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New research highlights issues in the Graduate Assessment process – Here are some questions you should ask yourselves.


Three quarters of graduates rely on internships as a source of careers advice, according to research carried out by graduate recruitment experts Milkround in collaboration with global digital recruiting technology company TMP Worldwide.  The report delves into four main topics; volumes and the speculative applicant, diversity and inclusion, assessing for potential vs. for capability, and technology to drive efficiencies, candidate experience, and brand differentiation.  Based on some of the key findings of the research, we’ve drawn out some questions you should be asking yourself when it comes to your graduate assessment process.

Over half of the respondents who had been rejected during the recruitment process were not given feedback on how to develop

How do you engage with your past, present and future interns?

Feedback is an essential part of the graduate recruitment process.  This is particularly important for this talent pool because they have a limited frame of reference as they have little or no experience in the work place.  This is also critical for your employer brand, as for many of your graduate candidates, this may be the first interaction they have had with your brand, so first impressions really count.

Organisations need to provide feedback at every stage of the process, whether or not a candidate is successful.  Constructive feedback will be particularly useful to unsuccessful candidates, as it will provide them with a solid foundation for improvement when applying to other employers.  They will perceive you as an employer who helped their career progression, not hindered it.  That’s a powerful message for candidates to take away with them. Feedback after rejection, after success and after the internship will create an alumni of interns and promote you as an organisation that supports and grows career progression.


Employers should make the most of their candidate pool by recruiting for both potential and capability

Do you do enough to assess for potential?

A lot of organisations design their assessment processes to assess the 7% of active agents who know the sector and stream they want to work in.  The other 93% (reinforced by our research) don’t know what they want to do, who they want to work with and don’t have the self awareness to answer typical assessment questions with any real conviction due to a lack of understanding or experience.

Career innocents may be put off by a process that is focused around their passion for working in a particular sector or stream, when their primary motivator at this stage of their career is keeping their options open because they don’t yet know what they’re good at.  This is where utilising only a capability model to assess graduates comes unstuck.  When interviewing candidates with little or no experience, focusing on capability alone will narrow your candidate pool and potentially leave you with a group of interns that aren’t fit for purpose and don’t meet diversity and inclusion objectives.  By introducing assessment for potential as well as capability, this allows you to predict future behaviour, learning ability, resilience and all round cultural fit.  You should then be able to appoint candidates on the basis of their future potential, meaning decreased attrition because you’ve gained an in depth understanding of the candidate and you can predict where in your organisation they will flourish.


Resilience and Understanding Ambiguity were the least understood of all workplace skills

Are you helping graduates understand these more generic workplace skills in advance of the assessment process?

Our research showed that transferable workplace skills such as team working and critical thinking are misunderstood by graduates due to a lack of experience.  Resilience and understanding ambiguity were the least understood of all workplace skills.  Therefore, employers need to work with candidates to help them build their understanding of these skills before the assessment process, so they are better able to demonstrate these skills in a relevant manner. Looking at options like training webinars in advance of the process, or a practice run through with constructive feedback may help develop a candidate’s knowledge and understanding so they are better able to perform in an assessment centre and you gain a more realistic view of whether the candidate actually possess the skills you’re looking for.



For more information contact Jayne Cullen, Head of Entry Level Talent.

Posted Friday 11 November 2016

Category: Graduate, Assessment

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