How to prepare for a changing graduate recruitment process

Written by Jenny Sloan, Careers Consultant at The Careers Service

Whether you’ve just started your graduate job search, or you’re getting back on the bandwagon after your post-uni plans have fallen through, it’s important to recognise that in response to COVID-19, employers have adapted their graduation selection methods and processes. In fact, as the situation continues to change, graduate recruitment practices will continue to evolve. 

Here are four things you should expect, and how best to prepare:

  1. Virtual opportunities

More employers are offering partly- or fully-virtual graduate roles. Others may advertise remote-working and flexible-working opportunities. You should put the same amount of effort into applying for these sorts of opportunities as you would for a ‘normal’ in-office graduate role. Search for graduate roles on Careerslink or use our Graduate Job Search pages.

  • Interview questions

In a similar sense, interview questions may have been updated to explore how you face adversity, uncertainty, workload management, time management and self-motivation. Expect to answer questions around your flexibility and adaptability, and prepare answers around how you’ve spent lockdown (check out our pages on online workshops and online training courses, as well as tips on how to boost your employability from home).

  • Be prepared to proactively look for jobs

While Careerslink and other job search sites are an excellent way of searching for graduate roles, you should also be prepared to put in some work to uncover ‘hidden opportunities’. These are roles that are not widely advertised, so you should be prepared to adopt a more pro-active approach to find these opportunities.

Check out our guide on how to find hidden roles, and register for our online workshop on Friday, 19 June ‘How to find hidden graduate job opportunities’.

Some organisations who are hiring at the moment want to be able to recruit swiftly, so many post vacancies on their social media channels. Follow companies that you’re interested in on LinkedIn and Twitter, and follow the Careers Service on Twitter as well, where we’re reposting opportunities as well.

Find out more about using social media to network

  • Online interviews and virtual assessment centres

Telephone and video interviews have always been a stable part of graduate selection processes for larger organisations, but they’re becoming more common for companies of all size given physical distancing measures. Check out our video interview preparation guide, or take a free practice interview on Graduates First. Target Jobs has some excellent tips on both pre-recorded video interviews and live on-screen interviews. You can also book an interview simulation (not as scary as it sounds) with a Careers Consultant to practice a video or telephone interview ahead of the real thing.

Digital assessment centres are also becoming more common. GradTouch have a great guide on how to prepare for online assessment centres packed with insights into what to expect, and lots of advice on how you can best prepare. We’ve also got loads of support on remote assessments and telephone interviews on this blog!

It can be nerve wrecking preparing for a graduate recruitment climate that is very different to the one that you were expecting. Remember, you can use the Careers Service for up to two years after finishing your course –do not hesitate to get in touch for application advice or careers guidance.

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