How the right graduate program can benefit your business

How the right graduate program can benefit your business

A career in recruitment is not for the faint-hearted.  Exceptional communication and networking skills are essential, as is the ability to think strategically, work quickly and interpret complex briefs.  You need to deal with multiple parties in a transaction and balance their best interests.  Detailed technical knowledge is a must.  And a remarkable aptitude for building relationships with people is a non-negotiable.

Add to this Rowben’s core values of integrity, quality and commitment, and our list of employee attributes gets even longer – dedicated, ethical, persistent, collaborative, adaptable, flexible and resourceful.

It’s a lot of hats to wear, and it makes recruiting for recruiters one of our most difficult jobs.

We know we ask a lot of our employees.  But our industry demands it.  We also know that, with hard work, the right training and ongoing support, recruitment can be an incredibly rewarding career.  It’s our commitment to those latter two requirements – training and support – that led us to establish Rowben’s internal graduate program in 2015.

While we have a strong group of experienced recruiters who consistently deliver, we needed to take a long-term outlook.  This meant thinking about how to source and develop new talent with the right cultural fit for our organisation.  With some of the best career recruiters in the industry, and an unwavering commitment to our core values, who better to train and support our next generation of recruiters than us?

Being a boutique firm rather than a large organisation, we had to think carefully about how to structure and implement our graduate program – it had to be sustainable yet effective.  To this end, we realised that employing small groups of graduates would be the best fit for our organisation and enable us to deliver the required training and support.  Rather than committing to a prescriptive annual intake, we also saw the need to implement an agile program, taking on additional graduates according to our business needs and when we were confident that the previous cohort was at the right level.

We’ve developed a detailed program that sees our graduates trained in all facets of recruitment.  It comprises theory and practical elements to foster skill development and provide essential recruitment experience, as well as a detailed weekly program that ensures graduates are aware of their development goals and how to reach them.

The program has central components but is deliberately dynamic, allowing us adjust and fine-tune it based on our ongoing experience in delivering it.  And while it’s adaptable, the program is, at its core, designed to support graduates to become passionate and professional recruitment specialists who model our core values, deliver great service and take pride in performing their role.

In developing and delivering the program, we’ve learnt a few valuable lessons:

  • You can look for certain attributes when hiring graduate recruiters – people who work hard, are passionate and who take pride in their work. However, having had no industry experience, and with recruitment being such a unique industry, graduates really won’t know if they like or are suited to a career in recruitment until they experience all aspects of the role.
  • Really training people in recruitment means you need to train them in all facets of the industry – from administration to resourcing to account management. End-to-end experience is essential to ensure their continued success.
  • Selecting graduates who model our core values has been key to ensuring a good cultural fit for our organisation.
  • Graduates needs to understand and see the benefits of each task their role requires them to perform in order to embrace the recruitment process and excel.
  • Recruitment often challenges people to do things that take them outside their comfort zone – give people the right training and support and you’ll find they do well.
  • Involving the whole team in the program is essential – training sessions run by all team members and general ongoing encouragement generates an important a sense of team accomplishment and engagement. When you’re just starting out in recruitment, small wins are big wins!  Make sure your whole team knows this.
  • Developing recruitment talent is an ongoing commitment that requires you to provide continual development opportunities and support – training graduates up to a point and then leaving them on their own benefits no-one.

Our graduate program is now entrenched in our talent strategy at Rowben Consulting, and it’s producing great results.  While we continue to refine our approach, seeing graduates develop and grow in their roles has proven to be extremely rewarding.  So far, the program has delivered some outstanding graduates who have progressed through to Recruitment Specialist roles and are well on their way to becoming great career recruiters.  We can’t wait for our next cohort to get on board.

Author – Tracee Rowe – August 2016