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Graduate Recruitment Insights & News

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February 2023

Using a Talent Pool

The concept of graduate talent pools keeps popping up and seems to be a hot topic right now. It makes sense as going in to 2023, every employer is wondering, will we be able to make our hiring numbers.


Can employers make more hires using a talent pool? Definitely.

In a market where students now look at opportunities throughout the year, it's a must-have.

The premise behind any talent pool is to leverage the strength of the employer brand.

In graduate recruitment employers invest in multi-channel marketing campaigns - advertising, career fairs, campus events and campaigns, website content etc. Then there is word-of-mouth, referrals from past and current employees, even the posts on Whirlpool forums, which all contribute to building a graduate employer brand.

In general advertising we know the communication message can stay with a consumer well after an advertising campaign finishes. The same applies to graduate recruitment marketing. Marketing doesn't stop working when a graduate (or intern) program closes. The message stays with students.

So while some students may not apply to the program, a subsequent trigger event may prompt them to take a closer look. (A referral, an online post, organisation or sector news, a change in personal circumstance etc.)

Except if the program is closed and there's no opportunity to apply or register interest, the candidate is missed. The investment in the graduate employer brand has done its job to create interest. But if there's no mechanism to capture the candidate details, it hasn't been fully capitalised.

That's where talent pools play their part.

But it's not just collecting expressions of interest before a program opens. Many employers already do that and simply email registered applicants that the program is now open.

It's more important to open the talent pool after the program closes. In fact, immediately after. That's when the employer branding effort is still fresh in the minds of students. But keep it open right up until the time the new graduates or interns are ready to start.

Talent pools and expressions of interest do not commit the employer to formally assessing applications. They're positioned as "register your details and if a suitable role becomes available, we will contact you".

How many applicants could an employer be missing out on by not using some form of talent pool?

We think it could be another 20%.

For an employer receiving 1,000 direct applications to a program, there may be another 200 who would have applied outside the program open dates. Assuming a hire rate of 5% of applications, in this example it would mean another 10 hires.

Talent Pool Platforms
The applicant tracking system is the most common platform for talent pools. It's there, available and talent acquisition teams already use it as a generic talent pool.

In graduate recruitment the challenge for an employer is making a timely connection with a strong candidate. That means determining the quality of each applicant and where they could be a potential fit. But going through applications takes time.

Invite them to do a psychometric test? Maybe. But how many would complete it? For students it needs to be a simple process. So it’s understandable employers see it as becoming all too hard.

The best choice for a talent pool is the GradSift shortlisting platform.

Why? Employers instantly see the quality of an applicant without opening a resume. And that's by type of role, even location. That makes it easy to quickly respond to the best candidates.

For students it's ten minutes to complete a GradSift profile from drop-down fields with no resume upload.

For a recruiter it's spending 60 seconds once a week to view the latest candidates and choose whether to make contact. It's as simple as that.

Of course there’s a lot more employers can do with GradSift. Identify applicants by availability, previous employers, gender and diversity. Ask their own screening questions or ask applicants to upload a resume and record a short video. There's even a Hiring Manager View function where managers decide who to bring forward. 

GradSift makes a talent pool simple for recruiters and students. 



January 2023

2023 Plans Work-in-Progress

Ok, if you're reading this you're currently looking at your graduate recruitment options for 2023 or will start to do so in the coming weeks. So here are some ideas and reasons other employers use GradSift to shortlist their applicants.

Concern about losing strong applicants
It's hard enough attracting good candidates. Getting them to apply and avoiding drop-outs is just as hard. A screening assessment that only measures one attribute, can knock out applicants who are strong everywhere else. It can even discourage people from applying.

Start with an inclusive process that screens in strong candidates, not out.

GradSift is a multi-criteria assessment that interprets an applicant’s full background (academics, work experiences and interests) to assess achievements, behavioural skills and relevance of their background to the role and the organisation. It uniquely assesses the quality of applicants.

Apply diversity filters, applicant role preferences and your own screening questions [new] to refine the results. You can also ask applicants to record video and upload documents [new] onto GradSift.

All of that information is available on a single platform. No wonder it’s the most balanced way to shortlist.

A faster turnaround for applicants
Student feedback from last year said there's a limit to the amount of time they'll spend just to submit an application. US research says it's 20 minutes.

It takes an applicant 10 minutes to create a GradSift profile. Shortlisting with GradSift speeds up the recruitment process for students and employers.

Some employers even have students apply via GradSift instead of their ATS.

Improve hiring diversity
Unintended bias does creep in. From hiring managers choosing interview candidates in their own likeness. To cognitive ability assessment disadvantaging lower socio economic applicants.

GradSift screens blind to avoid unintentional bias.

“Each application was evaluated objectively and without bias”
“GradSift delivered more diversity through each of our recruitment stages including hires”

Interpret candidate information
So much information! Applicant backgrounds are translated into a simple but powerful visualization of their educational background, work experiences, interests and achievements.




