Why businesses need to do more to develop and attract the right grads before they apply

  February 20, 2017

If you offer a graduate scheme in your business then you want to make sure you are getting the best applicants for your roles. Running a graduate scheme is no small feat, and can be a costly endeavour, so maximising the impact it has, and making sure you recruit people who are going to add value to your business (and hopefully not leave after 12 months) is essential. But how can this be done? Not via the current graduate recruitment process, that's for sure.

One of the most important things that need to change is the role of organisations in helping graduates prepare for the world of work. In the current model graduates spend their three or four years at university learning as much as they can about a specific subject area. This subject may or may not be directly related to the wider world of work, and may or may not (normally not) give them some insight into a specific industry. During this time a graduate will normally, at best, have a part time job, often in retail, customer service or similar, and this is their extent of exposure to business.

Then they graduate and are expected to take on full time employment in an industry they probably have no idea about, in a role they have never done, and without any context to guide them. As a result they appear naïve, unprepared and lacking in necessary skills when they arrive in the world of work. But instead of universities or organisations taking firm action to resolve this issue, graduates are simply touted as being lazy, job-hoppers who don't know anything about work.

What is the solution to this issue? Ultimately there needs to a greater level of connection and interaction between businesses and universities, and a more robust approach to preparing graduates to enter the world of work. Currently they have virtually no exposure to the realities of the working world, and this has to change if they are to be expected to contribute more efficiently to an organisation's outcomes.