Judith Broughton of Peterborough's Anne Corder Recruitment says work ethic is more important than experience when hiring graduates

When it comes to hiring graduates, employers say they favour work ethic over work experience when looking for their next student recruit.

By Paul Grinnell
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 4:07 pm

Almost three quarters (69 per cent) of respondents to a poll conducted by Anne Corder Recruitment said work ethic and personal ability ranked way above work experience when it came to offering the job.

Transferable skills (31 per cent) were also favoured – with work experience scoring 0 in the online survey.

It’s pleasing to see employers are recognising that work experience has been affected in the last couple of years, meaning young people may not have been able to gain part time jobs in the retail or leisure sector for example, or through voluntary placements in their chosen fields.

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Judith Broughton, recruitment partner with Peterborough's Anne Corder Recruitment, says employers tend to value a graduate's work ethic above work experience.

But we know that graduates bring some incredibly positive benefits to the workplace; they are eager to start their first ‘proper’ job, have fresh ideas and new talents to offer an employer, come with a willingness to learn and are filled with enthusiasm.

Employers are shifting the emphasis when it comes to traits they are looking for when recruiting for their next graduate role, which in turn will help with retaining enthusiastic young talent.

So, with students now well and truly into exam mode, it’s time for employers to start thinking about how they can engage top graduate talent – to bridge any gap in their workforce, offering an internship or filling a fulltime position.

More and more employers are turning to graduate recruitment to feed the talent within their organisation or business.

If you are one of them, here are some tips to ensure you attract the right candidate for your role:

It’s crucial you put together a competitive package. Advertising the right salary is critical but also consider factors like local variations in salary and any work experience of individual candidates.

Look at the benefits package you’re offering too. As their first step on the career ladder, graduates often look for placements offering exciting opportunities that expand their experience. Can you offer a chance to travel; additional training to boost their skills, or a great employee benefits scheme?

Many employers look towards graduates to bring new skill sets into their business. With this generation of graduates being extremely digitally savvy, it could, for example, provide an opportunity for your organisation to plug digital skills gaps. Could graduate recruitment be one way of bringing these skills you’re your business?

With that in mind, make sure you use digital channels to attract and engage graduates. Use social media to promote the opportunities and ensure application information can be easily viewed via a mobile device.

When it comes to short-listing and interviewing graduates, really drill down into skills and characteristics. A can-do attitude is often top of the list for many of our clients when they begin their graduate recruitment.

Look at your hiring process too. Many employers will adopt a different approach when it comes to graduate recruitment. Consider having a tiered system, with recruitment days, presentations, interviews and assessments.

Make sure that you review any working from home or remote working policy; with less people tied to commuting and being office-based, you may be missing out on the huge pool of untapped talent.