Recruiting during 'back to school' period most effective


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The Autumn of a student's final year is thought to be the best time to find top candidates

'Back to school' time is the best point in the year to recruit university students, according to research from Korn Ferry.

In the survey of nearly 1,500 professionals and executives, 64% said the Autumn of a student’s final year is the best time to recruit top candidates. None of those polled thought that waiting until after graduation is the optimum time to find the best candidates.

Adam Blumberg, vice president of key accounts at Futurestep (a Korn Ferry company), said recruiting early can be beneficial. “In our experience, students who know what they want to do and are driven to pursue their career goals while still in school make the strongest employees,” he said. “Solid recruiting programmes start early and focus on securing the most qualified talent months before they actually graduate.”

When it came to the qualities hiring decision makers look for in new graduates, drive or passion came out on top at 61%. One in 10 (11%) prioritised previous experience, while only 1% said they considered what grades their candidates received to be the most important factor.

However, 42% of employers thought that today’s graduates are less or much less motivated than the graduates of 10 years ago, compared with 34% who thought they were slightly or much more motivated.

“Ten years ago we were on the cusp of a major recession and graduate hiring was much slower, so it stands to reason that graduates back then had to fight much harder to succeed,” said Blumberg. “With today’s unemployment rate the lowest it’s been in years it is a candidate’s market, so employers need to work quickly and effectively to capture the best talent.”

He advised that a strong employer brand can help to attract the best graduates. “It’s critical that companies make the recruiting experience as positive as possible,” he said. “A big part of creating that inviting environment is training hiring managers and others in the organisation on how to best communicate the employer brand and the positive culture of the company.”

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