4 ways graduate recruitment practices have changed (and how to adapt)

Written by Jenny Sloan, Careers Consultant (Graduate Transitions) at The Careers Service

If you’re looking for a graduate job in 2021, you’ll need to be prepared for a very different graduate recruitment process than previous years. Naturally, hiring procedures evolve over time, usually in line with new technology. In this way, how employers interview and assess applicants in 2021 was always going to look different to the way they recruited in 2019, for example.

Indeed, the days of a CV and single interview have long been history for many large graduate employers, but the pandemic has forced lots of small and medium sized businesses to adapt their recruitment practices, too.

So, whether this is your first foray into graduate job-hunting or if you graduated before the pandemic and now want to change roles, here are four ways the graduate recruitment process has changed, and how you can be ready to ace each stage.

  1. Online interviews

Telephone, video and online interviews (through Zoom, Skype, etc.) have been a stable part of recruitment practices for large graduate schemes for a while now, but working-from-home conditions have ensured that virtual interviews are a common factor in almost all graduate recruitment processes these days. And even after restrictions are eased, the money and time savings for both the applicant and the recruiter mean that online interviews may be here to stay well into 2021 and beyond.

They come in different forms (for example, pre-recorded or live), but you should prepare for these sorts of interviews just as thoroughly as you would a traditional face-to-face interview. Find out how to prepare for telephone, video and online interviews, practice using Graduates First or Shortlist.Me, or book a virtual interview simulation with a Careers Consultant.

  1. Virtual assessment centres

If you were invited to an assessment centre for a graduate job any time before the pandemic, it’s likely that your experience would have included lots of handshakes, face-to-face group work and delayed trains! However, due to Covid, many companies are adapting this stage of their hiring practice by holding digital assessment centres instead.

Varying in length and content, assessment centres are often one of the final stages of recruitment and usually involve a combination of tests, group activities and interviews. Have a look at our assessment centre page to help you to plan your preparation and check out Target Jobs’ guide on what you should expect and how to succeed. For more details on how to prepare for specific kinds of tests that may comprise a virtual assessment centre, visit our psychometric test pages.

  1. Gamified assessments

Psychometric testing has continued to grow in popularity with large graduate recruiters, with gamification in particular becoming much more common over the last couple of years. Gamified assessments use interactive tools to test key competencies and strengths. From Google to the government, Deutsche Bank to Deloitte, don’t be surprised to be faced with a games-based assessment as part of the selection process for a grad job in 2021.

Gamification can be a daunting component of the application process for many students and graduates, so we’ve put together our top tips to help you prepare and a list of best places to practice this style of psychometric test. For more support, head over to our blog to read Games Based Assessments: All You Need to Know.

  1. Strengths-based recruitment

While not necessarily as a result of the pandemic, strengths-based recruitment is increasingly favoured by big industry names like BAE Systems, Royal Mail, Unilever, Barclays and EY. Therefore, it’s likely to remain a key component of graduate hiring processes in 2021, with more and more recruiters using strengths-based recruitment to shape existing practices like interviews and assessments.

At the crux of strengths-based recruitment is considering your natural strengths and preferred ways of working in relation to your suitability for the role. One way of assessing your strengths is through situational judgement tests. Some personality assessments, such as the Type Dynamics Indicator and the Strengths tool are useful ways to uncover your preferred ways of works and the skills you enjoy using. View practice strengths-based interview questions and find out how to prepare using Prospects’ guide to strengths-interviews.

Navigating a new way of applying and interview for graduate jobs can be daunting, whether you’re applying for graduate jobs for the first time or you’re looking for a career move. Remember, as a student and recent graduate, you can use the Careers Service for up to two years after you finish your course, as well as throughout the duration of your degree.

If you would like to speak to a Careers Consultant about your next steps, book a guidance appointment.  

If you have any questions feel free to email the Graduate Transitions team at: graduatecareers@manchester.ac.uk

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