There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to graduate programs (recruitment process in particular). A very common example of this is the amount of energy and effort spent on students having a killer cover letter and CV – when really, many employers would shortlist almost solely on the basis of an online application form in the first instance.
Based on findings generated from the 2015 AAGE Employer Survey, here is some evidence to support what I am trying to say:
20 – the median number of graduate job vacancies in 2015*. This number has varied year on year and can be affected by things like the economic climate, however that’s a lot of graduate positions across the country every year.
1450 – the median number of total applications received*. It’s a lot right? Keeping in mind that this is the median. There are some large employers who would expect in excess of 7000-8000 applications and while their intake numbers would be relatively higher than others, it is why students need to be right on top of their game!
53% – the number of vacation (or internship) program participants offered graduate positions*. This is probably the most common unknown fact, especially for students. For an employer, there are so many reasons why you recruit graduates from your vacation program pool and then go to market for the balance of graduates that you require. It’s why vacation (or internship) programs are such a critical pathway for students.
90% – the number of employers who use an Online Application form*. As I mentioned earlier, this fact is largely unknown or ignored when advising students on how to prepare. So quickly we revert to “the critical tools you need to apply to a graduate program are a good cover letter and CV”. While you will almost always need these documents to apply, they are secondary to the initial online application form in most cases. The reason? What employer would embark on reviewing 2000 or 3000 individual cover letters and CVs (which are subjective anyway)? They want answers to questions that they can weight and measure when comparing an applicant pool. Students need to be acutely aware of this.
88% – the number of employers who use behavioural based interviews as part of their recruitment process*. Nearly 9 out of 10 employers – even though this number is very high, it is probably not really a surprise for most people. The scary part of this is the amount of student groups I come across where such a small minority actually know what a behavioural interview is and understand the STAR interview theory. Food for thought.
So whether we are in a position of influence in advising students on how best to prepare for the graduate recruitment process or even if we are a student ourselves, it is important to be aware of what is happening out there in the market. The difference could be your dream job.
(*Statistics courtesy of the 2015 AAGE Employer Survey)