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Graduate Recruitment Insights & News

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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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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. ????

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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".   

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Graduate Programs: Achieving Socio-Economic Diversity

December 2020

As employers prepare for next year’s graduate and intern recruitment, many are looking for ways to increase the socio-economic diversity of their hires.

When it comes to diversity, everyone understands the organisational benefits. New perspectives and different ways of thinking; creativity from a variety of approaches; employee performance and sense of inclusion; and organisation performance including higher profitability for commercial organisations.

At the graduate level, graduates from a lower socio-economic status often bring a real resilience learnt from dealing with ambiguity and overcoming obstacles and challenges on their own.

The area where graduate employers face difficulty is achieving greater socio-economic diversity.  Read what employers are doing to resolve this.

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