These are times of rapid change in the early-careers recruitment market. Against a backdrop of the apprenticeship levy, technology and new research and data, organisations are required to constantly evaluate the ‘where’, ‘who’ and how of hiring future talent.

However, with a track record of identifying future business leaders and an increasing focus on diversity, UK universities will remain a key recruiting target area for leading employers.

“Laszlo Bock, former Head of People Operations at Google, argues that normal interviews are flawed in finding the best talent.”

The key for employers who want to continue to excel in the war for talent is to ensure they adapt their approach to reach as broad a base of talent as possible, deploy evidence based selection processes and benchmark graduate candidates to ensure fairness and accuracy in their hiring processes.

We highlight three key ways organisations can ensure they stay ahead and improve their ROI when it comes to graduate recruitment.

1. Focus on evidence based recruiting

Laszlo Bock, former Head of People Operations at Google, argues that normal interviews are flawed in finding the best talent. 85 years of research has shown that unstructured interviews (you know the type, “so tell me why you want to work here…”) are an awful way of predicting success for a hire.

Bock argues that a ‘work sample test’ is the best way to predict if a hire will work out, along with strong alignment to company values. The more rigour and process you can apply to your graduate hiring, the better.

2. Widen the net

Too many firms are still recruiting from a narrow range of top tier universities. While this does reduce search and screening costs for the employer, there are three dangers to this approach.

The first risk is that you will create a company of clones with little diversity of thought or experience. The second is that your firm will not be representative of the clients you seek to serve. The third risk is that your firm risks missing the exceptional candidates – the needles in the haystacks – who for whatever reason (poor schooling, difficult family background, absence of careers advice, etc.) weren’t lucky enough to end up on the right campus.

Cast your net wide – you never know what diamond you might find.

3. Benchmark talent

In 2015, a study by the University of Cambridge found that state school pupils are more likely to do better at university than privately educated pupils who start with similar grades. [1]  It makes sense that equally bright students, who receive disproportionate amounts of investment in their education, will perform differently when it comes to exams.

So when assessing candidates potential as future employees, a job applicant from a comprehensive school with BBC at A level needs to be looked at differently than an applicant with AAA* from a top private school. The more employers can look at context in their recruitment decisions, the more accurate and effective their hiring decisions are likely to be.

Appendix

[1] The Daily Telegraph – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/11976195/State-school-pupils-likely-to-do-better-than-private-pupils-study-shows.html 

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