Blog Post

    Employer Branding Starts at Recruitment: The Key to Attracting Graduate Hires

    No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks! That’s right, grad season is nearly here. As the freshest wave of graduating students enters the workforce, your organization has the opportunity to snatch up some fantastic hires and cultivate them into the next generation of team members and managers that could take your company to the next level.

    Don’t wait until graduation day to woo exiting students. The key to recruiting top-notch Millennial and Generation Z talent is to make a great impression early on, ensure that your brand stands out from the crowd, and plant the seed in your potential hires’ minds. Here’s how to differentiate your brand during recruitment in order to attract and retain the right graduate hires!

    Surprise! Branding Really Matters to Gen Z and Millennial Employees

    An Employer Brand Study conducted by Hinge Research Institute determined that candidates’ and employees’ top five most important workplace considerations include:

    • Firm culture (84.3% of respondents)
    • Competitive salary/compensation (83.9%)
    • Good general reputation in the marketplace and office location/commute distance (tied at 74.8%)
    • Work-life balance (71.5%)

    Although these findings probably aren’t a huge shock to HR professionals, what may surprise you is the disconnect between how important candidates and employers believe these top brand elements are. While more than 84% of candidates and employees consider company culture to be extremely important, just 66.1% of employers think that employees consider culture a make-or-break item.

    The same goes for other factors such as “good general reputation in the marketplace”—nearly 75% of candidates rank that as an important element when considering an employer’s brand, while less than 60% of employers believe that candidates feel this way. Say whaaat?

    If you’re going to have a fighting chance of attracting top-notch new graduate talent, the first step is to accept that an employer’s brand really matters to job seekers… especially Gen Z candidates, who repeatedly show that they consider an “empowering work culture” more important than a high salary and promotions.

    Psst! Christmas came early this year: learn more about onboarding for empowerment here!

    Three Ways to Differentiate Your Employer Brand and Woo New Talent


    1. Put your mission front and center for Gen Z candidates

    Gen Z candidates tend to be very purpose-driven; they want to feel as though they are contributing positively to the world. Give the people what they want! When speaking to soon-to-be graduates, let your company’s mission and vision take center stage.

    One great example of this is Zendesk, whose funny company culture video walks viewers (*cough cough* candidates) through everything from team introductions and what a typical desk looks like to where coworkers like to go to lunch and grab coffee. In less than three and a half minutes, you get a feel for exactly the kind of funny, hip, engaging culture that Zendesk tries to cultivate and promote.

    Tip: How can you create a diverse, thriving workforce like Zendesk? We share the secret here.

    2. Showcase benefits for Millennial candidates

    While Millennial employees are also purpose-driven, they are more concerned than their Gen Z counterparts about receiving competitive pay, benefits, and other perks. Growing families and mortages can do that to a generation. But it's not just about the quantifiable benefits for this cohort. In fact, mentorship is huge with Millennials so be sure to create a mentor program that engages new hires (or onboards interns) in week one, and don’t hesitate to shout it from the rooftops!

    3. Let employees speak for themselves

    Do you think that internet-savvy Millennials and Gen Xers will believe everything that your company has to say? Fuhggedaboutit! They’re much more likely to believe employees who speak from the heart than the head of marketing—so let your best workers speak for themselves when recruiting graduates. For example, send some of your most engaged employees to graduate job fairs to chat with potential employees and interns about why your company is the place to be.

    On a similar note, don’t just use your most engaged employees to your advantage; be sure to leverage your least engaged team workers as well. Exiting employees can shine an essential spotlight onto company culture pitfalls and highlight areas for improvement when it comes to attracting and retaining graduating students.

    Once you’ve put in the time to attract graduate employees, be sure to engage and retain them.

    Demo our onboarding app and discover how to create a new hire experience that leads to a world-class employer brand!

    Topics: HR
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