Graduate Attraction Strategies

Often graduate employers and managers are so focused on their selection and retention strategies (which, don’t get me wrong, are both critical to the success of any good graduate program) that they can forget their attraction or marketing strategies. As graduate employers, we must ask ourselves: how can we select the best and brightest graduates, if we have failed to ATTRACT them in the first place?

With the average marketing campaign costing organisations over $35,000*, it is alarming that only 35%* of graduate employers have a formal written attraction plan or strategy. How can you make your Graduate Program stand out from the rest if you are not marketing it in the right manner?

Attraction tips/ checklist:

Prior to applications opening

  • Check your ROI on previous marketing/ sourcing channels – how can you allocate your attraction budget if you don’t know what the return on each of your past channels is? If you are spending $6,000 on print advertising, but only 3% of overall applications are being sourced from a costly print ad, is it really worth the outlay?
  • Create a formal Attraction Strategy, taking into consideration past ROI figures. This will ensure that you spend your limited budget wisely.
  • Create your GVP (Graduate Value Proposition).
  • Engage creative agencies – Not all agencies cost a fortune, and you would be surprised with what can be achieved on a limited budget.
  • Customize your application form to accurately capture sourcing data. Each year, update your application form to include only the sources used during the current campaign.
  • Fusion recommends using online marketing channels: GradConnection, CareerHub, and your organisation’s Graduate website as these tend to be the three main digital sourcing channels that generate the greatest ROI.
  • Be transparent with your marketing – ensure that what you are advertising is a true representation of your organisation and your Graduate Program.
  • Be aware that setting up a new program will cost more to establish your brand, however over time as only minor updates are needed, ROI will increase.
  • Think about your messaging: How many organisations are offering grads a “Future Leaders Program”.
  • Target the specific graduates you want, not everyone!

While applications are open:

  • Engage your organisation: Put up posters, send weekly organisation-wide emails and posts about your Graduate Program on your internal intranet; you never know who has an amazing neighbour or second cousin’s best friend! Graduates who hear firsthand about your program are far more likely to apply.
  • Manage your social media: Post weekly “Don’t forget to apply” reminders on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • Create a Whirlpool thread and MANAGE it for the entirety of your campaign – Just like your graduate inbox, have an organisation representative monitoring Whirlpool for potentially brand damaging comments. A past HR graduate is ideal as they can relate to the experience and excite potential applicants by sharing their experiences.
  • Monitor your incoming applications weekly by stream, diversity and sourcing channel. If you notice that applications for a stream are down or lacking females, for instance, then talk to GradConnection. They have the ability to target email their database of over 180,000 registered students. They can get as specific as to send out an EDM to all female IT students currently registered in Victoria with an email about your program

During selection and post offer:

  • Practice good candidate care: 98% of your applicants will not be successful in securing a position at your organisation; many of them will have spent several hours filling out lengthy application forms. It is my tip to ensure all communications are timely, respectful and whenever possible, offer candidates personalised feedback on their performance at Assessment Centres and Interviews. You never know who they might tell about their experiences with your organisation!

Relying on your brand name isn’t enough anymore. Graduates are more tech savvy, driven and motivated to secure graduate positions than ever before. Marketing and attraction strategies should never be static; instead the best attraction campaigns are innovative and ever evolving -just like your organisation!

* AAGE Survey 2015