Graduate Profiling: Part Two

In last month’s edition of Fuse, we introduced success profiling: the rationale behind it, and how we might approach establishing one. This month, we delve a little further into the process and methodology behind profiling, and present the results of our brand new research: revealing exactly which behavioural preferences appear to be helping graduates succeed in securing graduate roles.

Profiling in Recruitment

Now that we’ve grasped the concept of a success profile, how do we go about actually leveraging it in recruitment?

With the success profile already defined, the recruitment stage focuses on assessing graduates against the created success profile using the customised range of assessments in a streamlined recruitment process. Each stage of the process is carefully designed and mapped to assess the required critical success factors multiple times. Graduates’ results at each stage of the recruitment process are ranked against the success profile. This enables organisations to easily identify graduates who are the strongest fit with their business (and consequently, the most likely to succeed). Key to recruitment success is a targeted, customised interview guide for use at the final stage of selection. This provides an interviewer with probing questions that target strength/development areas or ‘gaps’ against the success profile. Questions are different for each candidate, and are an extension of the standardised interview guide based on the success profile.

Profiling in Development

Once we’ve used the success profile to recruit the best talent for our business, we then have the ability to use the profile (along with the behavioural results of our recruited graduates) to inform the design of a customised development program.

Establishing a profile of the recruited graduates provides in-depth insights into the quality of the intake, the culture that graduates are likely to drive, and their potential environmental enhancers and inhibitors. It also makes it easy to identify the group’s areas of strength and development, highlighting performance ‘gaps’ that need to be addressed. The result of this phase drives the design and delivery of a customised group-wide development program. It also provides each graduate with an individual development plan that can be incorporated into their ongoing performance discussions with their manager. Development profiling begins post recruitment and involves the analysis of group-wide assessment data to identify an overall graduate profile. During this stage, the assessment results are compared to the previously defined success profile to determine the development needs of the graduates at both a group and individual level.

Hot off the press… Introducing our latest research findings!

At Fusion, we strive to push the boundaries of innovation, and add value to the industry by driving best practice initiatives that truly make a difference. We have therefore recently completed a cutting-edge research study, aiming to ascertain whether there are differences in behavioural preferences between graduates who successfully receive graduate offers, and graduates who do not.

Given that we recruit large volumes of graduates across a broad range of industries, we are fortunate to be in a rare position of having access to over 500 pieces of individual graduate behavioural data. Why not make the most of it?

We analysed the behavioural results of 538 candidates who reached the final stages of various graduate recruitment processes: of these, 149 ultimately received a graduate offer, and 389 did not.

The mean (average) results of these two groups on a behavioural assessment (Talent Q Dimensions) are depicted below.


This analysis revealed three key differences between our two groups. On average, graduates who received offers scored more highly on the behavioural preferences of Communicative, Influencing, and Socially Confident, than those graduates who did not receive offers – irrespective of discipline, or of the particular type of graduate role.

This finding suggests that these three behavioural preferences are important for success: success here meaning securing a graduate position with an organisation that is committed to developing future leaders. In terms of preparing graduates for the recruitment process, it would be beneficial to emphasise the importance of these competencies. Even if a graduate has a low natural preference for ‘Communicative’ (i.e. communicating openly with others, working within a team), they may need to learn how to manage this area more effectively, and find a way (that they are comfortable with) to interact openly with others – in order to maximise their chances of securing a graduate position.

Interestingly, these three preferences all fall within the domain of People and Relationships; indicating that regardless of the industry, interpersonal skills are considered to be critical to success as a future leader. It is unsurprising that both groups scored very highly for Analytical and Methodical; this is a theme that we frequently see emerging in graduate data. It suggests that graduates are emerging from university equipped with excellent analytical and technical competence, but (from their own perspective) have a weaker preference for interpersonal and influencing-related behavioural competencies. Consequently, these are often the areas first addressed in a customised development program.