The secret to graduate recruitment: how to engage Millennials and Gen Zers

It is widely acknowledged that graduates are incredibly important in the workforce – they are the future of organisations and are crucial for succession planning and innovation. It is concerning then, that in 2018 more than 700 graduate roles were left unfilled [1].

It’s predicted that by 2020 50% of the UK workforce will be Millennials and 24% Generation Zers [2]. With the lowest ever levels of unemployment in the UK, how can you get the competitive edge to ensure you recruit top graduate talent?

Here are my top tips on how to engage Millennials and Gen Zers with your business, and your recruitment process.


Don’t rely on quirky benefits

Ping pong tables? A fridge full of beer? An office dog?

These are definitely fun and ‘cool’ benefits, and are a great hook to get employees through the door, but it won’t necessarily keep them there. If you don’t cater to some of the more basic needs of employees (such as work-life balance, fair payment, professional development, etc.), then they’ll leave. All of the time and money you spent on recruiting and training your graduate will be wasted, and you’re back to square one.


Talk about what matters to your company

Research shows that Millennials and Generation Z are motivated more by mission than money [3]. In a job advert and the subsequent recruitment process, it’s very easy to get caught up in the fact that you want to give them information about the specific role they’ve applied for, and you need to find out as much as possible about the candidates. Whilst this is important, you also need to remember that the candidate is judging your company – make sure you tell them about you, and what matters to your organisation.

Are social events important? What about supporting charities? This will help to give candidates a more rounded view of your culture and values, and they will be able to decide if it’s a good fit for them.


Signpost the potential for progression

Employees who feel that they aren’t developing in a company are 12 times more likely to leave [4]. Progression and development are important to most employees, but particularly to those who are early in their career and have a lot to learn. Make sure you demonstrate that you have a plan for your graduates in the job advert – not only for what they’ll do in this role, but also how you will develop them to have a successful career within your organisation. If you also have employees who joined as graduates and have progressed, make sure to create videos, blogs or social media posts telling their story – if others have progressed and been successful, it suggests your new graduate intake will too.


Invest in your employees

94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers [5]. Once you’ve recruited a high-potential graduate, you want to retain them for as long as possible. Demonstrating the willingness to further invest in your workforce is also likely to encourage people to apply for the role. Alongside the internal training, think about how else you could develop your employees – are there any professional qualifications that they could complete such as CIPD, CIM, Advanced Diplomas, etc.? Or could you develop them further in their professional skills such as Commercial Acumen training, Leadership & Management courses or Presenting with Impact training?


Strike the balance between them being challenged and supported

Most graduates have little to no experience in the working world, but they have a lot of potential. It’s important that you strike the fine balance between giving them real responsibility and stretching them, but also ensuring that they have the support in place to ask questions and not feel overloaded or alone. In job adverts and the recruitment process, talk about what they’ll be responsible for but also who will be there to support them – will they work closely with someone more senior? Or will they have a whole team to support them?

As experts in graduate recruitment, Discovery knows that it’s not just about recruiting a graduate, it’s about recruiting the right graduate for your organisation. Hopefully these tips will help you to attract more of the right candidates. If you would like to discuss this article or how Discovery can help you with graduate recruitment, please don’t hesitate to contact me on, 0121 665 4060 or via our website.