How Can Small Businesses Attract The Best Graduate Talent?

With the next cohort of final year students soon beginning their search for graduate placements and jobs, now has never been a better time for SMEs across the country to revamp the way they seek to attract and retain talented graduates.

How Can Small Businesses Attract The Best Graduate Talent?

With the majority of students beginning their job search with more corporate companies by default, Chris from LAC Conveyors and Automation will share some of his experienced tips to effectively stand out as a small business. These can help to compete against bigger players helping to win over the interest of the top talent for your business.

Discuss your company’s strengths 

There is no better way to showcase your company than by discussing your ethos and unique selling points (USPs), whether that be noticing an appropriate work-life balance, offering great and fast progression and/or the opportunity to learn further skills. 

Many studies have reported that younger generations are more likely to prefer modern work arrangements that suit their work-life balance. These include flexible hours and promoting working that has seen to impact on the productivity and retention of the workforce. 

Adapt your job description 

With traditional job descriptions usually requiring X amount of years of experience, this ought to be altered when targeting students. With many students not always having the opportunities of a full year work experience outside of their studies, other routes can be exploredwhen looking to hire graduates.

Instead of asking for experience, you can ask for successes they’ve achieved backed up with evidence; this clearly demonstrates their personality and additional experience within the field and as an individual. Not only this, but this helps to build rapport and trust. 

Investment in the employee

Offer investment in the employee and display that they’re a valuable part of the company. It is no secret that the highest calibre of potential employees are eager to learn and continue to progress with the company. 

A clear progression path, with internal and external training and 121 support, should be portrayed to all candidates. Also ensure that they will be involved in the decision-making process to show that they will be appreciated and given responsibility, despite being at an entry-level position.

Engage on social channels

As discussed earlier, many students today can be regarded as digital natives. Having an active social media presence across different platforms, such as: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, increases the number of channels that students can become aware of your brand. 

Active social media accounts will make it easier for potential candidates to find out about the opportunities being offered, whilst also keeping up to date with the business. If these students are not necessarily local but are keen to relocate, social media can instantly help to develop relationships with these potential recruits, helping to effectively interact with each other. 

Build relationships with universities

Many universities across the UK are beginning to adopt specialist careers departments to offer advice and options available to current and graduated students; because of this, there is an increased opportunity to collaborate together with both local and national universities to widen your job hunt. 

Ways to collaborate include: 

1.      Presenting talks aimed at university students who may be interested in your business

2.      Providing knowledge to help the students gain industry-recognised skills

3.      Offering insight days whereby students visit your business and get a feel for the culture

In 2018, It was disclosed that many graduates positions within companies (36%) have been filled by students who have already worked for the company. This can be through a paid/non-paid internship, full-year placement schemes or shorter summer work experience. When working alongside universities, this can provide a great opportunity within the current competitive graduate recruitment market whilst students undergo their studies.  

As a modern day business, there are different recruitment avenues to explore to help send graduate talent your way. Dependant on the company’s resources and in house skills available, it’s likely that you’ll be able to offer many unique benefits to the graduate market, allowing you to stand out from larger corporate firms.

Chris Unwin
Chris Unwin

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