Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

WCN Breakfast Seminar Address the Future of Graduate Recruitment

Online engagement and strong brand awareness were heralded as key elements of successful graduate recruitment at a recent London event, hosted by WCN e-Recruitment, the leading UK and global e-Recruitment software provider

Online engagement and strong brand awareness were heralded as key elements of successful graduate recruitment at a recent London event, hosted by WCN e-Recruitment, the leading UK and global e-Recruitment software provider.

The event, aimed at graduate heads, was packed with over 70 attendees from the likes of JP Morgan, M&G Investments, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group all wanting to gain insight into the future of graduate recruitment.

Felicity Brindle, Vice President of EMEA Head of Campus Recruiting, at BlackRock, and Bjorn Wigeman, Head of Business Development, at Potentialpark, shared their views on the shift towards a more candidate-driven market, and how adapting processes and tools puts you ahead of your competitors.

Brindle stated: “BlackRock has streamlined the whole candidate experience. Three and a half years ago most graduates thought we were just about investment, and didn’t understand our whole career offering. To change this we’ve streamlined our processes into six graduate employment sectors – Client business, Investment, Analysis and risk, Technology, Advisory and strategy, and Corporate – across all 72 departments globally. This has enabled BlackRock to create targeted applications, which graduates can actually resonate with. The impact has been huge, for the first time people understand what we are all about, meaning we could hire on potential talent, as well qualified talent, creating a wider and more diverse talent pool.” 

BlackRock also observed that a more virtual approach was needed including webinars, online interaction during the recruitment process and video interviewing. “Candidates seem to prefer a virtual recruiting process, remarked Brindle. “Pre-recorded interviews have become the largest part of the process, and candidates seem to like it as they can add some ‘colour’ to their CV!”

Potentialpark, who researches between 15,000 and 30,000 candidates each year across Europe, revealed graduate candidates are becoming increasingly irritated with ‘job searches’, because many feel they have certain skills that cross over numerous different sectors, restricting their desired reach.

Wigeman explained: “We have found during our research that 47% of Generation Y candidates have given up on an application form, while 84% stated they would spend more time on an application form if it made more sense to them. There is a strong theme developing, that candidates feel that applying for a job should be a ‘fun’ experience, not time heavy and surrounded in confusion.

Companies need to have the candidate in mind and cater the website towards the needs of those you are targeting. Graduates want to connect with real people, hear the voice of the employees at the organisation, and see the authenticity of the brand. 56% of candidates prefer an employer blog than a recruiter blog. The recruitment process should be two way road of clear communication.”

Also speaking at the event was Jeanette Maister, Managing Director of WCN – US, who made it clear that recruiters need to move away from outdated tools, such as Excel, Survey Monkey and Word in favour of new online technologies and social media. These new methods will help attract and identify top graduate talent, allowing ‘key matches’ to be obtained during the screening process, leaving the most desirable candidates.

“The recruitment industry will always innovate, but today the biggest tool is using your data to your advantage, allowing it to rank applicants, check diversity levels and analyse where the best candidates can be found. Be open to change or be left behind,” concluded Maister.

Charles Hipps, CEO and Founder of WCN, brought the event to a close: “There has been a revolution in online communications. We have moved from mobile to social and onto video so quickly and for the first time we witnessed a ‘Computing Intelligence’ pass the Turing Test, highlighting the importance of Big Data. In a recent study, a computer could more accurately predict the subject’s personality than a work colleague by analysing just 10 Likes; more than a friend or a roommate with 70, a family member with 150, and a spouse with 300 Likes.

“If we can be better at collating and interpreting this online data, who knows where the recruitment industry can move to and how fast we will get there. The clouds really are the limit!”