Why graduates need to ‘get real’ – What we have learned from recent graduate recruitment

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Why graduates need to ‘get real’ – What we have learned from recent graduate recruitment

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Times are certainly still tough in the economic environment and I have a lot of sympathy for all young people who are finding the job market to be difficult. It’s been a while since I graduated but we at The RHL Group have recently been disappointed by the behaviour of recent university graduates who seem to have questionable attitudes to their own job searches and simply complying with the client’s application process.

The Occupational Psychology Group (OPG) part of the Ramsey Hall Group, has been assessing large numbers of graduates on behalf of clients as well as for our own expansion. We’ve found varying attitudes to the recruitment process, which has been quite a surprise.

Firstly, some graduates seem oblivious to the state of the graduate recruitment market and did not even have the courtesy of contacting the recruiter when they wished to withdraw from the selection process or when they were late completing assessments.  We regularly hear comments such as, “I was busy over the weekend” and “I did not have time to complete the assessments” despite being given plenty of time by the companies we are acting for.

We’ve also noticed candidates are sometimes late in completing assessments or they need the personal attention of our support team to encourage completion and give further instruction – frustrating when we are told in the press that times are particular tough for the under 25s. These behaviours seem very inappropriate in what can be said to be a ‘buyers’ market’ where employers have an extensive selection of candidates, all apparently with excellent ‘paper based’ skills.

With a few exceptions, all these young people have several things in common.  Our team have found that these candidates perform less well in their ability tests than their peers and they often appear to have psychometric profiles which suggest a lower preference for working with numbers and data.  Also significant is that some of the candidates seemed not to understand simple instructions on how to complete the assessments – these are all highly educated university graduates, often looking for work in highly technical or at least skilled environments.

This suggests that merely completing the assessments, or not doing so, is a useful assessment of attitude and/or ability and likely work behaviours in its own right as well as being a natural filter for weeding out unsuitable applicants when candidates fail to adhere to the process.

We recommend therefore that all graduate employers need to introduce ability testing and personality assessment as part of the graduate hiring process. The cost need not be high with online testing being the most popular assessment tools but the results are telling and will help clients mitigate risk and save money training low potential employees.

The OPG is the business psychology practice of Ramsey Hall and can be contacted on 02380 236944. www.theopg.co.uk

This article reflects the views of Matthew Davis, Director and are entirely his own based on over 21 years experience in recruitment, selection and assessment