The War for Talent: Trends That Will Conquer Graduate Recruitment

Interview with Kate Temple-Brown, Head of Graduate and Early Careers at FreshMinds Talent, on the future of graduate recruitment and technology in 2014.

The world of graduate recruitment is changing. Companies that are looking to inject fresh faces into the workforce have to adapt to find the best talent, and 'click' with the right people. The race to find talent may mean that some companies are using the wrong strategies to try to get immediate results.

So what does the future hold for graduate recruitment? To find out , we decided to ask an expert. Kate Temple-Brown, independent consultant and former Head of Graduate and Early Careers at FreshMinds Talent, shared her insights into the state of recruitment and what the future holds for the industry based on her experience at firms like Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.

The quality of candidates has been compromised by the fact that hiring has become about reaching targets rather than finding the right people for the job. "They are starting to see that the quality of candidates is going down and down, because it's becoming a numbers game rather than a quality bespoke hiring game," she said.

Some recruiters who are looking to fill vacant positions as soon as possible may forget to appeal to key candidates. Being able to reduce the time that recruiters spend filtering through CVs and increasing the time they can spend providing a good candidate experience has become the biggest objective for companies wanting to gain the most from the recruitment process.

"The last five years have been the most interesting five years actually, as it has been a whole market re-shift," she said. "There's definitely been a desire from clients to be more sensible about a breathable model from a candidate perspective," Temple-Brown said.

It's a fact; many candidates don't feel like they get the feedback that they deserve throughout the hiring process. Even though hundreds of applicants may try out for only one post, it doesn't necessarily mean that 99 of them have to go away from the experience disappointed.

"There is going to be a greater emphasis on getting quality graduate recruiters to find quality graduates", she said. "Hiring the right junior populace makes such a difference."

There is a change in focus within the entry level recruitment sphere, because many of their candidates are school leavers looking for apprenticeships, as well as university graduates. "This war of talent is really going down for everyone. It used to be just first years at university, but it's now about 15 year-olds," she said.

2014 Will Be All About Finding Talent

As talent gets harder to pinpoint, Temple-Brown said that recruiters will are likely to look for younger candidates to invest in for the future, and be more open to people with different backgrounds.

"From 2014, there's going to be a lot of people having to be more flexible where they find the good people from. People are going to do internships when they graduate, and there are going to be places in positions one or two years out [of uni] because they have basically been waiting for the right job to come along," she said.

There are a couple of companies that are using that strategy already. "I think that places like Deloitte and KPMG are continuing with graduate hiring processes alongside hiring people that are 16. That's going to become much more popular and people are going to train their own at an earlier stage at the same time as bringing them in on quite a small wage, particularly for technical roles," Temple-Brown said.

The government is going to play a big part in what happens in recruitment next year. Chancellor George Osborne announced a “job-rich recovery for all” when he outlined the future plans in the government's Autumn Statement last week. "I think the government is massively going to push their agenda on apprentices and people are going to start understanding more what an apprentice actually is rather than thinking about them just as a plasterer. Understanding how they can bring them in and actually use them in a professional services context." she explained.

This Is How Recruitment Will Transform

The market will shift away from people using recruiters and turn to direct hiring. This isn't to say that recruitment agencies will disappear; the demand for specialized external recruitment won't change in the near future. "There is a huge low fee, no fee focus and someone hiring their one senior recruiter can save them hundreds of thousands of pounds in headhunting fees. I think there will always been a sort of 90%-10% divide. You're never going to hire every single person directly as there will be a need for niche well-networked outsourced recruiters."

The step to mobile has been a major obstacle to overcome for many companies this year, and will continue to be the biggest trend in technology recruitment next year. For candidates, the ease through which they can complete a job application or interview through their smartphones or tablets has meant that that many more of them will use mobile to search for vacancies and apply for jobs, but only where they are given the opportunity to do so.

Being able to offer a completely mobile experience to candidates will be a great competitive advantage next year.