Originally published in Issue 1 (Autumn 2017) of 'The Student Employer' Magazine by ISE.
If you’re new to the world of student recruitment I’m here to give you a great big welcome. You have joined an innovative, collaborative and fun sector at an exciting time. And I can say that as someone who has worked in it for 17 years!
Every year seems to bring new challenges (apprentice levy anyone?), exciting technological developments (AI and virtual reality – eek) and a deeper understanding of the important role our profession plays within people’s lives (candidate experience, fight for feedback and filling the void in school careers provision). Yet amongst all this complexity, change and innovation, there are a few simple things you can do to really learn about the sector quickly and make an impact from year one.
Here I share those top tips for anyone new to the industry……
1. Ask about the business case.
Why are you bringing entry talent in and what problems are the business trying to address? It’s only when you know this that you can really deliver.
2. Don’t just accept your target list of Universities.
These can often be based on history and tradition rather than current evidence and data. There are lots of good reasons to interrogate and question that list and whether they are still the most effective places for you to target.
3. Become a data geek!
Use the AGR data dashboard, surveys and HESA to really understand the broad labour market trends and the facts around your target market. This allows you to become the expert in your business and make evidence-based recommendations.
4. Build your professional network.
There are loads of conferences, regional networking events, sector focus groups, training courses, breakfast seminars and research launches to attend across the year. Go to as many as you can and make connections across the sector – you’ll learn so much and be able to offer your business sector knowledge/insight as a result.
5. Make the most of your suppliers.
Many suppliers have been in the sector for years, have amazing networks, great experience, research and insight to offer you. Asking for their advice and ideas will not only give you the benefit of their experience but also strengthen your working relationship.
6. Use your early talent ‘army’.
Early careers jobs can be big, busy and complex – you will often find you need to be in three places at once. To address this make the most of your extended team; your interns, students, graduates, graduate alumni in the business and graduate sponsors. They can help you with talks, on campus events, recruitment and more.
7. Get to know careers colleagues.
They have excellent knowledge about their students, subjects, academics, campus/colleges, what your competitors are up to, any institutional priorities or projects (that you could benefit from) and what is most likely to work well for you. Asking for and using their expertise to tailor your on-campus activity can have a massive impact.
If you’ve found these tips helpful you might also like the ‘Accelerate your first year in graduate recruitment’ one-day course run by ISE (2018 dates TBC). It’s packed full of current market data and trends, best practice approaches to graduate recruitment and is of course a great way to build your network. I hope to meet you either on the course, or at an event, sometime soon and once more welcome to the wonderful world of student recruitment!