According to the latest Association of Graduate Recruiters statistics, a whopping 92% of employers ask candidates for feedback on their recruitment process.

This reflects an increasing focus on improving the candidate experience and if the candidate’s feedback is listened to, there may be some really positive changes we can make to our practices and procedures.

November is a great time of year to reflect on how our recruitment experiences have been over the year and I’ve highlighted three common grumbles that we hear graduate’s make. What’s interesting is when we look beyond the grumble and focus on what the graduate is actually saying…

Grumble #1

“I didn’t get any feedback”

Time and again recruiters hear this and it’s totally understandable that with thousands of applications coming your way, there isn’t time to provide every single applicant with detailed feedback. But what does this grumble really mean? Beyond this grumble is a young graduate who simply wants to get better! Give them a break! They’re not asking for feedback to pester and annoy you, they’re doing it because they are genuinely interested to know how they could improve their performance and do better next time.

It’s worth putting some consideration into how you can build some element of feedback giving into your process. You may start with the candidates you have offered and find a way to build feedback on their assessment centre performance into their induction programme.

Remember that, often, these graduates are your consumers or perhaps even your future customers (if they find work with one of your customers) and 38% of candidates who had a bad experience in the hiring process are less likely to buy from, or use that company’s services or products (Recruiterbox).

Moral of the story, it’s worth looking behind this grumble and seeing how you can build some element of feedback giving into your process.

 Grumble #2

“The job isn’t what I thought it was

This is a common ‘few weeks in’ grumble that is often the result of incomplete communication.

Sometimes this grumble is a realisation that the working world involves structure, early mornings and a few sacrifices, but it’s ironed out once these things are accepted! Nevertheless, we can still learn from this and explore how we can manage graduate’s expectations of their role and routines better.

To avoid this grumble we need to give graduates the nitty-gritty. With only 15% of employers hiring graduate intakes who have commercial awareness, it’s no surprise that sometimes the job isn’t quite what they thought. Graduates don’t always have the knowledge to fully grasp what some of our business language means and how it translates into the day-to-day job – and who can blame them? This is quite possibly their first experience of being in a position of real responsibility in a business.

Even directors can struggle to understand what certain job titles mean, so how can we expect graduates to know?

What we can learn as recruiters from this is that we need to be really clear on what the job involves, right from the start. Of course we need to discuss the company’s culture and values and explain what it’s like to work for you, but equally important is communicating in clear, simple language, the key responsibilities of the graduate and expected tasks and projects that he/she will focus on.

Grumble #3

“There isn’t any progression”

This is a dangerous grumble and one that can lead to attrition.

Let’s look beyond this grumble…the candidate is ultimately saying, “I don’t know where my next job could be in this organisation”.

Chances are that, as the recruiter/hiring manager, you have an idea of where this graduate could progress to, but you’re perhaps not communicating that to them.

Ask yourself the questions: are your managers communicating progression opportunities to their young talent? Does the graduate know the journey they need to go on to achieve that next role? Are the timelines realistic or do they need to be flexed a little? Talking through these questions can be really great starting points for uncovering how you can, quite easily, overcome this graduate grumble.

I hope this has been useful in showing that a) you’re not the only organisation that hears these grumbles and b) they are not insurmountable! In making small changes and improving communication, we can go a long way in keeping our candidates happy. Happy candidates share their positive experiences, so it really is worth the effort.