Widening the net for good graduates

by 28 Nov 2006

Q. Finding suitably qualified and skilled graduates is becoming increasingly challenging and competitive. We have traditionally used academic results to shortlist the best candidates from a large pool of graduate applications. What other methods can we use to ensure we are capturing the top candidates, without increasing time-to-hire?

HR manager, legal services firm

A. To identify the best candidates efficiently and consistently, you may need to move beyond relying on academic scores as your sole method of selection. Research has shown academic scores are not the best predictor of performance as these results only represent one dimension of what it takes to succeed in the job.

For greater insight into graduates’ potential and how well they are suited to the organisation, employers need to identify what they want in an employee beyond academic results. Does the candidate have the ability to perform the core responsibilities of the role? Will they be motivated by the role and values of the organisation? Do they have the right ‘cultural fit’ for the organisation? By using a combination of ability tests, personality questionnaires and structured behavioural interviews more information can be obtained that can help answer these questions.

As organisations battle for the best graduates in today’s competitive recruitment market, it is important to make the recruitment process as swift as possible. However, when an employer is faced with 50-plus applications for every graduate position available, sifting through CVs to assess each candidate’s suitability can become a long, expensive and inefficient process.

Many organisations are now moving components of their process online. This enables graduates from all areas to complete ability tests and personality assessments without having to travel to a specific location. It also allows employers to progress shortlisted candidates onto the next selection stage much faster, therefore speeding up the process towards a swift and successful job offer.

While some employers may have had some concerns about the security of internet-based testing, the latest technology reduces the possibility of cheating and delivers reliable results. Developing a rigorous and consistent selection strategy will ensure the organisation recruits graduates with the ability to do the job – and with the right ‘cultural fit’– more efficiently and effectively.

By Sarah Kearney, SHL managing director, www.shl.com.au