Whatever your business, getting the right person for the job is critical to success. With 44% of people under 30 entering Higher Education, there’s an increasing pool of graduate talent to tap in to. Graduates bring the flexibility, creativity, motivation and skills that a business needs to stay competitive and dynamic. These skills are vital to all sectors. Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly looking to graduates to help drive their business forward.
Our guide contains information and resources to assist you in attracting, selecting and developing graduate talent. It is based on our experience of working with graduates and SMEs.
You can use it as a step-by-step guide or you can dip in and out to use what you need.
Defining your job
Your first step is to ask yourself what you need. Look at your business needs and identify the skills and competencies that you require. It's important to describe any role as accurately as possible - otherwise you may encourage unrealistic expectations which can cause difficulties later on.
It is good practice to develop a job description and person specification. You can then use these throughout the process - from setting a salary to writing a recruitment advert to writing an interview checklist to assessing performance - so it's important to get them right. See our guides:
Once you have applications, it is time to select those candidates that you would like to interview. Here we provide guidance on:
Developing graduate talent
Once you have your perfect employee, the focus moves onto developing them. If you're employing a graduate, it’s important to plan ahead and consider how you will keep them interested and motivated. Graduates will expect a degree of autonomy and ongoing training, development and supervision. We provide some links to training support for you. We also recommend considering mentoring of new graduates by experienced staff.
Some funded projects provided by universities and business support organisations can offer support and funding for graduate recruitment and induction – these projects allow you to ‘road test’ graduates before making a commitment to full employment, and can provide elements of mentoring, support and development.
Graduate retention - will they stay?
Employers are sometimes concerned that graduates won’t stay long enough to make a return on the investment. This is not borne out by research. The Institute of Employment Studies (IES) research Measuring Up: Benchmarking Graduate Retention concluded that retention rates are high at 86% on average after three years.
Eligibility to work in the UK
As an employer, you are responsible for checking that your staff are eligible to work in the UK. You should therefore ask shortlisted candidates to bring the appropriate documents to interview and check and record them before making any unconditional offer.