Grab a graduate: Six ways to set your recruits up for success

The recruitment of a graduate into your business can be an expensive exercise, including the cost of time and labour to source, screen and appoint your successful candidate.

For example, a typical recruitment cycle for graduates can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks, and there are two graduate cohorts every year. And for some employers, the hunt for bright young talent is a year-round activity.

Whether you have a dedicated recruitment team or have dispersed the responsibility for graduate hiring across managers and regions, it always adds up to a big investment of time and money: the cost of internal salaries; advertising and promoting your organisation; screening and assessment tools; building relationships with tertiary institutions; and, of course, the graduate’s salary.

No wonder some employers consider the idea of hiring a graduate too onerous to make it worthwhile – particularly if they have previously had a negative experience of hiring a graduate who doesn’t quite work out, or leaves before they actually have a chance to make a contribution to the business.

So, how can employers reduce the cost of graduate employment AND ensure they get a good return on their investment? Here are three good places to start:

  • Ensure the people responsible for sourcing and screening are experts in this area. This will reduce the risk of poor matching of graduates to roles;
  • Ensure efficient and effective systems and processes are in place; and
  • Have ‘talent scouts’ proactively sourcing the best young talent for your organisation, rather than relying on traditional recruitment cycles.

The cost of graduate recruitment, however, doesn’t stop at the moment of hiring. According to the latest research by international management consulting firm, McKinsey, it takes a graduate up to two years to become fully productive, compared to an experienced hire who may take up to six months. That is four times longer than your average hire.

There is no substitute for experience, and that takes time. But the time to productivity can be accelerated by providing a graduate with targeted mentoring during their ‘on-boarding’ and first six months on the job.

How can employers accelerate graduate productivity AND ensure they get a return on their investment?:

  • Create a personal development plan for the graduate based on insights gained through the recruitment process;
  • Appoint an experienced mentor to help the graduate develop the ‘soft skills’ required to adapt to the real world of a full-time career – this augments the technical skill development, which is important but not enough in itself; and
  • Measure development over time, including the impact on projects and business.

Oddly enough, applying the above principles of good recruitment and mentoring will also increase your chances of retaining your graduate in the long term.

It’s certainly an equation it will pay to remember: Good recruitment + effective mentoring + retention = Return on investment.

Have you been deterred from recruiting graduates because of the time, effort and costs involved? Or have you had plenty of positive reinforcement – and RoI – to make all that effort worthwhile? Share your experiences and suggestions by leaving a comment below and start a conversation.

Ai Group’s Graduate Employment Services have been designed to help you achieve an RoI from your graduates. Talk to us about how we can help: 1300 617 690.

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Teri Kelly
As Ai Group's General Manager, Workforce Development Services, Teri leads the teams responsible for Graduate Employment along with our training and development services through our RTO and a range of other customised workforce development programs. Prior to joining Ai Group, Teri held executive roles in high profile corporate and management consulting firms, working with clients in both the private and public sector across Canada, Australia and the UK.
Teri Kelly

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