Choose Hiring Manager View [new] to allow managers access to shortlist information and choose who they want to interview.

More than graduates and interns
Now available for apprentice roles, entry-level roles, whole-of-government programs and merit pools. [new]

Do I really have to watch every video?
We know that's a huge pain. On other platforms, the answer is yes. But in GradSift candidates are already ranked according to your criteria. Have a life! There’s no need to sit through countless recorded video interviews.

We don't have internal resources to manage high-volume recruitment
No problem. GradSift provides outsourced recruitment services using the platform for you. [new] A big saving and faster compared to a traditional RPO.

Budget constraints
If you use psychometric assessments to screen applicants hold onto your seat. GradSift is priced from $4 per applicant. That includes the video function.

Interested in seeing how GradSift will save time, cost and help you deliver more quality candidates? Watch the video or email to schedule a walk-through demo.









December 2022

5 Strategies for a Candidate Short Market

We researched strategies available to organizations in a candidate short market. What we found and the strategic options available extend beyond student recruitment.

Understand how the shortage of graduates is likely to impact the organization.
For example, if you had only half the number of graduates, how would it affect work that needs to be done? Could that work be performed by employees in non-graduate positions? Would a shortage affect the development of leaders?   

Reshape the job or career path to match graduates who are interested in the organization.
Attracting good applicants in a candidate short market is a big challenge. Don’t lose strong candidates because they’re not an apparent fit.

Review and streamline the current recruitment process.
This is a topic that has already had a lot of coverage. But make it easy for students to apply and simplify the assessment process to minimise drop-offs. Another option is an Open Registration process that sits outside of the main recruitment campaign. See Year Round Recruitment. 

Review the graduate recruitment strategy itself.
One element to consider is do you need every graduate hire to be a top performer? Are there roles and an alternate career path suited to “solid” candidates? In the general workplace, 40% of graduates end up working in roles that don’t actually require a degree.

Identify new sources of candidates.
This can be geographic, targeting regions (eg. regional universities) that are often overlooked in marketing campaigns. Also the type of candidate (eg. graduate visa students, mature aged graduates or mature aged students studying part-time).


November 2022 

Feedback from the AAGE 2022 Conference

 Graduate recruitment can be a grind. Here are some quotes we heard from employers.

  • "I’ll do the shortlisting this time but not again"
  • "After the 60th resume my eyes start to glaze over"
  • "Watching video interviews I try to rationalise how I can quickly reject a candidate – like a messy room. Do I know the person’s circumstances? No. But I don't have time"
  • "The time from receiving applications in April to acceptances took months and months, way too long. In fact we still have placements we're working on! The whole process should take weeks instead".
  • Where graduate recruitment is part of a person's job, it’s a total time killer. "Either everything else goes on hold or I'm just snowed under".
  • "Government background checks slow down the whole job offer process". Is there a solution?


October 2022

Not enough strong applicants to hire?

Employers who experienced that for their 2023 intake will find things are not going to get any easier next year. It's time to take a step back and look at the alternatives.

Attracting candidates is hard enough. There's only so much any employer can do with marketing and pipelines. But as we've said before it's worth looking at the assessment process. Does it screen in strong candidates or risk screening them out?

In the past when there have been plenty of applicants the typical assessment process has focused on reducing numbers to a manageable level. It didn't matter if strong candidates slipped through the cracks. There were more than enough to take their place. 

But it remains a candidate short market. It doesn't make sense to stay with an assessment process designed to cull "too many" applicants. That's why companies like Dan Murphy's recently introduced the walk-in 10 minute interview. They modified their assessment process to reflect the market dynamics.

We're not saying graduate employers should mimic Dan Murphy's. But it is time for graduate recruiters to adjust to the market and focus on identifying all strong candidates. Not just those who make it past an abilities test.


September 2022


When employers struggle to find talent, how can they stay competitive? Automation can help not by replacing people, but by increasing existing team productivity. Recruitment is a field where automation is making positive inroads to increase productivity. It frees up the capacity of HR and recruiters, even hiring managers to spend more time on value-adding activities.
However, not all automation efforts in recruitment have been successful. There have been enough examples of flaws in algorithm design creating bias or inconsistent outcomes. We’ve seen the high profile scrapping of an algorithm driven recruitment system and a hold placed on the use of facial recognition in candidate assessment. 

That’s rightly prompted caution when employers consider AI tools in recruitment. While the negative stories are good for the headlines there are many positive stories.

An example is GradSift which has been trusted and used in graduate recruitment for more than three years. Previously, graduate recruiters were forced to manually sift through thousands of student resumes. Yet AI replicates that process evaluating the same multiple data points to reliably assess thousands of applicants in seconds. 

It's not just for employers who still manually review applications. It extends to those who screen on psychometric assessment results.


