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Graduate Recruitment Insights & News

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May 2023

Gen Z Insights

Social Media Platforms

Here’s a great webinar presented by a US Gen Z early careers influencer, Jade Walters.

Interestingly, she says that if you only posted on two platforms, they should be LinkedIn and Tik Tok. The reason she recommends LinkedIn is because students use it to learn about careers, employers and career paths.

Instagram came in third because “it’s in decline”. Note – Facebook never even had a mention.

Gen Z Recruitment Process Compatibility

We know that Gen Z wants a simpler recruitment process, with fewer steps and less time commitment.

So it’s great to see some employers embracing that. We’ve recently seen employers do away with assessment steps like psychometric assessments, video interviews and assessment centres.

They have been replaced with less time intensive assessments and more interview time.

The old funnel process of "online application, multiple psychometric assessments and video interview" before any personal contact is starting to look outdated.


Mary Scott is a US graduate recruitment expert who conducts regular research into students and their recruitment experiences.

Her most recent findings identify a key differentiator of graduate employers and their opportunities. It's how students are treated during their job search and recruitment process. She defined that as how effective the overall process was and the relationship (the impression) built between the student and employer.

When students were asked what made an employer both impressive and effective, the answer was “They made me believe they were interested in ME”.

The most impressive and effective employer was rated as high as 8.7 out of 10, while the low end scored 4.1.

While there are multiple factors that influence the rating, a key is the skill level of the front-line employer representatives (graduate recruiters, hiring managers etc).

For many people, being a relationship builder (meeting new people and quickly building rapport and trust) doesn't come naturally. They might be good at the transactional elements of the recruitment process. But do they have the relationship skills that students want to see?


April 2023

Chasing Up Applicants

Career fairs have just finished. Employers have invested considerable resources to attract, sell to and build relationships with students. In such a competitive market, the waiting game now makes for a tense time for employers. Will they attract enough of the strongest candidates? Has the expression of interest generated quality candidates? Will student enthusiasm wane for employers who don’t open applications until mid-year?

If there is one truth in this market, employers cannot afford to sit back and hope for the best. If a candidate has applied or registered their interest with your organisation, you need to follow up.

Students need to be prompted and reminded.

Last year we all witnessed students dropping out of the recruitment process at various stages. Remember the employer who lost 40% of their applicants because they didn’t want to complete a 90 minutes battery of psychometric assessments?

It’s no different this year. Already we’ve seen clients find 25% of their applicants started but did not complete the assessment process. But with multiple follow ups, a combination of automations and old-school email and text, that reduced to less than 5%. That’s an impressive result and is in line with the historical proportion of applicants who simply change their mind about an employer.

But the message is this. Be prepared to work hard and chase applicants to complete each assessment stage. Most will respond. It’s the generation we’re now dealing with.


March 2023

An Inconvenient Truth

Hiring managers are crying out for candidates for their graduate and intern roles. HR says we can’t find them. The likely truth is they’re already in the company’s system. 

When it comes to screening and shortlisting for high volume intern and graduate roles, we know it’s an imperfect process. So many applications, not enough resources and shortlisting tools with their own shortcomings. It’s inevitable that strong candidates get rejected. 

But does it need to be that way? We take a look at where potential student hires are slipping through the cracks. 

You can start with manual resume review skimming. That’s where a recruiter makes a quick reject decision on superficial data, without a full resume review. (The worst example is when it's based on the candidate's name).

There’s the risk of unconscious bias, especially with inexperienced recruiters who lack proper training. About 60% of student recruiters are new to their role. Often they’re adhering to a cookie-cutter screening format. A strong candidate falls outside that and they’re an immediate no. It carries over to phone screening interviews and video assessments.   

But there’s also the intentional bias used by employers. Some choose to target specific universities. Or reject applicants because of their grades without considering any other factors.

Psychometric assessments
Psychometric assessments do reject strong candidates. Of course they have their place in candidate evaluation but they’re far from perfect. Yet there are recruiters who justify their decision to reject applicants as if the assessment result is absolute and without consideration of any other candidate data.
Unfortunately, strong candidates who’ve previously been unsuccessful in psychometric assessment may self-select and opt-out altogether from applying to another employer using that assessment.

Using technology to search for key words in a resume or the transcript of a recorded video interview. Some students are coached in key word resume stuffing to beat the algorithm.

But what about those candidates who don’t play the game? Or those who are unaware that key words matter for some AI based interview assessments? Or whether the algorithm recognizes gender word preference? For example, two students both on the same leadership committee. One describes their role as a leadership role, the other a committee member.

The reality is that strong candidates are being missed.

Recorded video 
It does save time for a recruiter. But in student recruitment with hundreds of videos to watch, there is a really big temptation for short-cuts.

How to rationalize rejecting a candidate after only fifteen seconds of the video. 

  • An untidy room in the background
  • Low lighting
  • Their outfit isn’t interview appropriate
  • They’re reading from a script
  • They mess up the first question.

These are all real reasons given by graduate recruiters. All without knowing the circumstances of the candidate. Or without the benefit of an experienced recruiter rephrasing a question to help the candidate perform at their best.

You know if it was a real interview some of those candidates would make it through to meet the hiring manager and be offered a role.

Assessment criteria
Then there are the assessment and selection criteria used by recruiters to shortlist candidates. Yet at times hiring managers place little value on those assessments and would prefer to use alternative criteria they consider more relevant to their role.

For example,

  • An Australian tax partner from a global accounting firm was repeatedly frustrated with the shortlisted candidates he received from the internal recruiters. He resorted to personally reviewing resumes of candidates who were close but missed HR’s shortlist. It was from that group he selected candidates to interview and subsequently hire.
  • In another organization HR stopped using psychometric assessments to screen candidates. At the completion of their graduate campaign they found they hired 32% more candidates from their applicant pool. Managers subsequently told HR they never considered the psychometric assessment results in their hiring decisions. They valued other candidate data.
  • Or in the highly competitive market for technology students, an employer hired a remarkable 21% of their applicant pool. How? HR provided hiring managers with access to all of the candidate information. Each manager had the flexibility to decide which selection criteria was most important for their role and then choose who to interview. It was recognising that "one size" does not fit all.

Application window
Finally, we can’t ignore an inflexible recruitment process. One that won’t consider strong candidates who for whatever reasons, missed the application closing date. More lost potential hires.

That's why there's a shift for employers to reopen applications after the main recruitment campaign closes.

The point is, which we all acknowledge under our breath:

There are really strong candidates managers would hire, if given the chance. 

Most times those candidates are already in the system. But they're rejected along the way.

It’s because of an historical recruitment process designed for a candidate-rich market, that trade-offs good hiring outcomes for process efficiency.

Some organisations have got it right. But for most it leaves their hiring managers (the internal customers of HR) still crying out for candidates to fill their roles.

They just need to look.


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.


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