By Ollie Tarrant
At 11:10pm on Tuesday 26th September, I received a message from Rebecca (six days before I was due to start working at Gradconsult) inviting me to the launch conference of the Small Graduate Recruiters Club (SGRC). I was eager to impress my new (apparently nocturnal) boss, and to understand more about the field I was going into. The following morning, not quite knowing what to expect, I arrived at the Chimney House in Sheffield’s Kelham Island. After meeting with six of my soon-to-be Gradconsult colleagues, as well as some local businesses people from Sheffield and further afield, the day began. The plan of the day was explained, with talks throughout the day showcasing Gradconsult’s insight and knowledge of different aspects of graduate recruitment.
Rebecca delivered several talks throughout the day, including how to measure ROI from your graduate employees, and how to beat the larger corporate companies in attracting quality talent to your small/medium sized business. The techniques and suggestions were very interesting, and as a recent graduate myself, proved particularly refreshing in the face of the rhetoric offered by larger corporate companies. The audience also seemed to respond well to the idea of deliberately differentiating themselves from the larger graduate schemes. Rebecca’s unicorn dance was also a particular highlight!
Similarly, Kylie ran two workshops on how to attract graduates through better job advertisements, and how to provide structure to your graduate learning and development, which were again both very well received. I found it useful, as a recent graduate, to find out how my progress would be mapped, and the employers gained a greater understanding of how to better retain their graduates.
Gabi and Kerry also led sessions on working with universities to increase the publicity of SME vacancies, and on designing assessment centres and work-based tasks. The “relevant, interesting and practical” information gave the participants lots to take back to their respective businesses.
We were also treated to an amusing and data-packed talk by the statistician magician Charlie Ball, on how South Yorkshire fits into the wider graduate labour market in the UK. Some of the data proved fascinating, and helped to change a few of my own misconceptions surrounding graduate salaries, and the companies, sectors and locations in which they work. The audience ranked it as the joint most useful session, and it allowed them to better understand and identify where to look for suitable graduates for their businesses.
The day finished with some final remarks from Rebecca, after which we headed to the nearby Craft and Dough, where prosecco and beer fuelled some more (and some less!) astute chit-chat about the best bits of the day, and the take-aways for the businesses. We were delighted to receive a 9.25/10 average rating for the day overall, and some great comments from the attendees.
“Really enjoyed it and was everything I was hoping to learn about. Would like to hear about future events”
“[I] learnt a lot of information that I can report back to my manager/business leaders. [It] will also help with my own research, studies and development in my own role.”
“Good contacts/quality of delegates”
“Whatever Rebecca is on, I want some!”
The SGRC will be holding more conferences, sessions and events in the near future, so to register your interest in the club, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you soon!