August 2022

"Never Seen a Graduate Recruitment Season Like This"

That is how a 20 year graduate recruitment veteran has described 2022. 

One of the biggest dynamics we’ve seen this year is self-centered student behavior. In this candidate-short market students are the ones who are in control. Instead of complying with graduate recruiting norms and demands from employers they can afford to put their own needs first. It’s not selfish behaviour. It’s simply the shift in power where the student now comes first.

The good news is that employers are reporting high levels of job acceptances (80% plus) after their main recruitment drive. The bad news is it’s quickly followed by 20% renege rates. There are more students reneging a job offer and they’re happening much earlier. Some are being upfront to let employers know as soon as they’ve changed their mind. That at least gives employers time to go back to market. But last-minute reneges will still happen along with no-shows on the supposed first day on the job. That will only push up the final rescind rate even higher.

So what should employers be considering?
• The more steps in the recruitment process the more opportunities for students to drop out.
• Students want genuine and timely engagement throughout the process.
• Employers should expanded their reach to consider students from diverse backgrounds.



July 2022

Airbnb for Graduate Recruitment?

In explaining GradSift to an American expert in HR/recruitment technology, after a minute or so he said, “oh, you mean like an Airbnb for graduate recruitment? You put in the accommodation criteria – location, bedrooms, price etc then it comes up with the top rated listings that match except you only need to review the top five or so listings.

But instead of Airbnb user ratings, it's the GradSift’s algorithm that determines the top rated candidates. That's very cool.”

It's another way to think of GradSift - as a platform that makes shortlisting so much easier.



June 2022

Short on Strong Applicants? Here's a Solution

Here are some tips to increase the number of strong applicants without spending more on marketing.

Streamline the application process to less than 20 minutes.
Research just prior to Covid indicated that students were prepared to invest 15 minutes of their time on a graduate job application. Recent feedback from the US largely confirms this suggesting 20 minutes is the max. The point is employers are putting themselves at a disadvantage if they have a lengthy application process. It's a turn-off and many students won't bother.

Government employers have been notorious in this regard. Commonly there are multiple questions requiring written responses or additional research about the organisation. It can easily take more than one hour. Historically the employer rationale is if the student isn’t prepared to take the time to complete the application we don't want them because it's a sign they're not committed.

But reframe that from the student’s perspective. I'm OK taking 15 to 20 minutes to apply given I'll be submitting applications to multiple employers. But if an employer thinks I should be spending an hour plus of my time, just to express my interest when I'm one chance in twenty of being hired? They don't understand today's generation of students. It's not where I'd want to work.

It's worth employers taking a look at how long it takes to complete their initial application. If it's more than 20 minutes it may be deterring students from applying.

Move beyond those who graduated in the past 2 or 3 years.
Most graduate programs require students to have completed their degree within the past two or three years. Otherwise they’re not eligible.

Recently I spoke with a technology graduate from Sydney University. He completed his Masters at the end of 2019. But due to Covid and being an international student he was forced to return to his home country. After two years he recently arrived back. He has permanent working rights, a quality technology degree but is ineligible for most graduate programs – because it’s now over three years since he graduated!

Covid changed the rules for many things. When candidates are in short supply, it's time to be agile and relook at the eligibility criteria for a graduate program.

Change the screening process to be more inclusive.

A large proportion of Australian employers use psychometric tests as the first step to screen applicants. They're simple to administer and useful when the results are used in conjunction with other candidate data to make decisions.

But too many employers misuse them as a single data point to justify culling applicants. There's no reference to any other applicant data. The consequence is that up to one third of candidates that might have been hired, get rejected at that screening (culling) stage. Yes, up to one third.

In a candidate abundant market, that’s not a big deal from the employer perspective as there are plenty of candidates to choose from. (The rejected candidates likely have an alternate view). But in a candidate short market you don't have that luxury.

Psychometric tests can also deter some students from applying if they know they don’t perform well in that form of assessment.

If diversity is a key objective, we know that cognitive ability testing disadvantages students from a low socio-economic background.

The key take-away is to step back and relook at the recruitment process because the process itself may be contributing to fewer hires.



May 2022

The Candidate Experience

Most recruiters do their best to deliver a positive candidate experience. But sometimes there are obstacles to overcome. Like dealing with technology, assessments or internal processes that aren't straightforward. Or coercing hiring managers to act promptly in decision-making. Or being forced to take short-cuts with candidates when they're just isn't enough time.

Despite the best intents, that's when it can lead to a poor candidate experience. In high volume graduate recruitment, it's not just one candidate affected but many.

How much is a poor candidate experience contributing to fewer job applicants or job offers being turned down?

You would expect in a candidate tight market, recruiters would be going all out to deliver a great candidate experience. Not just for the candidate they’re trying to hire. But the ten other potential employees who will learn about the organisation from that candidate’s experience.

