graduate attraction

5 tools to help graduate recruiters make sure they’re not a proper Charlie.

A couple of weeks back, there was a party that Charlie and Jon decided to head to. Neither of them knew anyone that was going, except for the host of course.

As they arrived they got into the swing of things. Charlie, who was loud and gregarious, jumped right in – he started doing the rounds, interrupting people’s conversations to introduce himself, talking about his job, his girlfriend, where he lives and so on.

Jon however was a little less sure of himself. Being the shy type he was not so keen on interrupting people mid-party to talk about himself. He wanted to make a good impression, but he decided that maybe listening and understanding these people – background, personalities, preferences – was perhaps the more intelligent approach.

The night was going great, the two friends were enjoying themselves, the music was good and the drink was flowing. Jon had lots of people around him, engaging in good conversation, laughing at his jokes and buying him drinks. They wanted to spend the evening with him because they felt he understood them. He was connecting so well with other guests.

Charlie however was not having such a great time. He was speaking to lots of people, sure. But nobody was really listening. He found that after 5 minutes people would wander off and he’d be left looking for the next group of guests he could start talking to.

Jon left with a whole load of new friends and even a girl’s number…the lucky rascal.

Charlie on the other hand didn’t – and he couldn’t figure out why.

We see a lot of approaches to social from a broad range of employers who ask us to plan their strategy and begin conversations. The key trend we always seem to spot is that they all want to jump right into the party, much like Charlie. They want to use social media as a megaphone to shout about their message. When what they should be doing is taking a leaf out of Jon’s book and using it instead as a set of speakers to listen to what people are saying.

Social listening is quite literally that. Listening to what’s being said about your brand online within social communities – blogs, forums, corporate pages and social channels. It can help you understand where you’ve been mentioned, and in what context. You can then begin to compare that to those you compete for talent with which is incredibly useful for benchmarking your strengths and weaknesses.

Knowledge is power as they say and understanding the good, the bad and the ugly will put you in a great position to build out a plan of action – whether that plan focuses on being disruptive, challenging misconceptions or outright education – you need to truly listen before you speak.

Here are a few free tools to help ensure you don’t make a proper Charlie out of yourself.

Hootsuite & Tweetdeck – widely used to plan outbound messages, but have some functionality to monitor and allow you to gather data and respond in real-time.

Twazzup – great for beginners looking for a Twitter monitoring tool

Social Mention – allows you to monitor and collect data across multiple platforms with basic analytics to help you measure positive and negative sentiment

Icerocket – specialises in blog searches but has the functionality to watch Facebook and Twitter too

Google alerts – a very basic way to discover when a websites is posting about you. Doesn’t cover social and is probably the least useful in a recruitment sense

We hope you’ve found this little introduction to buzz monitoring useful. If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help you really listen, then pop over to http://www.tonic-agency.com and get in touch.

10 steps to becoming a more attractive graduate employer

Reputation is a funny old thing. By definition it’s a widespread belief that someone or something has a particular characteristic – something that makes it unique.

In today’s employer marketing arena, being unique is a commodity that many simply don’t have. When it comes to standing out from the crowd, being heard and generating real space between you and the competition, many employers think they’re #winning, but in reality they’re out there sounding and acting just like everyone else.

There’s a Dutch photographer called Hans Eijkelboom. He’s created a collection of ‘anti-sartorial’ photographs entitled, ‘People of the 21st Century.’ He walked round town with a camera round his neck and the trigger in his pocket, snapping people while they were unaware. Sounds a little stalkerish but the way he arranged these photo’s is what we’re focusing on here.

In a world where we all think we’re individuals choosing to look, dress and act in a way that reflects our personality and celebrates our individuality, it’s remarkable just how identical we all actually look.

Have a quick look here to see what we mean.

So where are we going with this?

How can you grab someone’s attention, and keep it, when you’re only as appealing as the next employer down the road? How do you really take that step from aspiring to be different, to truly leading the pack and setting a great example? How do you become the envy of the competition?

In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing 10 pieces of content with you, the graduate recruiter, as you begin to assess your recent performance, define goals and objectives and plan for the year ahead.

Our aim is to make your life easier, so we’ll be sharing success stories, examples of client work and the results achieved, as well as some of the latest thinking that will help you to effectively manage your reputation, persuade and influence your audience and build those all important conversations on and offline.

Follow us on Twitter, Linked In or Google + to stay up to date, or follow our blog using the follow button to the top right of this post to receive an email each week when new content drops.

Of course, if there’s any topics you’re particularly interested in then be sure let us know, and we’ll even create your own personal bit of content around that topic and share it with our wider community to fire up a discussion and get our readers input.

See you next week and have a fabulous weekend!

The team at Tonic

http://www.tonic-agency.com

Everyone’s in the game!

“Diversity is a reality, inclusion is a choice.”

KPMG were keen to promote inclusiveness on campus, and our crowd game helped them to do just that. We invited students who didn’t know each other to step up and take part in a fun and engaging game. The goal was to control a virtual hot air balloon on screen by using your body. Waving your arms left and right would move the balloon in the respective direction on screen. The idea was to get from start to finish as quickly as possible and clinch 1st spot on the leader board.

However, there’s a couple of twists. Firstly, you’d need to avoid the flocks of geese, lightning bolts, UFO’s and oncoming airplanes that try to pop, zap and shred you on your way to the finish line.

Secondly, students would need to work together to ensure that teams of up to 15 players were all moving together as one. Find out more by watching the video here.

Why do graduate recruiters have to work much harder today to get the attention of candidates that used to be easy to hire?

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A combination of business, communications, economic and social factors have come together to create an environment that makes your life as a graduate recruiter harder every year. As if it wasn’t hard enough, right?

