deloitte value drivers, while also highlighting candidates who had the correct judgements that matched the value system.

In a seamless digital integration, the chatAssess tool was combined with Deloitte Ireland’s existing applicant tracking system (ATS).

The results: Enhanced candidate experience

Immediate benefits of this approach were a massive reduction in manual screening of candidates, a more seamless integration with existing ATS technology and a differentiating product in the graduate recruitment marketplace.

Follow-up research conducted by both cut-e and the client revealed that:

  • There was a 32% increase in applications going through the online process compared to previous, more manual procedures
  • A 58% increase in offers accepted by graduates since the new method was introduced
  • 70% of candidates experienced the new recruitment methods as “market leading” compared to competitor propositions.

In part due to these innovations, Deloitte Ireland won the prestigious “Best Innovation” award from GradIreland in 2018.

Final thoughts

The Deloitte Ireland experience shows how the implementation of an online, seamlessly integrated, and mobile-capable assessment can enhance not only candidate experience, but also help employers achieve their strategic goals.

While chatAssess was used in this particular instance, other equally innovative products could as easily have been employed, such as:

  • smartPredict: gamified smartphone assessments measuring key functions
  • vidAssess: smartphone video interviewing with multiple raters
  • Mobile first assessments: cut-e’s wide range of ability and behavior assessments specifically designed for mobile use.

A key takeaway from this case is that recruitment processes require more seamless, digitally enhanced solutions if time-to-hire is to be reduced and quality of candidate is to be increased.

Also, candidate selection is but one part of an innovative recruitment process. Perhaps has important is the communication of the employer’s brand promise and the opportunity to sensitize potential hires to the values and culture of the businesses they wish to join.

If you’d like to know more about innovative graduate selection practices, why not drop us line at