Graduate Recruitment

by : Toby Marshall

But how we bring graduates into the corporate world doesn’t recognise or allow for these changes - the result is a big waste of money and a lot of pain.The smart kids, the ones who now do 4 or 5 year degrees, used to leave school and most started work immediately - joining the corporate world was all about part-time study. You started at the bottom with filing, copying and running errands and you were given an afternoon off to go to lectures. After a year or so you were put into a real job. If you didn’t like it, most just put up with it and worked hard to get a promotion or moved to somewhere better.In the 1970s and 1980s, the smartest kids went straight to University in much greater numbers, with most doing 3 or 4 year degrees. Again, most of them joined a firm when they graduated and stayed there for years. It was what everybody did.Since the 1990s, more of the best students study full-time for 4 or 5 years AND now have large loans to the government that have to be repaid. Not getting these kids solid exposure to the corporate world much earlier in their lives, and then into the right job causes the waste.The usual Graduate Program shoves unprepared kids with few survival skills into the deep end - though a better analogy would be shoving them into a wild river with some scary rapids!Under our current system we isolate them from ‘grown up’ work until they are quite old - at least 21 and usually 2 years older. Then they start a job which has an absurdly high chance of failure.When they quit or need to be sacked, companies excuse the failure with “it’s just Gen Y, they won’t stick in a job".Rubbish.Professionals in recruitment know that if a new job involves too many changes from what a person used to do, there is a high risk of failure. What sort of factors combine to create failure in a new job and are present in most roles for new Graduates?1. A totally new job role, one they have no experience with.2. Change how they work: go from a part-time role with VERY flexible hours to full time for 40++ hours.3. Change them from a small organisation to a very large one (remember big firms are where most of the best grads go).4. Have them join a new, totally alien culture in a VERY different tribe that has lots of unspoken rules on how to behave.Mix all these obstacles up in the swirling rapids, and then add three other problems to the mix:1. The best grads have been told since chidhood how good they were; how special. Makes it hard when they discover the things they have been learning and what they know is not much practical use at Big Company. And that they are now just one of many. Can lead to dummy spits!2. They are determined to prove how good they are. They’ve waited a long time for this. They have big debtsFeature Articles, they are in a hurry. Too big a hurry. Dummy spit.3. They have often chosen the wrong company and even the wrong career – see to see why wrong choices are so common.Is this all down to Gen Y being greedy and unreliable? No. Just to much of the corporate world having blinkers on.The best way to avoid dummy spits is the SMARTS program. It gets the best students exposure to the real world earlier. They learn some skills and learn what they want to do in the future. Companies avoid the HUGE losses of high graduate turnover.It really is Smart – you can Know/Act/Profit first by going to and learn what innovative companies are doing.This is the last in the series on Graduate Recruitment: From next week we address the role of recruitment firms and how to get value from them - their role is NOT just about finding candidates fast.