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Tips for hiring graduates into your small business

For many businesses, graduates are the lifeblood that drives innovation and future development. Without fresh talent, your business will struggle to keep up in a continually evolving market. So how can you ensure your small business is able to attract the right talent?
Larger companies have an established policy for hiring graduates. They attend graduate recruitment events at top universities, offer attractive packages to the right candidates, and have their pick of the talent. For a smaller business, it is not that easy. For one thing, they don’t have the budget to throw big money at talent, and for another, they are not an instantly recognisable brand like PWC or Microsoft.

Just because you can’t afford to pay big bucks, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to attract any bright young things to your company. Most graduates are looking for careers in interesting industries where they can progress relatively quickly. If you run an innovative tech firm or an online gaming company, for example, you should have tons of graduates interested in the positions you have available.

However, before you start interviewing, you need to find the right candidates. Surprisingly, it’s not all about exam results.

Assessment centres

Graduates usually don’t have experience in the field they are looking to be hired into, so you can’t conduct a traditional interview and find out what they know. Assessment centres are a popular way of interviewing people for jobs where experience is either missing, or not required. Setting up an assessment centre requires a fair amount of organisation, but once you have the pieces in place, it should help you find the right people.

Offer a work experience programme

Try offering a work experience programme for college students. This is an excellent way to create the right environment for graduates to see how the business works whilst showcasing their skills as they work on various projects. If the right talent comes along, you have a golden opportunity to offer them a job after graduation, before other companies get a foot in the door. Because the graduate now has experience of working with the company and will have developed a relationship with their fellow employees, they are more likely to say “yes”. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Beware of unconscious bias

Bias is very common in recruitment. This is why tech companies often hire male candidates from specific universities and backgrounds. The interviewers all come from similar backgrounds, so they look for people created from the same mould. The problem with this approach is that you end up with a pool of candidates devoid of diversity. It might not matter in the short term, but you need diversity if the company is to evolve in an organic way.

The best way to avoid bias in the recruitment process is to have a broad spectrum of interviewers for the graduate recruitment process. For example, if you are a tech company and you want to attract more female graduates, make sure you have a woman on the stand at your graduate recruitment fairs.

Advertise graduate positions online

99.9% of all graduates will look for suitable graduate positions online. Post your jobs on popular recruitment websites, as this will ensure maximum exposure for your jobs. The more job applications you receive, the better. You should also consider using social media to get the word out there, particularly if you are offering a tech-related position. Social media is a powerful tool for recruitment, especially for small businesses, as it is free. People are able to share job opportunities with interested friends and family, and in no time at all, your job listing has reached people in several different countries.

Hiring graduates is a smart move but you need the right candidates on board, so don’t take any shortcuts in the hiring process.

21 Dec 2016 11:29


About Boris Dzhingarov

Boris Dzhingarov graduated UNWE with a major in marketing. He is the CEO of ESBO ltd brand mentioning agency. He writes for several online sites such as,,, Boris is the founder of and