How to Attract Top Graduate Talent to Your Job ads

It’s that time of year again when thousands of fresh new graduates start entering the job market. So, what can you do to scoop them up before another recruiter does? With skilled talent in short supply, focusing on fresh talent just entering the market should be a crucial part of your recruitment strategy.

Here are some tips on how to create job ads that speak directly to top grad talent and instantly make them want to hit that ‘apply’ button.

Focus on perks, not must-haves

Graduate candidate holding CV - (recruiting graduates)When you’re fighting to attract top talent in a candidate-short market, it makes no sense to focus on a role’s must-haves and desirables in job ads. You need to sell your jobs to candidates by focusing on what’s important to them, not you/your client.

Research has shown that candidates have very different expectations when it comes to employee benefits compared to 5-10 years ago. Nowadays, candidates care a lot more about things like work-life balance, flexibility and potential career progression than they do about a fat wage packet.

So, have a think about what would likely be appealing to a candidate who’s just graduated and beginning their career. It’s likely the salary isn’t going to be the main selling point for an entry-level position, so selling self-development and growth opportunities within the business would be much more convincing.

Keep your job ads clear, concise and scannable

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the more information you provide in the job ad, the better chance you’ll have of selling the role to a candidate.

However, research has shown that Generation Z candidates (who will make up a large majority of the new grad market) actually prefer job ads that are short, sweet and straight to the point. In fact, data suggests that if you keep your ads around the 300 word mark, you’ll increase applications by more than 8%.

Today’s candidates are big researchers, so rather than bombard them with lots of information on your first candidate touchpoint, provide links to relevant pages (a company meet the team page, for example) and allow them to do their own digging.

Gen Z candidates also consume online content in a very guarded way (we’ve got the ‘fake news’ era to thank for that!), so steer clear of buzzwords and clichés that seem unreliable or click-baity. Instead, stick to the hard facts about the position (like the benefits package on offer) to make your job ads seem trustworthy and graduate-friendly.  

Paint a picture they can relate to

Graduate candidate walking on painted pathBeginning your career in the big bad real world can be a scary prospect for a lot of graduates, and one way to make the transition easier is to help the candidate visualise themselves in the role.

If you start running off lots of industry jargon in your job ads, you’ll instantly turn entry-level candidates off. Instead, you want to give some clear information about the duties of the role so the candidate can decide whether this is a position they could offer value in – and actually enjoy.

Selling company culture is important too – if you offer flexible working, a casual dress code and beers on Friday afternoons, mention this. These types of benefits create a less corporate impression for candidates making their very first step into the job market.

Brand your job ads

There’s a reason that branded job ads have a much higher conversion rate – in fact, there are plenty of reasons.

For a start, branded job ads make an opportunity much easier for candidates to visualise, they’re more transparent, and transparency sells when it comes to reaching fresh graduate talent.

It’s a candidate-driven market, so candidates can afford to be more picky about the companies they choose to work for. Therefore, being clear about who you are as well as the opportunity you’re recruiting for can have a big impact on the applications your job ads receive.

Of course, this isn’t always going to be easy for agencies – particularly if you’re used to working roles on a contingency basis. But just think of this as motivation to pitch for more retainers with your clients!

Post job ads in the right places

Job boards can be pretty overwhelming to candidates who are entering the job market for the first time. Whilst they might look pretty straight forward to you, to a graduate setting out on their first big career search, job boards are a minefield of confusing ads that all seem to be advertising the same roles. 

Which is why you'll have better luck focusing your job ad strategy in online spaces that are more familiar to graduate candidates. In short, fish where the fish are!

Google for Jobs should be your first stop, because if your jobs aren't appearing in Google's new job-search feature, you're guaranteed to be missing out on great graduate talent.

Google aside, it's a great idea to create some recruitment marketing personas that build a picture of your ideal graduate candidates. This will help you work out where your target candidates are spending time online so you’re not wasting your budget in the wrong places.

And the good news is, we've got a full guide and candidate persona template to make this as easy as possible! You can download it below.

Recruitment Persona

Katie Paterson

Katie once headed up the Firefish blog and marketing team. She now works as a freelance copywriter and continues to contribute to our award-winning blog.

Subscribe to our blog and receive top content to help you reach, engage and recruit more effectively!