How to Hire and Retain the Best Graduates

graduating students in robes

Getting graduate applicants has become much easier. But, attracting and retaining talented graduates has become harder.

You’ve probably found this article because you're struggling to attract the best candidates to your company or maybe because graduates are leaving you for a different company.

The reality is that for companies of all sizes trying to attract talented employees is by no means easy or straightforward - you're not alone.

Finding and Hiring Graduates

Despite the fact that technological advancements such social media and the massive spread of the Internet around the world have made the search for staff easier - this is not all good. With such a large pool of candidates, it is harder to find the talented ones.

The hiring strategy

Have you hired a graduate before? If not, you are in the right place. Before we can figure out how to retain top talent, we need to make sure we are hiring the right graduates in the first place.

It is crucial to have a hiring plan and use this as a template for future hires.

Team collaboration at this point is very important; you need to discuss with your peers and hiring managers exactly what it is you are looking to get from this hire:

  • How is the candidate going to be a return on investment?
  • What is the specifics of the role?
  • How will the candidate fit into your current team?
  • What is the cost of making the wrong hiring decision?
  • What is the long-term goal of hiring this employee?

There is no point trying to walk before you can crawl, don’t make snap decisions and rush to post a job advert across loads of job boards, get a few good applicants and make a quick hire. If you don't take the time to hire the right person for your business it will come back to haunt you, and more than likely cost you a lot of money.

When it comes to recruitment the benefits of hiring a graduate over a more experienced alternative applicant are obvious:

  • Lower starting salary
  • Great return on investment
  • New and fresh ideas
  • Fast learners, not set in their ways
  • Good business skills
  • More flexibility

By now we have hopefully convinced you to hire a graduate instead of a more experienced candidate, because of the numerous benefits, the next stage is to create the job advert.

Creating the job advert 

Creating the job advert can play a big part in attracting the best candidates. A lot of companies like to just throw out an advert across various job boards in the hope that it will catch the attention of the very best graduates.

Your job advert is literally that, an ADVERT. Your opportunity to advertise everything that is great about your company and the job. Take a look at this advert from Google; there is lots of imagery, different things to see, a great header image. This is a perfect example of how to design and advertise your job adverts.


Make sure you create plenty of content, add employee referrals and add imagery to your adverts. If people are going to be sharing them on social media and job boards, you want them to look good, and present your company in the best light possible.

Try not to leave anything out here, and treat this advert as not just an advert for your job, but for your company too.

Attracting the Best

At this point, you have received your applications, analysed them, discussed them with your team, interviewed all the candidates you want to see, and made a decision on graduates you want to hire.

You can check out this article on how to headhunt talent which looks at some key points on how you can attract the best talent to your company.

Create a social media strategy for your careers 

Ok, this isn't something you should suddenly start thinking about at the point when you are about to hire a graduate, this more should be included in your overall hiring strategy. 

A lot of companies now are starting to create specific social channels for jobs. You can check out Starbucks Careers Instagram Page they do it really effectively and have over 26,000 followers.

Starbucks Instagram   Starbucks Instagram        

Having specific social media career pages gives you the opportunity to show off everything that is great about working for your company. You can show current employees having fun and enjoying their daily routines and jobs.

job search
job search

You can post imagery and videos of your offices, is it a fun place to work? Do you have great social areas and fun things to do around your office? Show it off, let the world know. 

You can post any new positions, and have them display live to 1000’s of people that have already expressed interest in working for you, just by following your social channels. 

Social media is a great networking tool to consider for your hiring strategy and a great way of attracting future employees.

What graduates want from a company

What do graduates want from a company? How are you going to convince them their future and their career lies with you?

The most talented graduates in whatever field it may be, will probably also be interviewing with other companies and be getting offers from other companies. So how can you make your offer stand out? How can you make your company stand out?

Graduates will look at a variety of things when choosing a new company such as:

  • Is there a good social community within the company?
  • Are there opportunities for career progression?
  • Is the salary package good?
  • Are there any benefits, like a mobile phone or company car?
  • What is the project that they will be working on like?

Graduates will be looking at the overall package your company has to offer, they won't be attracted by one specific thing like money or a company car. They, like anyone, want a happy and fun environment to work in.

How to retain the best graduates

Ok, so you have managed to attract a graduate to your company, what's the next step?

How do you stop them from being poached by another company? How do you ensure they remain happy in their environment? How do you ensure they continually add value to your business? 

This is all part of the employee onboarding process. Onboarding is the process from when the new employee begins work for an undetermined period of time, maybe even indefinitely.

Employee onboarding can involve:

  • Social integration
  • Acquiring the necessary skills
  • Getting to know team characteristics
  • Training 

There are other aspects involved too, however, one of the most important is ensuring the employee's happiness with the job, and with their new environment.

They need to have a belief they are acquiring new skills and expertise and there are opportunities to progress within the company. Showing a clear sign of progression from the outset is really important. If this is in place, you can look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship with your graduates.

Do you prefer to hire graduates or experienced workers at your company? Why do you choose one over the other? Let us know in the comments section below...