Graduate recruitment schemes: what many HR leaders don’t know

Content Team

High-performing graduate recruitment schemes address skills shortages. They also build a talent pipeline.

In this environment, candidates not only gain a foothold into employment, but often accelerate their skills development through specialist training.

Employers, meanwhile, can readily develop and shape early-career talent. Because these candidates are likely to be more junior, they tend to be highly teachable and less likely to be ingrained with ‘bad habits’ from previous environments.

But what should HR leaders consider when designing a successful graduate programme? We spoke with RPO operations manager Jared Massey about how to design a successful graduate scheme.

Jared and his team have helped manage the development of new grad programmes for key clients, including one of the world’s leading food manufacturers, 2 Sisters Food Group.

Impressively, the 2 Sisters Food Group account has been nominated a finalist in the In-house Recruitment Awards 2019, in the Apprenticeship or School Leaver Campaign category. So, there’s much to take away from this team’s advice on how to create a successful graduate recruitment scheme.

Designing a top graduate recruitment scheme

From the start, says Jared, it’s important to recognise that a grad programme should not just be led by HR. The programme is designed to nurture talent throughout the business. With that in mind, all business units should help shape and define the project’s end goal.

However, the recruitment team should help inform and advise the process.

“That is why an RPO is so beneficial,” Jared says. “Generally speaking, we can reach out to all sorts of expertise, helping ensure the business has relevant, specialist knowledge at each step.”

Business leaders should also establish which job functions show the biggest need for graduate talent.

Jared Massey
Jared Massey, Hudson RPO operations manager, reveals how to design a high-performing graduate scheme.

A strong grad programme will also offer:

  • A clear career path
  • Slick, appealing application processes
  • Intellectually challenging opportunities
  • A compelling employer value proposition (EVP)

A strong EVP will serve as the foundation for your employer branding. Get this piece right, to keep candidates engaged throughout the process.

And don’t forget, selection criteria should always be fit for purpose.

Go about all these things in the right way, and you’re more likely to keep the right audience tuned in to the opportunity.

Measuring the success of a graduate programme

As your programme runs, observe the level of interest shown by your target market. To measure the success of a graduate scheme, Jared recommends you evaluate:

  • Process times and feedback on quality
  • Candidate satisfaction, from all applicants
  • Graduate career trajectories

These kinds of schemes represent investments for key business areas, as well as graduates themselves. So, as you report back on the programme’s performance, be prepared to provide ongoing reporting into future years of graduate development.

For example, Jared recommends you report on graduate career progression up to five years after graduates enter your programme.

Featured grad programme: 2 Sisters Food Group

One of our key clients, 2 Sisters Food Group, recently launched a new graduate recruitment scheme in Finance. Jared and his team are helping recruit talented grads into the programme.

Graduates rotate through three placements, each lasting a year. The placements include:

  • Management accounting and reporting
  • Business partnering
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Group finance
  • Shared services
  • Internal audit
  • Tax and treasury
2 Sisters Food Group logo

Arsalan Khan is a group reporting systems accountant at 2 Sisters. As a grad scheme participant, Arsalan said he has felt “more like a member of the 2 Sisters family, rather than an employee”.

Arsalan explained: “The graduate scheme at 2 Sisters has opened so many doors for me. It has enabled me to not only work for a market leader but has supported me through my studies and personal life.”

Click here to learn more about the 2 Sisters Food Group graduate scheme.

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

Related articles

Download our Latest Guide