Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.


What are the most frequent career development issues raised by young professionals?


Free access to video series with insider tips that explain it all.

Subscribe to our Employer Updates

* indicates required

Takeaways from Graduate Recruitment Conference

Posted 30/10/2017

Last week I was able to make it to the second day of the annual conference of the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE). Here are some of my takeaways.

What Hasn’t Changed in Graduate Recruitment

In my 20 years of graduate recruitment some things haven’t changed. The first didn’t surprise me but the other two left me shaking my head.

1. Top three graduate expectations of their new employers

  • Career progression
  • Training and development
  • Real job/responsibility

2. There are employers who don’t know how to keep graduates warm after job offers have been accepted. Typically, this is when offers are made in June and the graduates start in the following February/March.

The solution has been around for years. Regular communication during that period with updates about the organisation and its products/services. An on-site event to meet fellow graduate hires. Etc.

There is even software available to automate this

3. How should employers manage the expectations of graduates when they come to the end of the “two year graduate development program”? Well, the answer is pretty obvious. Set their expectations from the start! A graduate development program is no different to the training and development offered to any employee, where the type of development depends on the needs of the individual.

What Is Changing

The top three behaviours employers want to see in their graduates.

  1. Building relationships
  2. Resilience
  3. Adapting to change

Psychometric Testing is Big Business in Graduate Recruitment

Of the 32 suppliers at the conference, there were 17 organisations that provided testing services.   

What’s new in testing? Some are introducing gamification to make testing feel “fun”. One provider has introduced a mobile testing platform. (Not sure if doing a test on a bus will achieve the best result). While not represented at the conference there are two global providers who ask employers to test all of their staff to create a benchmark profile of their strong employees. The idea is the profile can be used to select new hires. Good in theory but it carries over previous selection bias.

LinkedIn Missing

There were 5 suppliers who provide advertising platforms to reach graduates. LinkedIn was not there. LinkedIn has struggled to convince students to create a profile. Students say until they have a graduate job they feel they don’t belong to a professional networking/recruitment site.

The other suppliers included Learning & Development and Consulting.

Use of Cognitive Tests to Screen Graduates Acknowledged as Flawed

A representative from a global testing provider shared results of their study, which analysed characteristics of graduates who had been unsuccessful in cognitive testing. The study used large datasets from multiple clients.

The presenter said the results “shocked” her. She found that at least half the candidates who were rejected solely on cognitive skills, possessed the behaviours that were highly sought by employers. In other words, they were candidates, employers would want to see. She was shocked because she realised cognitive testing is too blunt a tool in initial screening.

The solution was to “somehow” include behaviour and personality assessments along with cognitive testing in initial screening. But that was both expensive and time consuming.

The conclusion was employers had to live with it as there was no silver bullet.  Well, she hadn’t yet heard about



If you aren’t aware of it, it’s a better and fairer way to screen high volume graduate applications. It’s software that uses an algorithm to assess graduates across multiple attributes – academic, work experience, achievements etc. I’ve developed it along with my software engineers.     


Other Insights

Some (not all) employers said their graduate applicants didn’t like video interviews or gamified psychometric testing. So, they have stopped using those tools.

Monash University has established its own recruitment agency - Monash Recruit. Monash Recruit will source Monash University candidates for an employer. Employers pay a 10% success fee. Their clients so far, have been small employers who have struggled with brand recognition. They said it's early days. Good luck with that one!