Here's a candidate example shared by US based graduate recruitment researcher colleague.

They invited me for an interview but never got back to me with the date or invite. I consistently followed up with the recruiter and she gave me false hope by reassuring me that the date is still to be confirmed.

As the proposed month of the interview round drew near, she started ignoring me and I’ve not heard from her since Jan 4th. I’m happy I dodged a bullet but I’m extremely disappointed.

I mean, it’s clear that they filled the role but this was completely unethical and I really want my voice to be heard. “ [Candidate's emphasis]

Only last week I saw this on the Whirlpool graduate forum, students sharing experiences about employer “X”.

"I remember applying to them last year. I was told to come to the assessment center the following day and that I was to receive an email with the details. Afternoon rolls around with no email – queue the frantic calls to the HR rep. Eventually I call the main office at 4pm and was informed that the HR rep has already gone home.

I continue to call the HR rep through the week. I managed to get in touch with her about 2 weeks later, who informed me that the assessment center has already passed (Thanks?). She said there was a screw up within the "system" and she would get back to me regarding this issue. Unsurprisingly, she didn't."

The candidate was telling other students don't bother applying to Company X.

Recruitment Experience Reflects Culture
I've always held the view that the recruitment experience is a strong indicator of how much an organisation genuinely values people. It doesn't matter whether you're a student or senior executive. If the organisation wants to attract great people it should be going out its way to ensure a great candidate experience. If they don't, it's a reflection of their culture.

Other people have commented on this topic. "In this type of market it's these type of experiences that make or break the process. It's too competitive now and candidates are all getting amazing offers to work for amazing companies and often times it's the experience itself that makes the difference whether they join or don't!"

How much is a poor candidate experience contributing to fewer job applicants or job offers being turned down? There is definitely a causal relationship. When there are plenty of opportunities out there, students can choose to avoid the "known" bad experiences. Or when they reach job offer stage don't be surprised if a better candidate experience with another employer leads to a renege. You want to be that other employer!


April 2022


Winners & Losers?

When it comes to recruiting graduates and interns this year, there will inevitably be organisations who got it right and those who didn't.

Prior to Covid, graduate recruitment loped along at a slow pace of change driven mostly by vendor innovation. When a new graduate recruiter came into the role, the safest option was to do what worked in the past.

Then came along Covid. It forced the virtualisation of the recruitment process and sent everyone into an unknown world. Everyone experienced five years worth of change condensed into two.

Now we can return to in-person events and activities with candidates. But what's the right balance between virtual and in-person processes? How will students behave? Should employers embrace year-round recruitment, a single campaign in the first half, or a campaign delayed until July?

No-one knows the right answers. But by the end of the year we will likely see winners and losers based on the assumptions each employer has made.


March 2022


How has Covid Impacted Graduate Numbers?

The number of local or domestic graduates has consistently grown over the past ten years. But in 2020 it stopped due to Covid. For the first time in ten years there was a decline of 2.3%. Add to that the substantial shortfall in international graduates and the official data confirms what graduate employers already knew. There weren't enough graduates to go around.

But the newly published data presents some interesting surprises. For example, the number of Business graduates still grew, up by 1.9%. While ICT graduates increased by a whopping 8.1%. This contrasts with anecdotal explanations from some universities who said that Covid may have caused students to put their degrees on pause. 

So where was the shortfall? The answer is in those disciplines that required students to complete a practical program in order to graduate. Healthcare graduates of which nursing makes up nearly half, were down 5.8% compared to 2019. While there were 3.5% fewer Engineering graduates in 2020.

How will this play out going forward? We know that employers found it really tough in 2021. So we had a look at student enrolments to provide a clue.

2020 enrolments for ICT degrees were up 11.4%. For a three year degree that would imply strong growth of students graduating in 2022. However, even then employer demand will likely exceed supply.

For Engineering we used 2019 as the base for what's typically a four year degree. It's not encouraging for an employer. Enrolments project only 0.7% growth, essentially flat.

2022 is going to be another tough year for graduate employers.

If you'd like to access the full report members of the AAGE (Australian Association of Graduate Employers) can access their UniStats Report.


February 2022


Does Virtual Recruitment Equate to Less Commitment? 

Are virtual recruitment practices contributing to increased ghosting and reneges of job offers? It certainly seems the case in student and graduate recruitment. No-shows on the start date. Renege rates of up to 40%. Random drop outs throughout the recruitment process. Research says the most common reason is a better offer.

The fact that it's a candidate short market is obviously a contributor as candidates size up multiple offers. But how much is due to the shift to virtual recruitment practices? Or the lack of engagement with incoming employees ?

In a virtual process, there’s certainly less skin in the game for candidates and employers. On one hand the virtual world offers a greater opportunity to engage with each and every incoming student, no matter where they are located pre commencement date. But then there’s the risk that the virtual process can become a transactional one. It's easier for both employer and candidate to go through the motions without the personal commitment required in face-to-face meetings.

