According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) there are nearly one million new graduates each year. Tens of thousands of these will be entering the job market, eager to find the best jobs to suit their newly certified skills and up-to-date industry knowledge. Smart startup CEOs will be doing everything they can to attract these graduates to positions at their companies.
Why attracting graduates is worth your while
While the triumphs of a few high profile university dropouts—think Mark Zuckerberg and Uber founder Travis Kalanick— prove that you don’t need a degree to be successful, there are a huge number of ways graduates can benefit start-ups.
On the more obvious side of things, a graduate who studied in your field of business has a guaranteed academic knowledge of the industry. And, with an increasing number of degree courses focused on teaching vocational skills, many graduates also step out of university halls with a lot of practical skills they could use to help your company.
Computer science degrees, for example, give graduates a comprehensive range of skills needed for a career in the industry. Even more vocational degrees, such as PR management, are becoming extremely popular. This may, in part, be due to the fact that many students leave university anxious that they will never clear their £27,000+ tuition debt unless they study directly for a job.
Thanks to this trend, graduates are more equipped than ever to help steer your startup towards success. They tend to need less training than non-graduates and will come to the table with a lot to offer already.
On the less obvious side of things, graduates from non-vocational degrees, or from courses which are not so closely related to your business industry, will also be able to offer a huge amount. The skills these graduates have developed are often highly transferable and highly desirable. Time management, the ability carry out research projects, and a diligent work ethic are just a few examples.
Even the knowledge a graduate has picked up from degrees like History could help with your startup’s business strategy and creative direction. New, untested ideas are what startup culture is all about after all.
How you can attract graduates to your startup
It’s clear that hiring graduates can really help a business, but with so many giant companies courting graduate workers, what can you do to stand out?
The Job Advert: The first step to hiring graduates is getting them to apply, and that means writing a job ad that appeals to graduate sensibilities. Management Today has a list of six tips for writing job ads. The most important of these steps when it comes to attracting graduates is making sure the advert reflects your company culture accurately, this way graduates will get a feel for the company.
When trying to appeal to graduates from the millennial generation, it is also important that your job ad stresses the opportunities candidates have to progress within the company. According to a survey published in the Harvard Business Review, the most important thing millennials look for in a job is “opportunity to advance and grow”. The flexibility of most startups puts you in good stead for this.
The Interview: While officially it is the candidate who is being interviewed, a job interview also places pressure on the interviewer to ensure that their workplace and vacancy appeals to the applicant.
It is very likely that the graduates you interview will be applying for several different jobs at once, and may end up with multiple job offers. Because of this, it is possible that they will turn your job offer down. When advising employers on how to hire graduates, graduate recruitment firm Instant Impact highlight the fact that:
“Every graduate wants to work for a company where people are prioritised over process. As such, it’s important that every potential employee has a top-notch experience with you from the moment they arrive in your offices, to the moment they leave.”
Make sure your business comes across as a friendly, welcoming place to work and remember that both parties need to win each other over.