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What graduates want to know about your company

When applying for roles, graduates have certain criteria. Discover what you need to include in your recruitment campaigns to attract top talent.

When developing a recruitment campaign, it’s important to consider what information graduates want to know about the company. Whether writing a job description, or updating the careers page on a website, having insights into a graduate’s mindset can increase the number of suitable candidates that apply for a role.

In order to attract top graduates, companies should think about their recruitment campaigns as a two-way interaction. Anticipating what questions graduates might have about a role can help recruiters and hiring managers develop an attractive recruitment package that stands out from the competition.

Let’s take a closer look at what graduates want to know about a company before they apply for a role:

Learning and development opportunities

According to our research, 31% of Gen Z say that learning new skills is the biggest sign of progression. What’s more, 29% would leave their role to be able to develop new skills and 23% would leave to accelerate their career progression.

When applying for roles, graduates want to see a clear career path. If they can’t see a future with a company, they won’t stick around for long. Or they won’t apply in the first place. An effective recruitment campaign needs to address learning and development opportunities by clearly outlining where a role could lead in the future.

Companies should also consider including case studies as part of their recruitment campaigns to showcase how current employees have grown within the business.

In some sectors, companies offer ‘job swap’ or secondment opportunities where employees can work in a different department for a limited period. From a graduate’s perspective, this can help them better understand what everyone in the company does and provide them with an insight into how their career might develop with the company.

E-commerce company Etsy, has a clearly defined career path for its engineers and even provides a detailed explanation of how its career progression plan was built. Similarly, crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, provides a detailed overview of how its engineers might progress in the company depending on their role and career aspirations.

Flexible working policy

According to Milkround’s research, one-fifth of Gen Z look for flexible working when applying for roles. And post COVID-19, we expect flexible working to be just as high on a graduate’s wish list.

Not only does flexible working reduce stress, make graduates happier and more productive, it provides a better work-life balance. Having flexibility over working hours enables graduates to manage their workload around their lifestyle and other commitments, like childcare, for example.

What’s more, according to research by Gartner, organisations that embrace flexible working increase employee retention rates by 10%. Having a flexible working policy could help graduates visualise themselves working in a role over the long-term.

When developing recruitment material, companies should list flexible working as a benefit of a role, if it’s offered. Flexible working is fast becoming the norm across all industries and companies that don’t have it as a policy will likely lose out to the competition.

Company culture

Graduates also see company culture as an important consideration when applying for roles. Company culture can be broadly defined as the values associated with the business in relation to its processes and policies. In simple terms, a company’s culture is about how it behaves. And since behaviour impacts perception, it plays an important role in a graduate’s decision-making process.

Companies can attract more graduates to apply for roles by ensuring that their values and goals align with graduates’ expectations. For example, onboarding and training programmes can give graduates an insight into a company’s history and vision and provide essential context for daily activities.

Having a well-defined culture can help graduates visualise what it will be like to work for a company and help them decide whether they can add value. For example, a business with an open culture might encourage its employees to share information and ideas freely. This could demonstrate to graduates that the company is caring and has a genuine interest in the wellbeing and progression of its employees.

It’s also important for companies to showcase their diversity and inclusion efforts. Milkround’s latest research Beyond the Buzzword reveals that 34% of students and graduates say they would consider how committed a company is to diversity and inclusion before applying.

66% of students and graduates believe not enough companies employ a truly diverse workforce and 81% of students and graduates don’t think companies are doing enough to ensure they are. What’s more, 81% of students and graduates think nepotism is a factor when it comes to who is offered the job, compared to only 6% of HR decision makers.

Compensation and benefits

In order to attract top graduates, companies need to stand out from the competition and sweeten the deal with an impressive benefits package.

According to a recent report published by Employee Benefits, other than flexible working, the most common benefits offered by companies in the UK are retail or leisure discounts (62%), extra holidays for long service (55%), enhanced parental leave (54%) and legal advice or counselling (43%).

To be seen as a desirable company to work for, recruiters and hiring managers should highlight any unique perks that graduates won’t find elsewhere, particularly in relation to lifestyle. For example, a free childcare service, wearable technology, or fitness and meditation classes could be the icing on the cake for sought-after graduates.

As part of its benefits package, fintech company Curve gives every member of staff £75 per month as a health and wellbeing budget. They also provide an unlimited book budget, where employees can buy as many books as they want, on the condition that they can be shared with colleagues.