I know many employers who have done everything possible to provide a great candidate experience albeit virtually. But in the end maybe that doesn't cut it. You can point to the student and say it's a generational thing. But it really is up to employers to take the initiative on this one.


January 2022

How to Graduate Increase Hires by 20%

The biggest challenge graduate recruiters face in 2022 is making hiring numbers. It is going to be tough, really tough.

It's also an international problem. In the US, recruiters are already talking about going back to campus a second time to try and meet targets. They're also expanding the number of universities they recruit from. Australian employers don't have that luxury, already considering applications from any university.

But there is a potential solution that could increase hires by at least 20%. It starts by taking a much closer look at the students who already apply to your organisation.

Remember from a few years ago, an Australian psychometric assessment provider shared research that up to 45% of student applicants rejected on abilities testing, had the strong interpersonal skills employers craved but could not find. They recognised that culling on abilities alone was rejecting too many strong applicants.

When it comes to culling graduate applicants on psychometric assessment results, where do you draw the line? They’re not infallible and strong applicants do get rejected. But they are an efficient way to narrow the applicant funnel. So what’s the right trade-off between recruiter efficiency and making hires? 

How many culled applicants would have been hired if they continued through the recruitment process? Most employers don’t know. So we’re sharing graduate program data we collected, which compares cognitive ability scores of hired applicants versus non-hires.


Overall, there wasn’t a significant variation of percentile scores between hires and non-hires. But what did stand out is that 67% of hires scored at the 70th percentile or above, compared to only 54% of non-hires. 

Should we set a cut-off at the 70th percentile? Rejecting everyone below the 70th percentile, culls 43% of applicants. That helps with efficiency. But it also culls one in three applicants who would have been hired. 

More commonly, cut-offs start at the 40th percentile. Culling applicants at that level only reduces total applicants by 26%. That doesn’t do much for recruiter efficiency or lowering the cost of subsequent assessments. Concerningly, it still rejects nearly one in five applicants who would otherwise have been hired. 

Employers accept there’s “collateral damage” from any culling process. When there’s been a strong supply of student applications, it really hasn’t mattered. But now there is a real shortage of student talent. As we know, employers are rethinking campus recruitment. It’s no longer a one-off campaign. They are experiencing 30% job offer renege rates as graduates receive three times as many job offers than their predecessors.

Let’s agree, going into 2022 the biggest challenge for any graduate employer is hiring enough talent 

It’s not just graduates. The AFR (January 5, 2022) reported “a new survey of 400 Australian chief executives, directors and business heavyweights by KPMG revealed that almost 70 per cent say acquiring and retaining talent is their key worry.” How will they respond? You can see this coming – let’s hire more graduates! 


It’s time to take a different approach.  

There’s that famous Albert Einstein quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Continuing to cull graduate applicants on psychometric assessment scores will not increase hires. What is does is depress your hiring potential. Hires will end up 20% less than what they should be.

In 2022, collateral damage, i.e. culling candidates who should be hired, will no longer be an acceptable trade-off for recruiter efficiency.

Here’s the thing:

  1. Choosing not to cull applicants on psychometric assessment scores should lead to at least 20% more hires. 
  2. It’s not saying stop psychometric testing. Just don’t use the results on their own to cull. 

So how do you identify all of those strong applicants who are sitting in your applicant tracking system? 

You could screen manually. Or you could put applicants through multiple assessments (testing, video, behavioural interviews) before making a decision. Neither are efficient.

There are other proven assessment technologies. GradSift is purpose-built for initial screening. It's time efficient and highly effective with employers delighted to report greater hiring diversity. Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Federal Police, Energy Queensland, Viva Energy, Mirvac, Laing O’Rourke and Schneider-Electric are just some of the employers achieving superior hiring outcomes.   

Reflect on Einstein's quote again.

It is time to take a different approach.



December 2021

Shortlist the Best Candidates for Any Role

As we come towards the end of the year, we thought it's OK to give readers a full-on promotion for GradSift. After all, it is by far the best way to screen for graduate and intern roles and this is a GradSift forum! So here we go.


Employers trust GradSift technology to reliably assess thousands of applications in seconds.

That makes shortlisting simple. No matter the complexity of how many roles or locations, it's easy to match the right student with the right position using student preferences and GradSift functionality.


GradSift is purpose built for graduate recruitment.

It's algorithm interprets student academic background, work experiences and extra curriculars to assess leadership, achievements, behavioural skills and relevance of their experiences.

Just like a manual resume review. "GradSift screens applicants exactly the way we do" - top 5 global consulting firm.


A fairer outcome for students.

Student data is captured from drop-down fields. No resume upload.
GradSift screens blind and removes the potential for bias with no bias against lower socio-economic status candidates. That's fairer for students.


GradSift is a proven and objective assessment used by leading employers.

