Tapping into graduate talent

The need for high calibre staff is more vital than ever in today’s economy. In this guest post Caspar Bartington, relationship manager at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), discusses how firms can tap into up-and-coming talent at universities.

For a business to thrive, managers need to think carefully about how they are going to attract and recruit staff. One of the best ways to ensure a steady intake of talent is by forging links with students who have yet to decide what career path to take. Many undergraduates will already be thinking about full-time employment in the first two years of university and working out their options. So, how do you reach them?

Traditional university career fairs can be a good place to start. Display stands and enthusiastic staff who can talk about their experiences of the application process are ideal.

Many students will be happy to relocate for the right opportunity, so if you can travel to different locations, do so – it’s best to cast your net as wide as possible.

Even if you don’t have a formal graduate scheme, if you are recruiting regularly it’s vital to maintain links with the undergraduates you meet so that when a position does crop up you’ll have a good portfolio of possible candidates to draw upon.

It’s worth exploring opportunities where you can interact with students on a more regular basis. Simply Business does this very well, hosting workshops and CV clinics to help students prepare for the future. These activities are of high value to forward-thinking students and make your company memorable for the right reasons.

At the CII we encourage our members to get involved with our university events and Discover Risk activity in schools and colleges. The latter is an interactive game that introduces students to the insurance industry through various character-based scenarios. By giving just a few hours to support the activity, insurance practitioners get the chance to meet students and educate them on some of the key decisions they’re required to make on a daily basis. The links made from an event like this can prove invaluable if you take the time to foster them.

Looking longer term, community engagement projects work well by allowing you to raise your profile as an employer. Simply Business is a partner of ‘Rise To’, a student members club specifically focused on engaging with enterprising students. Working closely with students means you’re able to forge concrete relationships, help them develop business skills and be front-of-mind when they do start looking for that all-important first job.

Laura Haycock, recruitment manager at Simply Business, says: “We believe that top graduates with drive and ambition are the future of our business and will play a pivotal role in achieving our goals. Additionally, we want to share our knowledge and expertise by mentoring students both through the ‘Rise To’ challenge and their time at university.

“Our university connections offer undergraduates something that not only benefits them but our company too. These activities allow us to scout out and build relationships with budding stars, helping them to develop their business skills, creativity and entrepreneurship and ultimately positioning ourselves as an attractive and progressive employer.”