Top tips for SMEs looking to recruit students and graduates

Appealing job description  

Develop engaging content that will attract a student to the role. Be sure to use persuasive language (e.g. ‘this exciting opportunity’) and keep the description light but informative. Include details of what they will gain on the internship e.g. ‘you’ll develop an understanding of business development, marketing campaigns and client relationship management’. Avoid requesting ‘essential requirements’ and concentrate on candidates’ creativity and what they can learn ‘on the job’. This will also help to attract students from a wide range of disciplines.  

Link to company’s website 

It is useful for students to gain an idea of your organisation, particularly with regards to your ethos, unique selling points and bespoke projects. Whether you are a new start up or an established small business, students want to hear about your mission and successes. If you have social media, this may also be useful in showing what kind of work you do and what a typical day is like.

Progression opportunities 

It is useful for students to see what other opportunities are available at your organisation. Outline clear routes to progression, with notification of training, support and life in different roles. It is important that students know that the traditional graduate scheme route is not the only one out there. Working for an SME comes with a whole host of benefits including a community feel, growth opportunities and making a role your own.

Share success stories 

If you have recruited interns and/or graduates in the past, share your experiences. Students thrive off knowing that other students have succeeded via pursuing an internship. Stories help to give students something to relate to, and what better way of doing this than by sharing someone’s else’s journey.

Consider skills over experience 

Highlight the transferrable skills that are needed for a role as opposed to x years of experience. Graduates may be put off applying for a role if they see a requirement for one- or two-years’ experience (when really, this isn’t necessarily needed!).