• Employers receive applications via their applicant tracking system.
• Students are directed to create a GradSift profile taking 10 to 15 minutes.
• Employers set selection criteria for each role, then view the results in seconds.


More than selection filters.

GradSift assesses each student’s achievements, role preferences and the relevance of their background to the position and the organisation. The result is an easy to interpret ranking of students who meet your criteria.

Refine the results using filters including prior employers, gender, diversity and technical skills.

The outcome is the right students for the right roles regardless of their background. 


Video included free.

Go further and use GradSift’s recorded video where students present at their best, to assess communication skills and career interests before finalising shortlists.


Unique insights to your recruitment program.

Post-recruitment, analytics automatically report demographics, student experience profiles and program marketing effectiveness by channel, right down to individual university.


Recommended by 100% of GradSift employers.

While we think that's pretty good, what's much more important is what employers say. Here is what they nominate as the top five benefits.

  • Recruiter productivity and cost savings
  • An objective assessment of candidates
  • Greater candidate diversity
  • Ease of use
  • The best support 

"GradSift has definitely increased efficiency and productivity in our entry level talent recruitment"

That's our pitch. Thanks for reading, Peter. ????



November 2021

Sydney Water Voted Best Graduate Program for 2021

This is based an AAGE survey using input from graduates working at their respective employers.

Sydney Water did a presentation at the conference and here is what we noted.

• Received 1,500 applications and hired 15.

• 3 year fixed term employment contract, with an expectation graduates will receive a permanent offer from the company within that time. Most do, early into their third year.

• Within the first two weeks of joining the graduate program, there is a leadership camp with team building.

• Graduates participate in the subsequent year’s graduate recruitment activities including assessment centres and pre-start buddy opportunities.

• The L&D Manager has overall responsibility for the graduates, not line managers. The L&D Manager meets with grads 3 to 4 times a year, discussing career goals and performance tracking. She also meets with supervisors twice a year.

• 3 rotations where graduates chose their placement regardless if they studied in that area. The exception is specialist technical roles. They acknowledged it does represent workforce planning challenges but that’s where career goal discussions can shape the final placements.

• Budgets for graduates are controlled centrally under the L&D Manager. Graduates are therefore “free” to line managers.
When we review it, there is nothing new and nothing special. All of this has been around for decades.

But we suspect what does make the difference is how well the program is executed. As the business axiom goes you can have the best strategy in the world but if you can’t deliver on it, it’s worthless. Clearly, Sydney Water does.


October 2021

11 Tips for Graduate Recruitment Productivity

Two key measures in recruitment are hiring outcomes and recruitment productivity. It’s one thing to have a successful hiring outcome. But how it’s achieved is just as important. No-one has unlimited resources - time or money. So let’s take a look at some ways to increase graduate recruitment productivity.

1. Video interview. Reduce the number of questions to the ones that really matter.

Does it really need to be 3, 4 or even 5 questions? How many times does the recruiter watch the full video response before making a decision? In our experience, what matters most in video is seeing candidate interest in your organization/roles; personality and cultural fit; examples of achievement or initiative; and of course verbal communication.

Ask one question: “Please introduce yourself, tell us what you’ve been studying, one or two key achievements and why you’d like a career with us”. All in sixty seconds.

2. Don’t waste time doing initial screening by video.

At least 80% of applicants will not be a “Yes”. Why go through the pain of watching every video? It’s no different to opening and reading every resume.

3. Use technology not manual resume reviews.

Technology designed specifically for graduate and intern recruitment saves up to 98% of a recruiter’s time. That time can surely be better spent on other priorities.

4. Process outsourcing or insourcing.

Recruitment process outsourcing doesn’t have to mean the entire process. Many employers outsource the parts where a vendor brings genuine expertise and added value. Or they bring a process in-house after they’ve learned how to do it after watching their RPO provider.

5. Technology instead of temporary help.

Temps consume more resources than you think.

• Finding/recruiting the temp (if you can)
• Onboarding and getting them up to speed with the organization, its culture and the roles
• Training in what to look for in graduates
• Overseeing for quality control to ensure they assess objectively and correctly.
• Plus there’s the normal down-time.
Technology can perform the same function more efficiently, reliably and bias free.

6. Choice of assessments that support productivity.

Assessments that measure a single attribute, eg. cognitive ability or a values test, aren’t that productive as they require further assessments to be useful for applicant decision-making. That’s more cost, more time and more steps in the process. Look for assessments that evaluate multiple in criteria in a single step.

7. Choose assessments that don’t reject strong candidates.

Cognitive ability for example, disadvantages lower socio-economic status candidates and rejects up to 50% of candidates with the strong interpersonal skills employers want. The right candidates have applied and are there in the ATS. Use the right tools to locate them.

8. Use the recruitment system to identify the right candidates.

Use technology at the start of the process to automate how candidates are assigned to roles/work streams/locations based on candidate preferences. Or how to easily find candidates by diversity background or previous employer in order to create balanced shortlists.

