Library Dissertation Showcase

Shaping the graduate recruitment scheme process: what do graduates really want?

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2019

This research explores the topic of graduate recruitment in relation to graduate schemes. Focusing solely on UK university graduates that have previously applied for a structured graduate scheme, the researcher attempts to uncover attitudes towards the recruitment and onboarding processes that graduates go through when applying for these prestigious schemes, as well as their preferences and values within the context of employment. The purpose of this, was to develop suitable recommendations for organisations on how to implement improved recruitment and onboarding processes in order to enhance the overall experience of university graduates entering the world of work – resulting in increased employee engagement, productivity and retention levels.

In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the experiences of graduates, primary research was conducted in the form of a questionnaire designed to gain insight into statistical information in relation to graduates applying for graduate schemes, as well as graduates’ previous experiences of applying for graduate schemes and also what they value and would like to experience when applying for such schemes. Findings identified that the majority of graduates apply for multiple graduate schemes before receiving a job offer; graduates feel as though they are not afforded to demonstrate their skillset early enough in the application process; graduates do not receive enough personalised feedback when being rejected; and salary, work/life balance and career progression are the three most important factors that graduates consider when applying for a job role. However, these are not the same factors that would encourage them to stay with an employer for a longer period of time.

Furthermore, secondary research was conducted, which gave significant insight into the various aspects of graduate employment such as theoretical perspectives on graduate recruitment from Schein (1964), Steers (1997) and Garavan and Morley (1997). Additionally, the literature explores the impact of skills gaps, generational differences, E-HRM, graduate employability, graduate values and preferences and how graduate talent is identified, on graduate scheme recruitment.

Conclusions drawn highlighted that graduates feel as though the application process does not provide them with the opportunity to demonstrate their skillset as the psychometric testing methods involved are not applicable to the role that they are applying for. They also identify poor levels of personalised feedback, making it difficult to understand where to improve in future applications, and even when securing a role, levels of support are insufficient.

Suitable recommendations include suggestions tailored to each part of the recruitment process that make the experience more personalised including using in-house recruitment methods as opposed to outsourcing to recruitment companies; basing the required competencies on qualities identified within an ‘occupational personality questionnaire’ as opposed to generic competencies; offering mentor support to new starters and introduce a ‘management by objective’ style of management as opposed to traditional structured target-setting management.

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