How to Create a Graduate Scheme

As graduation time rolls around, a flood of new talent will enter the marketplace. In order to snap up the strongest talent, many companies are opting for graduate schemes. Graduates are keen to impress in their first role, and bring a bright enthusiasm that can be infectious amongst your team. It’s just a case of targeting them, shaping them and rewarding them.

TARGET THEM

Graduates will search for opportunities in a different way to candidates who know the job market well. They’ll be much more open-minded and often send out a blanket of CVs in the hope of finding something suitable. This can be great as you can have the pick of the crop, however it can also be frustrating as you have a high number of CVs to sift through. Try and curb the number of applications you get by create a targeted campaign, think about the following:

  • Are there certain degree grades you expect, if so be clear
  • Are there certain courses you’ll expect the candidates to have done
  • What is the process? Giving a little overview of the expected stages will deter candidates who won’t stay the course

SHAPE THEM

Once you’ve created a shortlist, you need to decide how you’ll shape them in your business. There are many different approaches you can take:

  • TOP TALENT MANAGEMENT SCHEME – If you’re looking for the highest calibre of talent to bring changes to your business, you could consider a management scheme that brings in new talent at a senior level managing people or products.
  • SKILL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME – If your business is constantly evolving or if you’re unsure where graduates could add real value, then you could consider a skill development scheme. Rather than offering a specific role, you’d encourage graduates to work in different areas of your business, to see where their skills shine. It also gives you more flexibility to evolve the roles as you need them within the business.
  • ENTRY LEVEL SCHEME – If the nature of your company and the work you do means you have high staff turnover, or you’re looking to employ a high number of graduates, you could consider an entry level scheme where they are all employed in to the same role. This will help you identify the ones who struggle with the culture of the business, ones who simply drop out and others who shine that you want to invest in.

REWARD THEM

Graduates are groomed to expect a competitive salary from an employer, so you need to ensure that your package can stack up against your competitors to ensure you’re getting the best talent. Candidates will also expect that that a reward system is in place and that their hard work won’t go

unnoticed. So think about how you can keep graduates for the long term, by setting them on a clear career path with rewards and promotions for exceptional performance. Graduates are coming from the world of education where they are used to receiving regular feedback and praise, so you need to ensure you have a process in place, to monitor performance and deliver relevant feedback.

As graduates enter the marketplace, you’ll be fighting for the best talent with your competitors, so make sure you have everything in place, to make sure you win!

Peter Forshaw, Managing Director, Maxwell Stephens