What to expect from a graduate recruitment process
A graduate recruitment process helps organisations filter through the many applications they receive each year. Although this process will vary by organisation, you'll likely work your way through the following steps.
Prepare for the recruitment process
Do the research. Ask yourself, what team or job do I want to apply for? What are the values and culture of the organisation and do they match my values?
Write your CV. Remember: this is your advertising campaign, so make it count. Spell-check and proof read the content. To ensure the layout is good, print and review a copy.
Write a cover letter. Tailor it for the organisation and write why you would like to work for them and why you stand out from the rest. Address it to the person who will be receiving it. If you're unsure of the name, call reception.
Request your Academic Transcript from your tertiary institution. This is a formal document and will be on the provider's letterhead. If you'll be providing a scanned copy, ensure it has been notarised by a Justice of the Peace.
Complete your application
Applications are typically completed online on the organisation's website. Start your application when you're fresh, clear-headed and have a block of free time.
- be prepared to answer questions
- read instructions carefully and follow them exactly
- ensure the answers you give are correct and truthful
- have your CV, cover letter and academic transcript ready.
Complete online testing
Online testing may be required as part of the online application process, so ensure you have plenty of time.
Usually, numerical and verbal reasoning tests are completed at this stage. Numerical reasoning tests highlight your ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately, while verbal reasoning tests assess your ability to think, reason and problem-solve.
Try to relax and give your best answer. Don't rush, but do pay attention to the time limit.
Attend an assessment centre
If your application is successful, you may be invited to attend an Assessment Centre. Assessment centres are increasingly becoming an essential part of the application process for graduate positions.
An assessment centre consists of a day of activities, interviews and testing usually held onsite at the employer’s office. It may involve a selection of tests and situations that give hiring managers a way of differentiating between candidates from an equal starting point. It can include testing for computer skills, role plays, interviews and even psychometric testing. Psychometric tests may also be used to measure knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality traits.
The employer will be looking for a certain profile that matches their ideal candidate. There is no right or wrong, pass or fail for these tests, only a profile match that employers are looking for.
Receive the job offer
Based on the outcome of the application process, you may be offered a graduate position by letter or phone. Usually, a copy of the employment contract will be couriered to you for inspection. The employer may put a timeframe around your response time. Read all parts of the contract carefully and remember that you’re entitled to ask a third party for assistance with this.
If you receive more than one offer, sit down with people you trust and select the employer that offers you the best fit (eg, a combination of the work, office culture and values). Consider all available career opportunities, but remember to choose what feels right for you.
If you don't receive an employment offer, don't panic. There may be a variety of reasons for this, including low job vacancy rates and the number of applications received. You may want to ask for feedback on your performance during the application process, or for advice on improving your skills or approach for next time. This is best done in a polite email to the hiring manager.
Tips for a successful recruitment process
Research widely. There may be great employment opportunities in organisations you haven't thought of, so make use of your Graduate Recruitment websites, personal networks and Careers Advisors. Spend some time online investigating your options.
Don't apply for everything. Make a list of required and nice-to-have points and then evaluate a company and the advert against them. Remember, it's not just a company choosing you: you have to choose them, too.
Stay ahead of the game. Sign up for job alerts from recruitment websites and do a weekly sweep of the top five companies on your list.
Apply within the timeframes given on the job advert.
Follow up your application with an email. Ensure it is polite and reiterate your availability for an interview. Don't push for a response.
Send a thank-you email if you get a personalised response to an application.
This information was prepared with the assistance of Janine Colmore-Williams, Manager of Recruitment and Resourcing at PwC.