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6 ways to make a good first impression on graduate candidates in job advertisements

Nora Blackie
6 Sept 2021

They say first impressions count, and for employers looking to impress graduate candidates that is definitely true.

When it comes to hiring for graduate roles, there’s always a good chance that a job advertisement is the first time a candidate will have heard of your company.

Even household name brands need to treat their approach to graduate career engagement as a fresh start, because while a candidate might know what you do, they won’t necessarily know who you are as a company.

That being the case, you’re going to want to make a great first impression to ensure that you don’t fall at the first hurdle.

Below are 6 steps you can take to get off on the right foot with graduate candidates in your job advertisements.

1. Be jargon-free

In a past GradTouch survey, we found that 74% of graduates prefer it when a company is more outgoing in its job advertisements.

Swap the buzzwords and the business jargon for open and accessible language that reflects your brand. Not only does it help to encourage transparency between you and the candidate, but it also helps the most engaged of them to align their applications with your tone of voice – which means better quality applications for you!

2. Talk about more than just the job

By all means, run through all the day-to-day responsibilities of a job, but don’t forget to include some insight into your company’s culture, its values, where it’s going and what an average day would look like in the role.

Majority of graduates would rather work at a company they believe is perfect for them than get a “dream job” at a company they do not really like, so it’s in your interest to provide insight into more than just the job you’re hiring for.

3. Be consistent

Make sure that whatever you say in your job advertisements reflects what you’ve said on your company’s website and its social media channels.

85% of graduates investigate what your company is like immediately after seeing a job they are interested in or just before applying, so if things aren’t adding up then that great first impression will be forgotten about.

4. Take a stand

Young people, particularly Gen-Z, are acutely tuned-in to brands and their social responsibility. Over 60% of graduates want to know about a company’s commitment to sustainability, for example. Another 70% of them are interested in how inclusive and diverse a company is.

Jump off the fence when it comes to important social issues and earn candidates’ respect by standing with them. Don’t forget to provide evidence of what you’re doing in response to an issue, so that it doesn’t just seem like you’re saying something for the sake of it.

5. Share stories of your graduate employees

A really simple, but really effective way to inspire graduates to want to apply to your jobs is to show them what’s happened to graduates who’ve joined you in previous years. This is particularly important if it’s females you want to engage with more, as a past study we carried out shows that career progression is one of the most important things to them when looking into jobs.

Ask your current employees for some testimonials about their graduate journey into your company and where their career is headed now, and drop these into your job advertisements as a way of supporting the promises you make regarding what candidates can expect from the role.

6. Drop the C-bomb

And by that we mean don’t beat around the Coronavirus bush. For young people at the start of their career, COVID-19 has caused much anxiety for the future. They’re concerned about whether jobs will still be available, whether those jobs will last, and whether they’ll ever actually get to meet their colleagues in person.

Honesty will be very well-received by students and recent graduates who’ve dealt with a lot of disruption of late, and are considerably more adaptable and resilient for it. Let them know how you plan to proceed with the role in the face of the pandemic to provide reassurance, establish trust and build realistic expectations.

06-09-2021Nora Blackie

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