9. Automate management reporting.

Graduate recruiters say they spend up to 10 working days analyzing and preparing management reports on graduate and intern programs. Technology can do this automatically.

10. Self-service for hiring managers.

Give managers restricted system access to choose who to interview from candidates pre-qualified by HR.

11. Talent pools for year-round hiring.

Use talent pool technology that automatically screens and ranks candidates for each role. Login, select the role/function you're interested in and the ranked results are immediately visible without opening a resume. Ready to watch the candidate video.


These are just some of the ways to improve productivity, balancing recruiter and hiring manager time, assessment effectiveness, process time and costs.


Academic Research Interest in GradSift

September 2021

Over the past couple of months academic researchers from the UK and Australia have reached out to learn how GradSift works. They see GradSift’s ai technology as truly innovative and are impressed by the diversity results achieved by employers.

As one of the researchers said “traditional cognitive testing does measure the ability of a candidate to perform tasks. In a graduate role that accounts for 45% of their job. But the other 55% requires interpersonal skills, conscientiousness and motivation. That’s where GradSift adds value”.

Regarding diversity, the same researcher confirmed that “cognitive testing does discriminate against students from a lower socio-economic background”. That’s part of the explanation why employers are achieving greater hiring diversity using GradSift.

We are collaborating with both groups of researchers as they develop new insights into graduate and college recruitment.


Productivity for Graduate Recruiters

August 2021

"Productivity a burning issue and a constant topic of conversation” at Gallup’s CHRO Roundtable. Which make us think about graduate recruitment. 

The typical graduate recruitment process is a waterfall with each step very mechanical.

  • Advertise
  • Receive & filter applications (ATS)
  • Cull numbers to a manageable level (psychometric testing)
  • Preliminary assessment of behavioural skills (video interview)
  • Detailed assessment of behaviours and team fit (assessment centre)
  • Mutual candidate and employer assessment (one-on-one interview)

It’s effective but not that productive when you count up the cost of external solutions and recruiter and management time. It's a process with limited flexibility to easily reconsider applicants, manage student preferences or the changing needs of hiring managers.

When we speak with grad recruiters who use GradSift, productivity is a key benefit. They may describe it as "streamlining their process", "saving time and money" and "increasing diversity". But GradSift really is an intuitive productivity solution for graduate recruiters.

GradSift enables employers to evaluate student behaviours, academic background, work experiences, extra-curricular achievements, eligibility for more than one role, roles or locations preferred by students, current or previous employers, multiple diversity categories, recorded video and detailed student profiles. It's simple to manipulate any of the data to refresh the results, all within the one application.

Compare that to the traditional waterfall process.


What Employers Were Saying in July 2019

July 2021

Renege rates remain an issue. It seems no employer is immune. Even very high profile tech employers are on the receiving end.

75% of employers don't read cover letters. So why bother with them?

Data Science and Cyber Security are hot disciplines. It didn't matter which employer sector - government, financial services, engineering, professional services etc, demand is outstripping supply for data scientists and cyber security graduates.

Most employers are happy with video interviews.

Artificial intelligence is gaining momentum.  Some employers are now using ai to screen from video interviews, although there's caution in how reliable that is.

Questions remain about screening graduates on values. The underlying issue is that 21 to 22 year olds are still maturing and that applies to their values. Values are shaped by the environment  (university, relationships and work experiences) and will continue to evolve under the direct influence of their new graduate employer. So should employers be screening based on a student’s current values?

Does gamified testing have inherent bias? This question was posed to testing providers, with the response that they have no data to indicate any bias. There were some murmurs around the audience based on anecdotal experiences and US research that suggested that gamification put action gamers, and more specifically male action gamers, at a significant advantage.



Australian Employer Feedback

June 2021

Application Numbers Are Down

Many employers report that application numbers for this year’s graduate recruitment are down on the prior year. The consensus from employers and university careers advisors puts it down to the many students who deferred course work during covid and fewer international students.

Virtual Career Fairs?

Virtual career fairs and events have been a disappointment. Probably the biggest concern is that virtual fairs don’t attract “passing traffic”. They’re the students who didn’t know about you until they stopped at your booth. In a virtual environment they just don’t stop to engage.

Exhibitors at virtual conferences have had the same experience. So it’s not just career fairs.


Which Assessment Best Predicts Hires?

A financial services group shared the results from a review of their graduate assessment process. They wanted to learn which assessments were the best predictors of their hires. They looked at the results from their past two graduate programs.

Their assessment process started with Pymetrics, followed by a series of psychometric tests and assessment centres. The latter included behavioural interviews.

What did they find?

The results from Pymetrics and psychometric testing had no bearing at all in predicting hires. Behavioural based interviews at the assessment centres stood out as the best predictor.


