Recently there have been a number of reports stating the difficulty that employers are having when it comes to filling graduate roles. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by recruiters and the Cohesion Graduate Recruitment Team has certainly seen a change in the market over recent years.

The AGR did predict a rise in the number of roles available from 2013-2014 and it seems that their estimates were credible. But what can employers do to ensure that there is interest in their graduate roles and schemes?

Graduates are becoming more sophisticated, no longer will a pen and free key ring gain you, well, anything! Graduates want more and this may be in terms of good freebies but they are also looking for the perfect job, in the perfect company and so selling “you” is becoming ever more vital.

A crucial element of graduate recruitment is starting early. It is difficult to succeed without solid foundations, and as any building needs a solid base, the interest of graduates needs to be attained at the earliest possible stage.  It’s not about trotting into a class full of final year students with some jelly beans and car stickers, it’s about playing the long game, putting the time in and ensuring that first year graduates know about you and the opportunities you have. Brand awareness is the new free key ring!

Companies such as Thales are already putting this in to practice and visiting students in their first year of University. What could be a better way of gaining their attention? They know who you are instantly, they know about your graduate scheme and there is a sense of familiarity almost 3 years before they begin looking for their first job after graduating.

Do you get to know your graduates? Here at Cohesion we are committed to frequently engaging with our candidates. Whether that be via an email, a prep call or an SMS, we are constantly connecting with them and creating a two way relationship which enables them to talk to us as much as we talk to them!

We are using technology to our advantage, we recently hosted a very successful Twitter Q&A campaign which enabled us to instantly connect and engage with candidates.

Whilst this was hugely beneficial to the recruitment process, we cannot forget that the power is in the people and whilst technology is only going to get more important (98% of graduates apply online for a job), don’t forget how valuable a phone call can be or an on campus student ambassador who can shout about how great you are.

Graduates are gaining power. They know that 23% of employers had unfilled vacancies in 2013-2014. They know we want them, and they know we will work hard to get them on board. As the pool of graduates gets tighter, competition rises and attracting graduates will be an ever increasing challenge.

We aren’t going to be left behind, are you?