How to recruit graduates and retain them for your growing business

Published · 3 min read

Universities are constantly pushing students and graduates to try to gain work opportunities at small and medium-sized businesses, with the notion being that large corporate graduate schemes aren’t the only path available. This provides a great opportunity for businesses to recruit graduates, giving you access to talent that is screaming out for the chance to learn, excel and grow alongside your company.

Here, I will break down how you can recruit graduates and then retain them to benefit both their career growth and your business.

How do I recruit graduates?

You can go about this from a variety of angles but if you follow these tips, you will be able to cover a lot of ground, expose your business to the right people and hopefully draw in some budding talent.

Work with your local institutions

Universities and colleges that offer higher education courses often have dedicated careers departments that would jump at the chance to have a local business offer graduate positions and internships. There is also typically some funding involved for taking on a graduate too.

Be active on social media

This is going to have other benefits outside of graduate recruitment but even just showing you are active on Facebook as a minimum is going to benefit when someone searches for your business on the platform.

It’s not a case of creating social media accounts for every platform that you don’t intend to use well or at all, as this will probably have the opposite effect. It’s a way to show what your company does and let people have a window into your business.

This can come in the form of photos, videos and blogs. Don’t be afraid to get creative – perhaps let a student run your social media and online presence to ensure it’s genuine and relevant too.

Don’t be afraid to use recruiters

When it comes to hiring the right people, if you have the resource, recruitment companies can be useful in helping you to find certain graduates. Certain industries have an abundance of graduates waiting to join your business so using external parties may not be needed.

However, something such as web technologies has a distinct shortage across the UK, so getting some help in isn’t a bad idea if you are struggling with graduate recruitment.

Once you've recruited graduates, you'll want to retain them
Once you’ve recruited graduates, you’ll want to retain them

How can I retain graduates in my growing business?

The next step that comes from hiring graduates is allowing them to flourish at your business and encouraging them to stay with you for as long as possible. It’s an educational and developmental experience for both parties.

Utilise digital nativism of graduates

Most graduates now fall under the category of “digital natives”, meaning they’ve been surrounded with developing technology for the whole of their lives. Stereotypically, this means they are competent with social media, online tools and software.

Make the most of this. It will not only relieve any technological burden from yourself, but their digital insight will be incredibly useful in developing your online presence or internal software systems. On top of this, it provides tasks for graduates to do in down time in an area they are naturally comfortable with.

Focus on experiences

In their first role after university, graduates are looking for as much information, experience and potential to excel as best as they possibly can. Your business can be the launch pad for the rest of their career. Recent research suggests that current graduates aren’t moving jobs any quicker than the previous generation but it is important when focusing on retention to focus on experiences.

What does this mean exactly? You should encourage your graduates to get involved with as many parts of the business as they can. They may be set on working in one particular area but it’s beneficial for everyone if they try everything.

Sales, marketing, supply chain, human resources, admin, anything. They may find they are better at another role than they thought they were – and this could benefit your business too.

No matter how small these departments may be, from one person to a few in each, the opportunity is still the same. Graduates want to learn from someone who has the experience, individuals who can offer them insight they could not access on their course. Hands-on learning allows graduates to tap into their potential and you to tap into their developing skills.

What steps is your business taking to recruit and retain graduates? Let us know in the comments below.

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