The Risks of Outsourcing Graduate Recruitment

3 min read

We talked to Clodagh Bannigan - Global Service Delivery Director at Morgan McKinley Group. Clodagh has over 20 years experience in graduate recruitment and other international Emerging Talent programmes for Graduates, MBA, Apprentices and Interns.


Question:  Why would companies outsource their graduate recruitment?


Answer: Over the years I’ve worked with many companies in the UK, Ireland and across APAC that were either starting or have outsourced their graduate recruitment. The most common reason an organisation would turn towards outsourcing is due to the lack of in-house expertise in the area of attracting and recruiting graduates or due to insufficient resources to scale and flex their operations for a short period of time. I have worked with employers that would outsource graduate recruitment simply to improve either their processes or candidates’ and hiring managers’ experience. 


Q: What do you think is the key to addressing all these challenges?


A: The key to addressing the challenges related to recruiting for graduate programs is selecting a trusted recruitment partner - one that has a strong track record of delivery and demonstrates a good understanding of your company’s goals, structure, roles, brand and culture. Afterall, the graduate recruitment partner represents your employer brand in a very socially connected community.

Q: What are the benefits of outsourcing the graduate recruitment?

A: The list of benefits is long:

  • Through outsourcing you’re gaining access to expertise you may not have in-house.
  • It allows for higher flexibility which means being able to quickly scale up operations to identify the best graduates faster than your competitors.
  • Outsourced graduate recruitment teams should become an extension of your own Talent Acquisition teams, so they’re closer to your brand and more involved in the overall process.
  • A well-trained and experienced graduate team will be highly responsive to your candidates ensuring all candidates have a positive experience despite the outcome .
  • A good outsourced partner will always measure their outputs, therefore supporting your Return on Investments.  For example tracking applications and report on the performance - identifying where you make your hires from.



Q: As good as that sounds, there must be some risks that should be considered before one decides to go down the outsourcing route. What do you think they are?


A: First of all, the supplier may not fully understand your objectives and this lack of clarity could result in dissatisfaction and unachieved goals. To avoid this, make sure that all elements of the recruitment process are discussed (no matter how obvious they might sound) and agreed in advance. It’s crucial to make sure that all expectations are clear and agreed up front.

If any of the elements of the process is neglected, it will have a negative impact on your employer brand. A good supplier should be proactive - foresee and minimise any risks in advance.

In some cases, the grad recruitment outsourcing could mean a lack of control over the overall process. To avoid this is to clearly establish scope of services and clear hand-offs for your outsourcing partner.


All these possible risks have to be considered.


Q: If you could give our readers one piece of advice, what would that be?


A: Whether you should or shouldn’t outsource your graduate recruitment will ultimately come down to your own needs and available resources. However, should you choose to  outsource it, make sure to never outsource the final decision to hire. This is one element of the process that should always be handled by you and your company. 

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