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How to develop a graduate program to attract top talent

We interview Eloise Nicholson in Adelaide and Sophie Caspersz in Perth, Robert Walters Australia recruits who joined the graduate program after completing their bachelor of business for their advice on attracting top talent.

What do graduates value when looking for their first gig?

Eloise: I was on the lookout for a graduate position where no two days are the same and in which I could gain insight within different industries and help build on the skills I learnt at business school. Also given I am a marketing graduate, I wanted my role to include some component of business development and sales. 

Sophie: Being new to the workforce, I was looking to corporate organisations that emphasised on training and professional development. It was essential for me to find a job within a well-established company, giving me the opportunity to travel whilst also developing my skills further. 

Is a graduate program about more than just money?

Eloise: Employee benefits that attracted me to a graduate role were career progression, structured training and induction, international mobility and workplace culture.

Sophie: Benefits and pay were not as important to me in comparison to the knowledge I would receive from peers and mentors when it comes to building confidence to master my role, expand my network and the ability to be comfortable in a professional environment. 

How can the recruitment process maximise applications from top talent?

Eloise: When you apply for a role, it is nice as a candidate to know where you stand with the process. Has your application been received. Are you being considered? What stage are they at with the process? Whether you are successful or not - it is great to be communicated to during the whole process, so you are not left in the dark and can draw upon feedback to improve future applications. 

A simplified application process online and pre-screening on the phone is the way to go.


Sophie: It increases confidence that the hiring manager has the candidate at the core of the process and reviewed your CV. At Robert Walters, part of the process involved a visit of the office and shadowing team members to see what their day-to-day activities are which gave me a clear insight into the role and a good understanding of the office culture. This level of interaction was influential in making my decision as you typically don’t really know what a job entails or the culture that you will be working in until you have accepted an employment offer. 

Your advice for employers looking to attract top talent?

Eloise: University career hubs, web and university forums as well as online advertising are the best way to connect with students and make them aware of the graduate program on offer. Your graduates are the lifeblood of the business for years to come. Whilst academic performance is important, I think it’s also crucial to focus on extra-curricular activities, values and attitude. 

Sophie: Graduate programs kick-start a student’s career so there is an expectation to learn transferrable skills that will set them up for future success. I think it’s important for companies to reflect on how to best deliver value to their grads by enabling them to grow professionally through adequate training and mentoring. 

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