AI is on the Agenda

Employers report an increased uptake of ai solutions, especially among government.



HR Executives Want Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

May 2021 

Interested to see how artificial intelligence will streamline entry-level recruitment? From many of our discussions, HR executives tell us they are.

Senior managers are really keen to see how ai can be applied in recruitment.

They see their peers moving ahead and they don't want to be left behind. But they also need to learn what's been successful in the market.

Entry-level recruitment has always been considered a testing ground for new technology. Unlike other ai solutions, GradSift is purpose-built for graduate and intern recruitment. For new users, a simple way to start is by trialing GradSift for an intern or work experience program. 

Why would you do that?

  1. Well, firstly it works (100% recommendation from employer users).
  2. It saves recruiter time (that has to be good, unless people like to binge on applicant videos)
  3. And it’s a 70% cost saving compared to testing.

I’m sure if any HR exec saw that in a proposal they would say "just do it".   


Don't Let Process Reject Strong Candidates

April 2021

Don't throw out the (graduate) baby with the bathwater.

That’s a saying that’s been around for a long-time. With competition for graduates heating up, the analogy is even more relevant today. It means graduate employers should urgently relook at how they cull and screen applicants.

• There will be strong applicants rejected because they fail to reach the current cut-off threshold of an abilities test.
• There will be strong applicants rejected because they don’t have a credit grade average.
• There will be strong applicants who withdraw because they decide they don’t want to spend an hour plus completing assessments.

Don't let the process cause you to reject strong candidates.


Employer Feedback from AAGE Round Tables

March 2021

  • Virtual assessment centres are here to stay. Cost, effectiveness and efficiency are the key benefits.
  • Females appear to perform better in virtual assessment centres.
  • While most employers are commencing grad program advertising in line with the past, some notable employers like Westpac and AMP are starting later.
  • Students are back on campus. But there’s a proportion who are continuing to attend classes online.
  • Employer attendance at in-person AAGE round tables is markedly down.
  • Career fairs. There was no consistent direction among employers. There’s a mix between in-person and virtual and the question of just how many fairs to participate in. There are some employer reports that virtual career fair technology isn’t that user-friendly.
  • The Australian Government Graduate Program starts advertising March 9. It means students complete a single application to be considered by most Federal Government agencies. Agencies are keen to see how that translates to the quality and quantity of the candidates they see.



Why Competition for Graduates in 2021 Will be a Lot Tougher

February 2021 

For the past two years, the AAGE graduate employer survey has reported the top two challenges employers face as competition for graduates and achieving diversity targets.

In 2021, it’s likely that competition is going to get tougher. A lot tougher. Why? Fewer international students.

Net immigration (of all people) to Australia is forecast to be negative in 2021 by 72,000 people. That contrasts to the previous high inflow of 300,000. International students will be a significant part of that equation.

Not every employer hires students without permanent residency or citizenship. But a sizeable proportion do, including corporates, professional services firms, small businesses and even the NSW government.

Those employers will now need to increase sourcing from the local student market and that will drive up competition.

Competition for graduates will be greater, even more so for interns and work experience students.

So what can graduate employers do now in preparation?
1. Ensure that marketing plans (career fairs, advertising, online events, campus activities etc) have the reach to create broad awareness, with content stimulating excitement and interest in the organisation.
2. Make the candidate experience positive. That starts with the first interaction with an employer, through to the online application, assessment stages and job offer. The notion that an assessment process that’s time consuming, with too many stages, won’t deter students who are really keen on the organisation, will be tested this year.
3. When you do receive applications to your program, don’t throw out strong applicants because of the way you assess. This has to be the biggest opportunity for employers.

It’s like the panning for gold analogy. A miner may have one or two obvious gold nuggets in the pan. But smaller nuggets are harder to see when they’re mixed up in the gravel. The miner doesn’t have enough time to look that closely, so they’re missed and thrown back into the stream. But it was still gold, right there at the fingertips of the miner.


Workstream Preferences Made Easy

January 2021

Using GradSift, employers can now offer an unlimited number of roles or workstreams from which students can select their top three preferences.

There are different ways an employer can use this new feature.

For example, a consumer goods company may have roles in Sales, Marketing, Finance & Accounting, HR, Manufacturing, Supply Chain and ICT. When their students register with GradSift profile they select their top three preferences. That makes it so much easier for the employer to manage and balance shortlists for each work stream.

But another way to use the feature is where roles are located in different geographic regions.

Take an engineering example in Queensland where there are Civil Engineering roles in regional locations as well as major cities. Preferences can be set for Civil - Rockhampton, Civil - Emerald, Civil - Gold Coast, Civil - Sunshine Coast and Civil - Brisbane metro. Naturally that can be replicated for other disciplines and locations.

An employer can receive all of their applications into one Gradsift program and then use student preferences (first, second or even third preference) to achieve the best matches to geographic locations. That has to make life easier!


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