Competition for the best graduates set to increase

Holding out for a great graduate next year? Don’t delay. While the 2009 graduate recruitment season will likely see less program places on offer, there will be a dramatic increase in competition for the top 5% of graduates

Holding out for a great graduate next year? Don’t delay. While the 2009 graduate recruitment season will likely see less program places on offer, there will be a dramatic increase in competition for the top 5% of graduates.

Eric Wilson, SHL’s director of professional services, Australia and New Zealand, warns that after years of growth, organisations now need to re-think how they will secure the best graduates who display “resilience” and will be able to hit the ground running.

Wilson says “resilient” employees are goal-orientated, professional, productive and contribute to the overall performance and profitability of a business.

“An employee that can accept, overcome and cope with change such as mergers and acquisitions and staff cut-backs, is the type of employee that you want on your side now,” he says.

The major challenge facing employers is securing the top graduates before their competition. “The search for the ideal candidate has become an even bigger ball-game for recruiters and businesses. With more graduates chasing fewer positions, the hunt will become harder for the candidates employers want; with more noise from the candidates that employers don’t want,” says Wilson.

He says hiring resilient graduates will not only improve staff retention, but generate better business productivity and performance in the long-term. “Taking on graduates who demonstrate strong initiative and leadership potential will help build resilience within a team and across an organisation,” he says.

Wilson says in times of slowing demand, organisations cannot afford to make hiring decisions based only on gut instinct or academic results. A recruitment process that incorporates objective assessment tools will ensure employers can identify high potential candidates that are best suited to the position and will become a productive contributor to the business faster.

He also says that in the current economic climate, graduates may be nervous about their job prospects and with fewer positions available even the best graduates may be pouncing on the first offer. “Organisations must ensure processes are smooth and speedy from the moment a graduate application is received to make sure they get the graduates they want before their competitors,” he says.

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