How to increase the volume and quality of graduate programme applications significantly!

4 min read

A common challenge for many organisations is the lack of suitable applicants for their graduate programmes. Take a look at our 3 tips to increase the volume and quality of graduate applications!

As more organisations are introducing graduate programmes, the competition for hiring top graduate talent has increased while the volume of applications has actually decreased. Coupled with this challenge is the expectation of Gen Z candidates for a diverse work environment, technology, instant interaction, personalisation as well as positive employer branding.

The current generation of graduates look for many of the above when they assess their employment options post university and so the need to meet these requirements cannot be overlooked when building a successful graduate campaign.


Here are 3 tips to help increase the volume and quality of graduate programme applications.


1. Utilise your social media and blogs

The current generation of graduates spend upwards of 36 hours online per week. The majority of their browsing is done through their smart-phone and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Companies leveraging these platforms as part of their graduate campaigns stand to access more graduates than through traditional advertising on job boards or through printed media. Furthermore, this approach can help meet the expectations of this new generation of Gen Z graduates.

Creating and using content on blogs, websites and social media sites like ‘FB’ and ‘Insta’, is a perfect way to build up a positive brand image. 44% of graduates have stated that a lack of knowledge of a company will prevent them from applying. Using videos and blogs of past graduate programme employees or current employees/management all from different backgrounds (finance, accounting, engineering, HR etc) is a great way to illustrate the company’s values, the benefits & experience of working with the company as well as demonstrating diversity. It also keeps the experience engaging, visual & personal which is a must for many graduates.


2. Give control to the current graduate programme

Another approach that can be taken is giving current graduate employees license to take over the social media sites for a period of time to give a “grads-eye” view of what working within the company is like for them. This will give an honest representation of what to expect while working there and also shows off the office which is another plus! This can help reduce any misconceptions about the company as well as minimising the amount of possible “drop offs” in the process for graduates reviewing these programmes.

There is an immediate benefit from this. Not only does it create a positive brand image and encourage diversity, it also increases the likelihood that friends of graduates who may still be in education or within the same course will interact with and share the video or blog posts. This creates greater traction, reaches more of your target audience and encourages them to apply themselves.


3. Application process and careers sites - make it simpler, make it personal, make it flexible

For many graduates, the recruitment drive occurs when they are at their busiest and often at times when they’re most stressed. Coming to the end of their studies, exams, assignments and the pressure to find a job pile up and it’s of benefit to the organisation to make the application process simpler, personal and flexible.

A good way of doing this is to simplify the application process, which essentially means make it shorter! Graduates do not feel like they have the time to spend 30+ minutes to tailor a CV, write a cover letter, fill out the steps of a lengthy application form on a difficult to navigate careers site. Focus on the data you need only and look for that. Keep it far shorter, explain the application process and make it personal to them. This will provide the graduate with a clear understanding of what’s involved as well as keeping them engaged throughout the process and more importantly should result in them applying for your programme.

Finally, when a graduate applies or sends a query in relation to the programme, it’s important to reply as soon as possible with a personalised response. Creating a positive relationship between the organisation and the candidate is not only a good idea in terms of keeping the candidate in the process but it also makes it far more likely that the candidate will post positive reviews about your company. This can only lead to a greater number of applications in the future.


If you’d like to find out more about graduate recruitment outsourcing, please fill in this form and one of our consultants will reach out to you to schedule an informal chat.

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