Recruiting Young Graduates: How to Find the Perfect Candidate

Apr 20, 2016

The most talented young graduates are often headhunted by companies right after their graduation and even sometimes during their studies. Young workers from the generation Y are more demanding, they have new expectations when it comes to recruitment.


Therefore, how can recruiters seduce these young workers? Which strategy can they implement?  You will find in this article some answers to help you optimize your recruitment among young graduates.


Expanding the Criteria and Understanding New Expectations


Academic results are often the first recruitment criteria for companies. But cognitive abilities are not the only reliable indicator to take into consideration.


According to a study by the Quebec Government, too many employees tend to associate skills with a high level of qualification. However, the brightest and most wanted students are not necessarily the ones with the best capacity to adapt.


Expanding the selection to atypical profiles may help recruiters finding the perfect candidate for the job. Companies need to focus on other characteristics such as behaviors, personalities, skills, associative experiences and aspirations of candidates.


To learn more about a candidate, companies can set up different tests (personality, skills, capabilities and job-related performances). There are a wide range of personality tests such as the temperament inventory by Guilford & Zimmerman, made of 300 questions and covering 10 personality traits: sociability, emotional stability, objectivity, kindness, personal relationships, etc.


Here is an overview of the test, which combines both general and specific questions (that can also be found in the Eysenck personality Inventory) with three possible answers:


▸ Do you like to speak out in public: Yes/No/Don’t know.


▸ Would you rather execute than lead: Yes/No/Don’t know.


▸ It is rare that people keep their word: Yes/No/Don’t know.


▸ In a fight, no one is ever fully right: Yes/No/Don’t know.


▸ Do you share the opinion of those who say “drink, eat and be happy, because life is short”: Yes/No/Don’t know.


▸ When you buy something defective, you hesitate to request an exchange or refund: Yes/No/Don’t know.


▸ You find it easy to meet new people: Yes/No/Don’t know.


Another challenge is to understand the new expectations of millennials.


Recruiters must understand that this generation is more demanding than the previous ones.


Indeed, young people are less loyal to their employers which forces companies to make more efforts to understand their behaviors and aspirations. It is essential for companies to put these elements first in the recruitment process: career opportunities, recognition of work, responsibility, friendly working environment, competitive salaries…


Outdated. The viral potential of these media is a decisive factor, since it allows the offer to spread faster. Companies will then convey an attractive and dynamic image on those platforms.


Working on Employer Branding and the Relationship With Post-secondary Institutions


This new generation of young graduates was born in a society where consumerism and advertising are predominant. On the job market, they consider themselves as a product. During their job research, they are drawn to big companies which are often part of the Universum ranking (top 50 students’ favorite companies).


The international firm Universum, specialist in employer branding, achieved this ranking after having surveyed nearly 200,000 students in 12 countries (USA, China, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Brazil, Russia, Italy, Canada, India and Australia). Overall, large companies working in information and communication technologies, research companies and multinationals come out as winners of this ranking.


Social benefits are not the most attractive factors. Young graduates will often chose the most influential and prestigious companies for the pride of working on ambitious projects and getting references on their resume. It is essential for companies to strengthen their employer branding through internal and external communication.


It is necessary to build this image as soon as possible. Therefore, partnerships with schools and universities can be a decisive factor for future recruitment process.


First, it is important for employers to go to forums organized by schools and universities. For example, HEC Montreal organizes a job fair every year, which is a unique opportunity for recruiters to get known by future graduates.

(Job fair organized by SRA HEC)

The University of Montreal offers “career” days, where companies and students can exchange and get to know each other.


Partnerships with schools and universities are a good way for companies to stick to students’ minds. Indeed, it is possible for businesses to participate in academic programs by sharing internship offers. For example, companies can recruit trainees directly through the program with internship or co-op offered by the University of Montreal, or directly share their offers online through the online platforms of schools and universities.


Networking is also a decisive factor for raising interest among young people.


The opinion of former students has a strong influence on young graduates. Some associations such as the Association of Graduates of the University of Montreal encourage communication between old and new graduates. Thus, it is important to “take care” of current employees and interns who are potential decision influencers. Students tend to trust their peers more than companies.


Finally, companies can make donations (financial, professional, etc.), to schools and universities. This way, donors become privileged actors and real collaborators, which allows them to benefit from many advantages: lasting relationships with students and graduates, recognition, access to events and conferences, mention of the company’s name in the internal and external communications of the institution, etc.


What about you, what are your tips for finding the perfect candidate among young graduates? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section.

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