Understandably, new graduates often know very little about the graduate recruitment process. After all, they haven’t been through it before. This can lead to unrealistic expectations – they’re used to having everything at their fingertips on a smartphone and want the same rapid response from recruiters.
So, here’s a quick guide to the application process for a graduate position. And why you need to be patient during it.
writing a graduate position application that won’t get rejected
This is the, deceptively easy, start of the process. We say deceptively easy, because most people will be rejected at this stage. Don’t give anyone a reason to reject you by letting errors slip into your application, check everything you write. Then check it again.
Now, here’s what else to expect:
- You’ll probably be asked to apply online via the employer’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This will involve answering a number of questions or uploading your resume or LinkedIn profile for the ATS to analyse.
- You may get an automated email to say your application has been received, but it’s unlikely anyone will have viewed it at that point, so hold off following up with the recruiter.
- Because it’s so easy to access job opportunities on the internet you’re likely to be one of hundreds, possibly thousands, applying. All these applications need to be reviewed – even with automation and artificial intelligence (AI), this takes time. Stay patient.
- You may be asked to complete an aptitude or personality test, a psychometric assessment or even a gamified equivalent that assesses how you would react and deal with certain aspects of the job. The results will be used to rank applications, reducing the time a person is required to physically review them.
- If you survive the first cull, your application might be looked at by an actual human. This could take anywhere from one day to a week. Recruiters and hiring managers are likely to be recruiting for multiple roles, so give them some time review applications before chasing for updates.
- Feel free to send the contact on the advert a follow up email after two days to let them know you’ve applied. Include a couple of reasons why the role is of interest – keep it short, concise and polite.
how to ace The interview stage in the graduate position application process
You’ve made it to the interview stage, so give yourself a pat on the back but don’t pop open the champagne just yet. Here’s what to expect next:
- Before you’re invited to an interview you might undergo a short telephone screening. This is a quick assessment of your suitability for the role and salary. Treat it as a mini-interview. Once a time is arranged make sure you’re ready to take the call – it’s not unknown for candidates to be in bed, at a party or on the toilet, which isn’t a good look (or sound).
- You may be asked to do a video interview – this could be two-way and interactive or one-way and pre-recorded. Get comfortable with the technology and make sure you are well prepared. The two-way video interview is a test of your communication skills, your professionalism and how you fit with the company. A one-way video interview is more of a screening tool, but still not one to show up in your pyjamas for.
- If they like the look of you, you’ll be invited to a face-to-face interview. Some large companies recruiting lots of people might send you to an assessment centre where your problem-solving expertise, presentation skills and ability to work with others will be tested..
Successful candidates will then receive an offer, in which case you really can crack open the bubbly. If you’re unsuccessful, it’s still a valuable experience – you will have learned a huge amount from the process which will help you next time.
References will now be checked and you’ll be in a position to negotiate a starting salary. Verbal offers are negotiable nine times out of ten, but don’t push too hard. Research what the market rate is so that you know what to reasonably expect.
A straightforward recruitment process will take between 20 and 30 days to complete. More complex ones could take longer. Because some large firms recruit so many graduates they’ve refined the process down to a fine art. Most companies don’t have this luxury so don’t rush them – it never pays to harass someone who has your future in their hands.