These impact the role of a graduate recruiter – so much so that the job we all do now is significantly more complex, challenging and stressful than it used to be.

But, what are the changes? What can we do about it? How can we be more effective? All questions we’re going to be addressing in our next series of blogs. Starting here with a look at the shift in context that students and employers are working within. Firstly education.

Changes to Higher Education funding have influenced where people choose to go to university, meaning that the kind of talent employers usually look for is increasingly found in more unusual places.

There is also a larger proportion of students graduating now who aren’t considered employable by many businesses. To add to this, the marketplace is becoming more crowded and noisier as employers try harder than ever to get the attention of students from a younger age.

A new social network seems to pop up every month and conflicting stats around mobile can make you second-guess your efforts. And of course you have to bear in mind that the younger generations are becoming increasingly skeptical and are far less likely to give up their trust so easily.

Essentially, there’s a lot more to consider today than ever before. These factors are driving a high level of change in the way employers approach how they choose to communicate with the people their business needs. Or at least they should be.

When we look at the core principles of building and strengthening relationships with the people you need, we see that these can be broken down into basic elements:

·       Where are they?

·       What messages do they need to hear?

·       How can I engage and support them?

·       How can I dissuade the wrong and persuade the right people to apply through
        conversation?

·       How can we make the onboarding process as engaging and informative as
        possible?

These are some of the questions we’ll be looking to answer in this blog. Along with… how can we deliver our message in a human and authentic way that reflects the candidate and her/his community? How can we create credible communications that transcend the functional elements of your brand and connect at a much deeper, emotional level? How can we pull the people we need to us, as opposed to pushing our messages onto them and hoping they’re heard?

We’ve had experience helping some of the world’s largest brands answer these – and it’s been an immense amount of fun helping them. We’ve created world-firsts and won awards for our clients along the way.

What we’ve discovered is that there’s no golden rule that will help to make you more attractive to graduates and school leavers overnight. However, there is a slight change in mind-set that you can apply to your communications strategy that will help you to become more social, mobile and personal, and ultimately help your business become more human, more valuable and more trusted – all of which pay a vital role when it comes to influencing sentiment around your brand.

In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at the change in thinking that’s required to help you position your brand as an attractive and valuable source within the communities you hope to attract talent from. We’ll break each section down, looking at what has been the more typical approach and compare that with the unorthodox thinking that’s necessary in today’s market. 

We really hope you enjoy reading this, and we’d love to hear your comments and feedback. You’ll be able to find our details at www.tonic-agency.com

First impressions count. Not just at uni, but for years afterwards.

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We’re big fans of the focus that employers place on hiring future talent. And why wouldn’t we be? We work with some of the world’s best-known employers to build their employer reputations. Graduate recruitment marketing – especially in the UK – is amongst the most competitive, most innovative, most dynamic and fun areas of employer marketing to be involved with.

Good news then that research released this week by HighFliers points to a resurgent graduate employment market in 2014. Hundreds if not thousands more roles will be open to those coming out of UK universities looking to start work in the autumn.

More good news. This time for those new graduates who just invested in paying tuition fees and living costs for the past few years and need to begin paying off that debt.

Some interesting changes have happened over the last few years however, suggesting that all may not be returning to the status quo as the economy improves.

The same research suggested that more than one in three of those vacancies will be filled by candidates who’ve already completed a placement of some sorts with their future employer. Good news again for the proactive, career minded student. Not so good if you’re less inclined toward planning your career and more inclined towards studying for your degree.

Just think. One third of all vacancies that are not open to application. What does that mean for graduate recruitment? And, what does it mean for those of us tasked with recruiting graduates? It’s clear that the future leaders we’re aiming to hire and develop (that’s why we hire graduates rather than those from earlier in education right?), are as keen as we are as employers to try out the working relationship before making a commitment.

So it seems that graduate recruitment through the milkround is not as tied to the concept of finding the next generation of leaders as it once was. And, if the annual autumn milkround circus is less important in finding the people that end up getting hired, what is all that marketing for? Come to think of it, if the decision to hire is made way before degrees are awarded, what is the purpose of recruiting graduates? Why not just hire earlier?

As one of our clients said to us recently it’s a bit more complicated than that. Graduate recruitment (and the associated marketing effort), serves many purposes.

It is partly about filling actual vacancies of course. Those people hired may or may not choose to stay with that employer for the whole of their career, if they do it’s a good investment to pay more in attracting, training, paying a higher salary and associated benefits. Unfortunately, statistically they’re more likely to move in a few years time. In which case it’s not. The investment simply serves to get people ready for their next job – perhaps in a competitor organisation.

However, as a means of providing early insight into the reasons to join a business, the process of the marketing of graduate vacancies is difficult to beat. If we are seen as a great place to work in those formative years then this memory of our offer will stay with the people we need for the whole of their career- irrespective of whether they join us or not immediately.

The future leaders we hire are influenced by their first impressions and do remember the good and the bad. I’m certain that we all can recall from our own experience who we’d work for if we had the chance. How would you respond if that company approached you now? Do you feel any more positive or negative about them?

Graduate recruitment is changing. We have to think both ahead of the curve and for the long- term if we are to maximise our ROI. Very little of our energy should be focused on being part of the final year application fest that happens each autumn. We won’t hire the best people that way.

We’re going to start exploring the traditional and contemporary models of graduate recruitment over the next few weeks – which is better and why. We hope you’ll enjoy the blog series over the next few weeks and hearing what you have to say.

Don’t forget to follow our blog to keep up to date with the latest thinking and pop over to http://www.tonic-agency.com to get in touch.

+Tonic Agency Ltd