We made an appearance at PebblePad’s Symposium on Wednesday 2nd December. With a focus on the impact technology has made in graduate recruitment and employability, we presented our thoughts on graduates, recruiting trends and how to create a new generation of Future Ready learners.
1. Academics Anonymous?
More recently, we’ve seen companies, such as PwC, switch to non-standard techniques to shortlist candidates. Focused on the psychology of the individual, such companies have chosen to use strengths, values-based and behavioural testing to determine if a candidate is suitable for the role.
Interestingly, Grant Thornton highlighted if they continued rejecting candidates on UCAS points or equivalent, almost 21% of their current graduates would not have passed.
Solution: Assist in completing Online Forms
Encourage applicants to capture, interpret and express their work experiences and help them to define the importance of the skills developed. This highlights attention to detail along with the ability to showcase communication and distinguish the application from others.
Often, we find candidates attaching CVs in the hope this will be sufficient information for their application. While a CV is great for supplementation, it should not be used as a replacement.
2. Socially Active?
Technology has bridged gaps in communication and graduate employment is no exception to the rule. With the influx of social media and online activity, graduates can register interest or participate in Twitter sessions or webinars, helping to build a rapport and leave a lasting impression on the recruitment team.
Solution: Using Increased Online Platforms
It’s great being active on social media but portfolio creating systems such as Pebble Pad boost graduates’ confidence in producing high quality content and taking responsibility for their work along with harnessing their creativity.
With employers seeking for technical skills ranging across a variety of platforms, and universities like Aston encouraging extra credit for using them, graduates can benefit from using a new platform to disclose problem-solving techniques.
3. It’s great having experience but…
It’s essential to explain the value of work experience. Whether it’s providing fantastic customer service at a fast-food outlet or attention to detail when working in an office, employers want to see a set of skills which can be further developed through a role with their organisation.
However, it has been recognised that there is very little to no overlap between what employers are expecting from graduates and skills graduates believe are suitable for the role. So what are they looking for?
Solution: Encourage Employability Skills
With a gap between employer and graduate expectations, getting involved in social enterprise projects such as Enactus can really provide students with the upper hand. When we attended the UK Social Enterprise Awards earlier in the week, 5 students confidently presented a project on contributing to sanitation projects in Africa – demonstrating vital skills to take forward in the future.
4. Video Interviewing
Fast becoming the main screening method ahead of assessment centre, video interviews streamline potentially successful candidates for a given company. A great opportunity to gauge if an applicant is truly passionate about working for your company, video interviewing can indicate levels of confidence, innovative thinking and creativity.
Solution: Video Interview Training
Many companies provide practice runs for graduates to prepare well before their actual video interview – we think it’s important for university careers departments to conduct Video Interview training sessions or create a webinar which applicants can review.
Not only would this boost employability rates of students, but additionally provide the students with a competitive advantage to enter the labour market.
And finally – don’t forget about SME’s!
Both large companies and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) can provide equally valuable opportunities to those on work experience, however there can be differences in the types of work you’ll get to undertake.
As technology affects the way in which graduates now apply for jobs, it’s important to remember not every company will have a huge attraction campaign – sending speculative CVs or popping into the organization to have a chat show a graduate is pro-active, rather than reactive.
As a graduate recruiter, Cohesion believe in actively making a difference by supporting talent to become Future Ready. The University of Sussex also attended the symposium – you can read their views on the event here. We encourage university careers departments to review their employability sessions to tackle the changing trends in graduate recruitment and for upcoming graduates to engage in as many opportunities as possible.
Good luck in your search and remember to be Future Ready!