Changing strategy for graduate recruitment


Let’s face it, recruitment strategies for traditional positions in business can still
rely on traditional recruitment methods and job portals but when we are dealing with
Gen Y graduates a whole new strategy has to be adopted.

Recruiters can no longer rely on a strategy of advertising in national newspapers
and mainstream university campus career days, using glossy brochures and
promotional hand-outs to lure candidates. Technology plays a major role in graduate
recruitment - it has enabled graduate candidates, whether they studied at the more
traditional institutions or were forced by their personal circumstances to study at
alternative institutions, to position themselves for any and all graduate recruitment
opportunities nationally.

Kate Dikgale-Freeman, CEO of DNA, an end-to-end human resources
consultancy, says: "Social media drive the way Gen Y communicates. They have
established networks, forums and chat groups. They also have a community spirit
which sees them supporting each other in most endeavours, including job hunting.

"Typically, a job advertisement is placed on a recruitment portal, the networks
spin into action, and the advertisement goes viral to thousands within a matter of

"Unfortunately the response to the advertisement is normally handled in a similar
manner by the graduate - CVs are shot off to the recruiter’s address, irrespective of
any alignment with the job requirements and academic qualifications required.

This is where the role of the graduate recruiter has evolved into coach/mentor.
An applicant with an electrical engineering qualification will apply for a position in
banking, for example. Not only will this candidate be completely misplaced in this
position, leading to unhappiness in the workplace and possibly resignation, but also
this candidate will have taken the position away from another candidate completely
matched to the position.

With a bit of coaching we can point the candidate in the right direction for a
career in engineering, recommending companies to apply to, or keep on our data
base until the right position comes along.

"So many graduates rarely take the time to research the company that is recruiting.
Not only are they unaware of what companies do, they have mostly no idea if the
position advertised matches their career aspirations.

A response of "Ah, Ah, I haven’t really done my research' is not an uncommon
answer to the question: "The client is ABC, tell me what you know about them'.
They are also rather unaware of how they are able to adapt their studies to pursue a
career in a direction other than what they studied. A marketing qualification can
easily be an entree to a sales position. Get your foot in the door and position
yourself later to move into marketing within the same company.

As a result, the recruiter is required to take on the role of employer branding
specialist and position the company, the culture and the brand to the respective
applicants. This leads to more time now being required to factor into each
recruitment interview, turning the entire recruitment process into a "virtual career

"A high proportion of graduates today have no idea of "who’s who in the zoo'
when it comes to the South African business landscape. Therefore, the graduate
recruiter has become an important promoter of the employer brand of the
organisation. By building the brand they are able to position the company to attract
the best graduates,' says Dikgale-Freeman.

"In most instances, recruiters also need to adopt the mantel of mentor, advising
applicants on their interview skills, career choices and the opportunities available to
them outside of the mainstream of their chosen academic qualifications. Posture,
body language, eye contact and dress code are important in making that initial
positive first impression. Candidates are encouraged to ask questions relevant to the
position and the company to demonstrate their interest in the position offered, and
above all, just be themselves.