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The Importance of Creating an Engaging Experience


Last year, I attended a great session with Stephen Isherwood from the ISE (Institute of Student Employers) at the In-House Recruitment Expo. It was one of those that really strikes a chord and gets those cogs ticking. The session was based on some of the findings of the ISE members’ research and featured vital insights for graduate recruiters to consider.

Here’s a quick summary of some of the top considerations Stephen shared:


Renege Rates

Sitting at an average of 38% in 2017, renege rates remain a huge issue for graduate recruitment. It’s a problem that snowballs and only creates more issues down the line such as an over offering on graduate roles, especially – in Stephen’s view – when professional training is involved. The fix? Create an engaging process. If a dull, over-complicated and slow website equates to a poor customer experience, why expect your candidates to be satisfied with a dull, over-complicated and slow application process. When we consider candidates as consumers, it’s easy to see how a negative candidate experience can cause significant damage to both, your employer and corporate brand. What’s more, 71% of jobseekers said that they would abandon applications that took more than 15 minutes to complete (People Management, 2018).



Location tends to be a challenge with candidates accepting offers and then continuing to pursue opportunities in areas that better suit them geographically. The unfortunate truth is that graduates are not as mobile as we think and are looking for opportunities in their university or home cities – as well as London.


Lifestyle Changes

During student life, the student is the consumer. There are clear tasks, there is an element of flexitime and they strive for perfection in what they deliver. In employee life, the employer is the consumer, tasks can be ambiguous and there is often, a defined working week, a quest for efficiency and a clear hierarchy. It can be a rocky transition for many graduates, adapting from one lifestyle to another – but it doesn’t have to be. Graduates who have undertaken an internship or have work experience tend to make a smoother transition. Typically, a graduate recruit will stay with a business for around 4.5 years. Yet interns are more likely to stay with the company they worked at, for an extra half a year. It’s because they make their decision based on their understanding of the business and the network they have built there. And so, communication, meetings, and conversations prior to a candidate accepting a role are vital to making this transition easier.



Stephen also discussed the confusion around apprenticeships. While degree-level apprenticeships and post-graduate qualifications have great potential, apprenticeships are still associated with school leavers. But, times are changing, and candidates, graduates, and students all want different things. To support candidates, it’s essential for businesses to demystify their programs and educate parents and influencers about the benefits of this route. 63% of parents revealed that they didn’t understand apprenticeships well enough to discuss them with their children and 81% don’t realise that their scope in terms of their equivalence to foundation and bachelor’s degrees (Guardian, 2013).

One of our clients, a large automotive company have taken an innovative approach to increase awareness and promote their opportunities by using our platform to host a series of live chats aimed at engaging the parents and guardians of potential apprentices.



Through using live chat, our clients have developed successful keep warm activities, tailoring chat events to the scheme or geography. We see the best results, when clients use their imagination to really run with the technology. Our platform has also allowed offered candidates to chat with relevant buddies, mentors and colleagues prior to starting a new role.

With our engagement technology, we see the value of personal connection and peer engagement. And when operating in an increasingly competitive market like graduate recruitment, it is more important than ever to get it right.

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