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Latest Employer News from GradSift

August 2022


' I've Never Seen a Graduate 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.  

There’s no doubt virtual or hybrid study and work environments have been a contributing factor. We’ve all seen an increase in students not turning up at physical events, especially if they could attend virtually or watch a recorded version. For some students there’s a real desire to attend in-person events. But the overall numbers compared to pre-Covid are around 50% lower. It’s because they can decide how to use their time.

The way students treat the employer recruitment process has changed. An observation by university careers advisors is that job application protocols between the applicant and employer have suffered. With a power shift to applicants, they’re focusing on their own needs. 

Aside from employers reporting much lower application numbers they have experienced candidates dropping out at every stage of the recruitment process. If a student is genuinely interested in an organisation they are following through on their applications. For other programs where they’re kind of interested, they drop out if their chances are looking stronger elsewhere. They don’t need as many back-up options.

Employers have been forced to send out multiple reminders to students to complete their applications or assessment stages. This dynamic is a complete reversal from when students would chase up an employer to find out how their application was progressing.

One employer reported they asked their applicants to complete a psychometric assessment stage. 40% didn’t bother! That is a massive shrink in the pool of applicants. Of course, we all want to know was that a reaction to the assessment itself, the time involved, or disinterest in the employer?

In our last newsletter we talked about trying a different approach when employers go back to market. One suggestion was   
"Try an inclusive process to screen applicants in. Many employers use psychometric assessments to initially screen out applicants."

Well, it looks like the tables have turned and those 40% of applicants have used the psychometric assessment (requirement) to screen out the employer! 

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.  

Graduate Recruitment Automation

Unemployment levels are still extraordinarily low. In face of the ongoing challenges to find the right people, organisations are turning to automation. They're replacing low value work performed by employees with technology, freeing up staff to contribute at a more meaningful level.

Automation is inevitable and the opportunities are there in graduate recruitment. I mean, who really thinks sifting through a thousand resumes or watching 500 videos is a good use of a professional's time? 

Historically, employers aim to hire experienced graduate recruiters or train and develop inexperienced recruiters. Both have their own set of challenges.

The former is being able to find experienced recruiters in such a tight market. That applies to employers hiring their own recruiters or those using an RPO provider.

While for those new to graduate recruitment which represents more than 80% of recruiters, what suffers is candidate diversity. Whether they're a new employee or a temporary staffer it comes from sticking to a stereotype of the type of candidates shortlisted, overlooking otherwise strong candidates and potentially allowing unintentional bias to creep in.

GradSift of course is an automation solution. A robust shortlisting platform that automatically identifies the top applicants. It's a huge time saver in resume reviews and a huge cost saving compared to psychometric assessment


Case Study: Whole-of-Government Graduate Recruitment

Graduate recruitment teams spend a lot of time and money to process applicants through multiple assessments arriving at their shortlists. For government employers, that includes merit pools. Yet, when it comes to sharing relevant candidate information with managers traditional HRIS aren’t that effective. That’s especially when large numbers of applicants are involved. 

GradSift was tasked by a Government client to devise a solution to this problem. The client was responsible for whole-of-government graduate recruitment for a key discipline. It meant that more than 30 government agencies would be hiring from a central pool of applicants.

The client needed a simple system to share relevant candidate information with each agency. Yet it had to be easy and intuitive for hiring managers to navigate and decide who to interview.

The solution was GradSift Extra.

It works in two parts. Firstly, the coordinating Program Manager used GradSift to automatically screen and rank applicants across 15 roles.

Secondly, the agency hiring managers each had their own GradSift Extra portal. They could freely manipulate the data and rate and contact candidates without affecting anyone else.  

For each role, the available candidate information was:

  • Ranked visualisation of a candidate’s background for academics, work experiences and extra-curricular achievements.
  • Recorded video
  • Documents (resume, transcripts etc)
  • Contact details
  • Candidate status updated by the Program Manager (available, hired, withdrawn etc).

Here is what the portal looks like for an agency.


They could narrow down the results by applying filters:

  • Location of the role 
  • Candidate’s first, second or even third role preference
  • Gender
  • Diversity
  • Foreign languages
  • Technical skills
  • Current/past employer.

Within several days of the program application closing time, agency hiring managers were able to start their selection and interview process. It proved a great success.

GradSift Extra is an ideal solution for 

  • Whole-of-government graduate recruitment
  • Employers with small recruitment teams but many hiring managers/roles
  • Talent pools or expressions of interest.  

We're doing a 30 minute webinar walk through of GradSift Extra, Friday Aug 26. 12pm to 12.30pm AET. 
You're welcome to join. Add it to your diary.


Market Updates


Employer Feedback: How GradSift Helps Diversity

Recently had a GradSift demo session with a prospective client. I was sharing how a Federal Government employer used GradSift to improve the socio-economic diversity of their graduate hires.

The Federal Government employer had said “historically, it seems we attract mostly ANU students who did an Arts / Law degree”. While that was an exaggeration they recognised the need for a more inclusive shortlisting approach. In particular, to proactively consider students from regional universities. After all, not all the best students have the opportunity to attend the top universities.

Using GradSift, their recruiters could easily identify students by regional universities. From that they included the top ranked regional candidates to go to assessment centres.

As I told the story, one of the managers in the demo session stopped me and said “my sister was a beneficiary of that”. The sister who had attended a regional university had applied to that Federal Government employer. She was shortlisted and subsequently hired.

What a fantastic example of how employers use GradSift to improve diversity! Also great when doing a demo!

New Graduate On-Boarding Automation

We've heard of large employers using on-boarding software to automate the new employee process. Enboard was cited several times  It’s used for any level of new employee, not just graduates.

EY (USA) Hires 12,000 students

EY (USA) recently requested a GradSift demo. They hire 12,000 students annually.

So what’s their shortlisting process? They use their ATS to filter for basics like working rights and location. Then, it’s a team of people who manually review each resume! You can see why they wanted to learn about GradSift.  


Trigger Events

A trigger event is something that brings to the forefront recognition of the need to change. Trigger events can happen due to a change in the dynamics of a marketplace, competitor activity, new technology, environmental, economic changes and more. Inflation, recession and the Covid pandemic are examples of trigger events that lead to change. 

In graduate recruitment we have experienced our own trigger event this year. The marketplace shift in power to students is causing employers to rethink their graduate recruitment strategy. Everything from what they offer to students, when and how to go to market, candidate experience, the type and number of assessment stages and overcoming reneges.  

In the past graduate recruitment has been typified by employers largely maintaining the status quo. There’s always safety in that. But after a trigger event holding the status quo will only makes things worse. 

Some employers will say it’s just the market. We can’t control it and after all everyone has had the same experience.

But there will be many who recognise the need to change and take a more candidate centric approach next year. 

It’s time for a rethink. As a starter, I’d be asking for structured feedback from applicants. From their perspective what should the employer keep doing, stop doing and change in their graduate recruitment strategy. There’s a lot more to be done but it’s right to start with the candidates.



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