Grovelands co-founder and director David Leen shares his advice on graduate recruitment, and how to best prepare and motivate a team of graduates.
David Leen is one of Grovelands’ co-founders and directors, and has over 20 years of experience working in the recruitment industry. Here he shares his advice for building an organisation from the bottom up, as well as what to expect from graduate hires.
I have worked for a number of great organisations over the years; ones that have won awards, were the number one in their field, and/or had an enviable reputation. From a recruitment perspective this made the attraction of experienced candidates a little easier, as a lot of the engagement and wooing was already done for me.
However in establishing Grovelands in 2009, we had none of those benefits, so experienced people were unlikely to beat a path to our door. We made the decision to ‘grow our own’ and scoured the local universities for the best talent. This served us well at the time and has continued to be a wonderful way to hire great people at an early stage of their career. Six years down the line we have a more balanced business as experienced candidates now want to come and work for us.
We’ve noticed that post the financial crisis, firms have either reduced or stopped graduate recruitment; and it’s only in the last year that they have dusted it off and tried to kick-start this area of recruitment again. However, it can take time to create momentum, so here are my top 5 tips to win the hearts and minds of graduates;
- 1. At interview, do reiterate the downsides and limitations of your organisation and the job, do this a lot. Sometimes people only hear what they want to hear
- 2. Make sure you have a clear development plan for your new intake of graduates. On the job training is great, but what about qualifications and further investment in them? Review their performance, ask how they are doing, and do this a lot
- 3. Don’t deposit a load of graduates on some poor, unsuspecting line manager. I met with a large firm recently who did just that. 30 graduates ‘gifted’ to 4 line managers. Not surprisingly, they weren’t made to feel welcome or got the best induction. Involve your line team from the start, and maybe start small with a pilot project not a big bang
- 4. Expect some churn! Oddly, 21 and 22 year olds often don’t know what they want to do in life. Some will decide they want to travel, or go back and get that Masters degree they always hankered after
- 5. Lastly, and this takes effort, ensure there is a good social scene. Here at Grovelands, we have annual summer and Christmas parties, beach volleyball throughout the summer, multiple five-a-side football leagues, T20 cricket evenings, quiz nights, treasure hunt evenings, and Thursday night drinks. We even started a short-lived book club. It all helps to build a great vibe across the firm.
Graduates can make a fantastic addition to a company, and the response and returns will more than pay for the investment in time, effort, money and resources.
For more information on hiring and incorporating graduates into your team, feel free to get in touch with a member of our specialist graduate recruitment department.