College Grads, Employers, and the Recruitment Disconnect

For recent college grads and potential employers, the recruitment process can be a stressful one. One expert offers tips for associations to up their recruitment game and attract fresh talent.

Recent college graduates are growing frustrated with employer recruitment practices, according to a recent study by U.K.-based assessment firm Talent Q. In particular, they cite misleading job descriptions, rude or condescending interviewers, and a lack of feedback as hallmarks of their experience.

Of the more than 500 recent grads and current undergraduates surveyed, only 45 percent said they were satisfied with their recruitment experience, while 11 percent said it was so negative that they would be unlikely to use the prospective employer’s products or services in the future.

For Peter Weddle, executive director of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, associations should take note of those findings and look to improve their recruitment practices to better serve the entire job-seeker pool.

For recent grads, that means taking a customized approach to recruitment. “Part of the angst that recent college graduates are feeling is that they look at themselves as just one of this huge undifferentiated mass of individuals who apply to a particular position,” said Weddle, author of The Career Fitness Workbook: How to Find, Win & Hang Onto the Job of Your Dreams. “The very first thing that an association can do is to try to signal to recent college graduates that you don’t see them as a generic candidate by setting up a special channel on their website where the content is tailored to recent college graduates.”

For example, Weddle suggests getting away from the standard requirements-and-responsibilities format for job postings.

“Try to write a job posting that deals with what recent college graduates want to know about an opportunity,” he said. “They want to know the answer to five questions: What will they get to do? What will they get to accomplish? What will they get to learn? With whom will they get to work? And how will they be rewarded for their contribution? In essence, you’re talking about the requirements and responsibilities, but you’re talking about those things in the language of the recent college graduate, not in the language of employers, and that makes a big difference.”

But an online resource for prospective young applicants should be more than generic job postings page, Weddle added. It should focus on issues that matter to recent grads—things like the kinds of benefits that they might be interested in and the types of emotions that they might be feeling during the process—and even provide information to help them better manage their careers. “Those kinds of things, even if the person never applies for a job there, they accrue to that association’s brand, and that has real viral value,” he said.

The tools employers use to communicate with the younger generation can make a difference as well.

“It’s not a complete change yet, but we’re well along the way to communicating with a very different platform among recent college graduates,” Weddle said. “The majority of employers, when they set up job alerts with interested parties, send those job alerts out via email, and then they’re astonished when they get no reply back. I think that that’s indicative of a trend away from email and toward text messaging.”

A tailored recruitment process will improve the way recent grads view your association, said Weddle: “With a good brand, people are going to start coming to you, rather than you having to go out and beat on doors.”


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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