Unique challenges in graduate recruitment and selection

Graduate recruitment and selection is a perennial challenge for most organisations, but increasingly, the changes brought on by the fourth industrial revolution are impacting the graduate talent landscape as well.

In today’s article we investigate some of these changes and uncover the unique challenges and concerns organisations have when recruiting and selecting graduate talent.

Educational mismatch

Despite strides made in changing traditional models of education, the reality is that universities and colleges are not always ideally positioned to prepare graduates for the modern world of work.

Partly, this is due to the immense speed at which the nature of work changes. Graduates will more frequently encounter jobs at the conclusion of their studies which had not existed when they commenced studying.

In addition, organisations are investing more than ever before in on-the-job training and in-house educational initiatives or partnerships with traditional institutes of higher learning. In this way, they are ensuring that graduates will have job-relevant skills and competencies.

Lack of experience

By definition, graduates do not have the same levels of experience as other workers. This poses a particular problem for selection and recruitment methods that rely on evaluating past experience, such as reference checking, CVs, and competency-based interview questions referencing past achievements.

Therefore, graduate selection will necessarily need to emphasise more forward-looking measures of potential, as well as interviews that reference hypothetical situations rather than concrete past experiences.

Generational impact

Despite popular media reports to the contrary, generational differences are almost certainly exaggerated and based more on anecdote than empirical evidence. But, the fact that contemporary generations live in a more technologically-infused, online world is not in dispute.

As a result, companies recruiting graduates need to be aware that their audience is likely to be technologically sophisticated and will have higher expectations regarding the integration of technology into recruitment processes.

Companies who are behind their competitors in this regard will have more challenges in securing the right kind of talent within the graduate pool.

Millennial graduates are also more likely to share poor recruitment experiences with peers and on social media channels. Consequently, brand reputation may be at risk for companies who do not have well-organised, technologically efficient recruitment processes.

Work readiness

Work readiness refers to a myriad of variables that may influence graduates’ ability to onboard quickly in their new roles and add value.

Example variables that may predict work readiness include a graduate’s learning potential, their ability to benefit from feedback, their flexibility and their capacity to work within interdependent teams.

Organisations selecting for graduate talent would do well to measure such competencies before making hiring decisions. In addition, such competencies are useful to target for development in existing graduate talent pools.

Enhancing work readiness will likely translate into more rapid onboarding turnaround and increased engagement of new graduate hires.

Concluding thoughts

Graduate recruitment and selection poses some unique challenges for hiring organisations. Of course, traditional markers of high potential are as relevant to graduate talent pools as they are to others, but graduates add complexities not found in other talent management processes.

At TTS, we specialise in providing contextual, flexible and integrated solutions for clients motivated to enhance their talent selection practices. For more on our graduate solutions, why not drop us a line at info@tts-talent.com?