New developments in graduate recruitment methods

Jaguar Land Rover are innovating with their Situational Judgment tests, Teach First are capitalising on social media, Ernst and Young are pioneering their use of Strengths based interviews and Gradcore are making the most of video interviews.  How are employers revising their recruitment strategies? Why are they doing this? And how can you keep pace and perform effectively in these new innovative methods of graduate recruitment?
At a training event held over the summer for University Careers Advisers from around the region we heard from representatives of the above companies all of whom have transformed their recruitment processes in recent years by introducing new and innovative practices.  These new methods of recruitment are becoming more popular amongst the larger and respected graduate employers... and much of the rationale behind it is based on making things better for you! 

Many of you may feel that application and lengthy recruitment processes are there to test your persistence, determination and resilience. Designed to put you off, and to weed out the faint-hearted! Or even that they are a necessary evil and with a few ‘tricks of the trade’ you can master and apply a winning formula that will get you through.  Having read through numerous applications with students, I agree! 

The rationale behind introduction of these new methods of recruitment, however, is very different.  Much of the focus is to make things better for you, to ‘improve applicant experience’, to speed up the process, help you to self assess your suitability for the job, for you to see, and to a certain extent, experience the culture of the organisation.  In this way the organisations want to get more applications from suitably motivated graduates, who genuinely ‘fit’ into their role/workplace and who don’t ‘drop out’ during the lengthy process.

So for example JLR have moved away from lengthy competency based application forms and have instead introduced their online situational judgement tests that look and feel very different.  Incorporating multimedia images, animation and audio the recruitment method reflects the company’s innovative, quality and creative ‘brand’ – and gives you a more realistic insight into typical situations that you are likely to encounter as a new intern or graduate. In this way, you are assessing your ability to fit into the behavioural and cultural requirements of the company.   This is only the first year that JLR have used this method but so far it has had the desired effect of improving the calibre of applicants, getting fewer people ‘dropping out’ through the process and speeding up their recruitment process. 

Speeding up and making the graduate recruitment process more timely is very much behind the introduction of Gradcore’s video interviews too.  As a company working on behalf of several large recruiters including the British Council who received 25,000 applications for 20 jobs last year, being able to interview people around the world, often in different time zones is a challenge.  Having a video interview that the candidate can complete wherever or whenever is convenient to them and that assessors can watch whenever suitable has ensured a speedier and more consistent interview experience. 

The concept of ‘fit’ is also important to Ernst and Young and behind their use of strengths based interviews. Basically strengths are things which we are good at AND that we enjoy doing (or we LOVE to do!). By using strengths based interviews, Ernst and Young are able to recruit employees who are authentic individuals who will find genuine fulfilment in their work, perform highly effectively, achieve their goals and consequently improve the companies’ retention rate of staff. At interviews, Ernst and Young recruiters are not just listening to the content of your answers to questions such as ‘what makes a good day for you?’ ‘What gets done on your ‘to do’ list? What never gets done?’ or ‘what do you do when you find a task boring? They are also observing and noting your body language, energy levels, tone of voice, words and phrases used and enthusiasm levels and in this way assessing your ‘fit’ to their company culture.

Want to find out more? For more information on these new and increasingly popular methods of graduate recruitment practice, visit the Careers Service website pages and take a look at these useful links:     

What are your experiences of these new graduate recruitment methods? Add your comments below if you want to share your experiences or give your hints and tips for success.

Annette Baxter
Careers Adviser
Careers Service

Careers Service

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