Looking Beyond the Degree: Changing Graduate Recruitment

We have witnessed graduate recruitment changing over recent years.

One trend is the number of high profile, well-known graduate employers that are shifting their approach to graduate hiring and graduate programs.

Companies such as Google, Hilton Hotels, Starbucks, Apple, EY and Penguin Random House have all scrapped the need for specific academic qualifications. Grant Thornton became the first professional services firm to take out certain degree requirements for entry to its graduate scheme as it believed it was missing out on great talent.

In effect, such organizations are looking beyond the specific degree and the resume - and looking more at the specific competencies, abilities and values that the candidates offer.

Rethinking Graduate Hires at Serco Group plc

A great example of how an organization is embracing this shift in hiring graduates for its new graduate program is UK-based public services organization, Serco. As a complex and varied Group providing public services across the health, transport, justice, immigration, defense and citizens service, Serco strives to attract and employ from across a diverse talent pool to reflect the communities that it serves.

An important part of its talent strategy was the introduction of its graduate program.

Anthony Kirby, Group HR Director, Serco Group explains:

“For some, diversity and complexity are a challenge when hiring graduates. For us, it is an opportunity. We bring together a range of people with different backgrounds and experiences and give them the opportunity to build a career in a diverse organization and to deliver the very best public services.”

“Our aim was to design a graduate program that was quite different to the typical graduate schemes and this impacts the people we recruit into the scheme. We decided not to target specific universities or define courses or grades. We wanted to be open to the broadest talent pool possible.”
As such, it focused its attention on designing an engaging, candidate-centered and contemporary looking application and assessment process. It incorporated leading edge ability and situational judgment tests, video interviewing and assessment centers – and made sure the decisions were taken swiftly and communicated quickly.

The Results

Serco has now built a graduate program hiring process that not only attracts talent with a range of backgrounds and experiences but engages and communicates with all the applicants in a timely and respectful manner.

It has led to:

  • A diverse graduate cohort joining its graduate program.
  • An increase in applicants from BAME backgrounds.
  • A positively received candidate experience which is convenient, well-defined and innovative.
  • A hiring process that enables decisions to be made quickly.
  • A standardized and objective hiring process capable of being deployed internationally.

Kirby comments, “We have been able to build a recruitment campaign that focuses in on the individual candidate, their values and their fit with us as an organization.”

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Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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