Top 10 Tips for SMEs looking to recruit students and graduates

  1. Ensure Job Description is appealing to the student cohort
    Develop engaging content that will captivate your target audience. Use language and buzz words that appeal to students for example ‘this exciting opportunity’. Include details about what they will gain from the internship. E.g. ‘at the end of your 12-month internship, you’ll have a great grounding and exposure across the key digital marketing tactics and experience of dealing with clients.’ Avoid adding in ‘essential requirements’ for things that are not necessarily essential and what they can learn ‘on the job’ – this will put potential good-quality candidates off applying!
  2. Highlight your company strengths
    There is no better way to showcase your company than by discussing your ethos and unique selling points. Think about what makes your business stand out amongst your competitors – why should a student choose you?
  3. Describe progression opportunities available
    Some students might assume there are not many progression opportunities available with a small to medium business. Outline a clear progression path, with training and support and emphasise that there are opportunities to progress even if this is outside of the traditional ‘graduate scheme’ route.
  4. Link to your company website
    It is crucial that students can find out more about your organisation. Ensure that you provide a website link on the job description. This will enable students to find out more about the exciting projects and initiatives you have taking place.
  5. Add ‘company overview’ section
    Ensure you are really showcasing how amazing you are! Provide a ‘company overview’ section on the job description that clearly summarises an overview of your business. Students love to hear about the impact of the work that they do so impress them by highlighting the impact that they could make on your company.
  6. Share success stories
    If you have recruited graduates in the past, share case studies. Students would love to be able to resonate with someone that has been in their shoes and can relate to them more easily.
  7. Be open minded with degree disciplines
    Many employers feel they need to hire a graduate that has studied a specific course. However, on many occasions, the role can be suitable to students from all or a range of degree disciplines. Be open minded with this as this also means you are widening your pool of students that will be targeted for specific opportunities.
  8. Engage social channels
    Having an active social media presence will make it easier for potential candidates to find out about the opportunities you offer and give them routes to contact you simply on the platform they are using.
  9. Consider skills over experience only
    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!).
  10. Highlight your company ethics and ethos
    Students love to understand what employers are doing to help the environment or what your CSR strategy might look like. Provide a brief overview of your company ethics and link to exciting initiatives your company is currently involved in.