How to hire graduates in a post-COVID world

As UK employer confidence surged to a nine-year high this month following the final easing of lockdown restrictions, there were almost three times more graduate jobs in July 2021 than there in June 2020 – welcome news for the millions of young people fresh out of university.

In this candidate-rich market, how can you attract and retain this rich base of talent?

We’ve looked into how you could adapt your recruitment strategy to appeal to these new graduates.

Employer brand
Nine in ten Generation Z young adults say companies “have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues”. To attract these young professionals, you should show that you share these values and your commitment to supporting these causes. What are your policies on diversity and inclusion in the workplace? What steps have you taken to be more sustainable? How do you contribute to the wider community?

Tip: Ensure your employer brand, values, culture and personality appear clearly on your website or careers site.

Widen your networks

Your starting point may be graduate-only job platforms, but you should consider student job boards, specialised recruiters and social media to engage with graduates and promote your employer brand.

Tip: Establish a strong presence online by sharing blog posts and videos showcasing the stories of graduates that recently joined the company, and how successfully they were integrated.

Personal development 

With over 60 per cent of employers cancelling some or all of their work experience placements last year, many graduates missed out on work experience or placements. In this environment, employers promoting a clear path for career progression through learning programmes, training and personnel development can attract top talent keen to get started.

Tip: Fine-tune your job ads. Be clear in your description of the role, duties and responsibilities, and highlight how you can provide the right candidate career advancement with dedicated training.

Job stability and security

During these turbulent times, the majority of employees today cite job security as the most important factor for staying in a company. Graduates are no different. Because they might today be concerned firms might transition away from current working models, be transparent about any potential return-to-work plans or salary adjustments to draw in and retain talent.

Tip: Outline how you cared for your staff during the pandemic and what risk mitigation strategies for the future you have in place.

Open communication

Most employers were forced to switch to online recruitment and onboarding processes in 2020 – a daunting thought for first-time candidates who will need feedback at every stage of the process.

Tip: Be transparent about how you will support them during the recruitment process and what they may expect during video interviews or online assessment tests. Reassure them about how you plan to onboard them so that they find their place in the team.


Speak to us today if you are looking to invest in your hiring process to appeal to and retain top Gen Z talent.