Attract The Best: How To Create A Winning Graduate Recruitment Campaign

Eager, impressionable, and up-to-date with the latest industry knowledge, graduates can make a great addition to any organisation.

But whether you want to attract 2 or 250 graduates with your next campaign, it pays to remember that competition can be fierce. Keen to get their careers underway, motivated grad students often start applying for positions immediately after finishing school, sending applications for multiple opportunities in a short space of time.

This means that there are a number of hurdles to jump if you want to find, attract and retain the best graduate candidates on the market.

This is especially true when you factor in that most graduates simply can’t be reached using the same methods that worked 10-20 years ago.

As recruitment specialists, we’ve had to assist our clients in adapting their candidate scouting strategies over the years to cater for a rapidly evolving audience.

We stay abreast of the latest tech advancements, effective techniques, and cutting edge marketing practices so that we can guide our clients on delivering a successful recruitment campaign (be it for individuals or graduate/bulk rounds). Being part of the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE) allows us to keep up-to-date with contemporary recruitment practices specifically for graduates, via news, updates, conferences and networking forums.

From what we’ve learned to what we’ve experienced working on some of the largest graduate recruitment campaigns in the country, here are our top 4 recommendations for attracting the best…

Reach your ideal candidates on their level

Mainstream TV, print advertising, and even major job search websites often fail to cut it with the younger generation these days – replaced by social media platforms and industry influencers.

To reach your ideal candidates, you’ll need a clever strategy to find and attract them…where they are.

This means a marketing campaign that:

  • Speaks the candidates’ language
  • Is engaging and aspirational
  • Reaches candidates through their chosen mediums

This may include a little market research before the campaign kicks off, in order to put together an “ideal candidate profile” that clearly outlines your desired candidate’s traits, qualifications and experience, background, and so on.

This helps to make your marketing more targeted and ultimately more successful. Your profile can also be used to shape your messaging, medium choices, and style of delivery (content, memes, video, web page design, and so on).

And while it may seem excessive, an effective marketing strategy can save you bucket loads of time, effort and embarrassment in the future. It will also give you the best possible chance of reaching the top applicants.

Communicate often and intentionally

Attracting candidates is just the first step, because once you have them you need to keep them interested!

Those that feel neglected or forgotten will fill their spare time applying for other roles, which could damage your chances of securing the perfect graduate.

Think of your applicant list as an email marketing database – one that should be nurtured and leveraged to inspire potential, current and future employees in your organisation.

When managing a graduate recruitment campaign, we invest significant time in keeping applicants informed of how everything is progressing.

A bad recruitment experience can have many negative consequences, such as people taking to social media and forums to badmouth your company. So we keep a close eye on candidate sentiment and keep communication lines open during the entire process.

Keep it engaging

An engaged candidate is a motivated candidate. Their experience during your campaign is critical to success, so you want it to be as positive as possible.

There are a number of strategies to keep candidates engaged, including embracing new technologies that can also make the recruitment process simpler and more cost effective.

For example:

  • Encouraging short video applications
  • Conducting round 1 interviews via video interviewing platforms or Skype-similar apps
  • Using the latest psychometric games testing instead of questionnaires
  • Making group activities topical and aspirational
  • Sending regular updates across social media

How you choose to go about it really depends on your organisation and budget. When we consult on or manage a graduate recruitment campaign, we always endeavour to find the perfect balance between our clients’ ideal process, the needs of the role and candidates, and how the candidates should be feeling throughout it.

Develop strong processes

As your candidates progress through the recruitment process it needs to feel seamless to them…and to you.

The best way to do this is to have it all mapped out ahead of time so that everything comes together effectively and efficiently.

This usually includes:

  • Marketing plan, including events such as The Big Meet
  • Carefully crafted application form questions
  • Communications plan with candidates
  • Mapped processes for each round
  • Specific itineraries for onsite testing days
  • Candidate review policies and procedures for onsite facilitators and assessors
  • Efficient referee-checking processes
  • Relationships with police check providers for quick turnaround
  • Full review to examine what worked and what could be improved

At HorizonOne, we regularly manage the whole process from end-to-end, or can be brought in at various stages throughout a graduate recruitment campaign. Obviously, the earlier we join, the more effective we can be in making recommendations to ensure you get the best ROI.

Done right, graduate recruitment can take time but is extremely effective in attracting people with huge potential to your organisation – ready to learn the ropes, enhance your culture, and make a valuable contribution.

For more information on how HorizonOne can help you with your graduate recruitment campaign please contact the team on scribing@horizonone.com.au or 02 6189 1044.

About the author

Lyndal Bennett
Senior Manager - Scribing & Campaigns Management

Lyndal Bennett