Research, conducted by TMP Worldwide, called Has the Milkround Gone Sour? shows a real vote of confidence from students in the value of graduate recruiters’ presence on campus both in terms of stands at fairs and the more formal employer presentations. The research found 88% of finalist students surveyed were likely to attend a fair during the autumn term and 66% used the experience to help them decide which organisation to apply to.
Many students are taking the opportunity to meet graduate recruiters very seriously with just under 30% making a shortlist of employers to meet. Around 20% of students also prepare lists of key questions and do research prior to the fair or employer presentation to get the most out of their face-to-face time with employers. Nearly 80% of students agreed with the statement ‘you can pick up so much more about the culture and ambition of an organisation in a short conversation than you can in endless internet searches’.
Nearly 60% of students will be put off an employer if the people on the stand appear to be disinterested, 56% of students do not want to be directed to a website when they come to the stand and more than 45% were keen to meet graduate trainees rather than senior managers or the recruitment team to get a sense of what the organisation was like to work for.
Nearly a third of students just wanted an accurate sense of what it’s like to work for the organisation and details about the schemes available. Students that have enquired at an employer’s stand do expect a follow up with 66% citing the receipt of a personalised email as a preference.
Although the research does show many students are keen to follow up with employers from their shortlists, they can be swayed to visit an employer stand on the day of a career fair if it is imaginative and interesting. Over 90% of the finalists surveyed said they would visit an employer they had not considered in their career planning in this way.
Neil Harrison, director of research and planning for TMP Worldwide, said: "Even though it is clear that students want the opportunity to meet employers face to face, many students are not too sure how to make the most of these events. Employers have the opportunity through their other student channels to really drive interest and capitalise on their on-campus investment. Students are digital natives but still appreciate the personal touch."
Confusion on how to get the best from employer presentation is evident from the students’ responses. Well over 90% were not sure what a typical employer presentation consisted of, but 36% would attend a presentation from an organisation they felt had a good reputation.
The research also found students do embrace the opportunity to meet organisations and it will inform their career decisions; so be sure to invigorate your employer brand on campus as doing a bad job will put off students who may have you on their shortlist from their internet research.
This article was first published on hrmagazine.co.uk