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How to successfully hire for graduate jobs in Leeds

As a thriving creative hub, Leeds has plenty of young talent for businesses to draw upon. But you might not be sure how to hire this talent, or even how to find it in the first place.

Luckily, Gloss is here to help. We’ll show you why Leeds graduates are worth considering, and what you should look for in a candidate. We’ll also discuss the best interview practices, and show how you can make yourself a great choice for graduate jobs in Leeds.

Why hire graduates in Leeds?

With five universities, Leeds is known as one of the North’s key educational cities. It boasts over 50,000 students and a thriving creative sector, with several marketing agencies making their home here. This also means that the top talent is highly sought after, and you need to know how to hire graduates as a result.

Graduates have several excellent qualities; they’re adaptable, innovative and passionate about what they do. More and more graduates are focusing on specific fields like graphic design, web development and digital marketing. At the same time Leeds’ talent pool is starting to shrink, making it essential that you attract this talent before your rivals do.

That said, hiring graduates has benefits beyond adding talent to your workforce. It signals to external parties that you’re future-proofing your agency by investing in the next generation. The optics of this have value, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Learn to spot the top talent

We’ve established that top talent doesn’t stay on the market for long, and sites like People Matters Global concur; according to them, the best candidates are off the market within ten days. Since the window for securing top talent is so small, agencies need to know what they should look for.

It’s important to remember that talent isn’t just the ability to fulfill a current job role. It also means the power to thrive at each stage of the company life cycle. Graduate hires have the most potential to adapt and grow their skill set at a company. They’re also more likely to provide long-term value when compared to, say, a specialist who’s set in their ways.

Don’t be fooled by ‘no experience’

A candidate’s lack of experience isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, and agencies shouldn’t treat it as such. A good Leeds creative agency has a diverse team with many different backgrounds and skill sets. Candidates can have valuable knowledge outside of work experience, and their passion and innovation can take your agency to exciting new heights.

Millennials made a huge splash when they entered the workforce, and we expect Generation Z to make a similar impact. The oldest members of Generation Z are hitting their mid-twenties, and agencies should reconsider their recruiting techniques if they want to attract them.

Use specialist recruiters for creative and graduate jobs

A lot of unspecialised recruiting agencies miss out on the best talent because they cast too wide a net during the candidate search. Remember that specialist talent is looking for specialist roles, particularly if they want to hit the ground running with their first job.

Specialist recruiters can help you cut through the noise and find the quality candidates you need. Gloss Recruitment’s experience working with graduates in creative roles (like graphic design and digital marketing) makes us an excellent choice for graduate recruitment agencies. Check out our guide to 2020’s in-demand creative jobs to see how we stay updated on the job market.

Streamline the interview approach of your team

Today’s agencies know that an interview is a two-way street; your candidate is evaluating you as you’re evaluating them. That’s why it’s important to train your team for the interview, and avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to the interview process. Not only will this make each interview more productive, but it will reflect better on you as an agency.

When you’re interviewing a graduate, you need to adapt your questions to better draw out their strengths. Instead of asking about work experience, consider asking about university tasks or group work—situations that help them highlight their abilities. Let them lead the narrative, but try to steer them towards useful information if needs be.

You can get a better sense of what to look for by considering your own team. Build profiles of your best employees; learn how they started out, their essential skills, and the skills that are nice to have. Try to reach agreements on what characteristics to look for in a graduate, to make sure they fit into your existing agency culture.

You should also make sure you involve your team in the recruitment process. Ensure you’ve got well-trained interviewers leading interviews with graduates. This ensures you will get an accurate picture of their abilities.

What are the signs of a good interviewer in my team?

A good interviewer knows exactly what the position requires. They use open-ended questions that encourage the candidate to go into detail, and paint a full picture of their skills.

Good interviewers also know the importance of teamwork. They interview a candidate alongside another team member, and this second pair of ears can corroborate their impressions. They can also offer another perspective if one of them isn’t sure of a candidate.

Finally, all good interviewers have a good instinct for people. They can look beyond things like ability and experience, and judge if the candidate will do well in a particular working environment.

Give them a task to fulfil

Nerves are a problem for many young candidates, but don’t write them off just yet! Someone who starts off shy could become your top employee with a little nurturing. Conversely, a candidate that’s extremely confident might not be able to back up their boasts in the workplace.

It’s a bad idea to rely solely on the interview when it comes to hiring graduates. Try pairing it with a tailored task—one that champions the kinds of skills the job requires. If you’re looking for some inspiration, why not check out our previous article on digital marketing job interview tasks?

Create and highlight a coaching culture at your agency

Generation Z is famous for their innovative spirit and eagerness to succeed. As such, Leeds’ graduates are looking for roles that let them learn and grow. Fomenting a coaching culture at your agency helps you to attract—and keep—these graduates, so make sure you highlight it before, during and after the interview process.

Signs of a good coaching culture include clear communication of job roles and regular discussion (by both parties) of the progress being made. Graduates should also feel like they can take ownership of individual projects.

Always supply feedback on the interview

Even if you’ve got candidates to see later, make sure you give each graduate your initial thoughts and feedback after the interview. This doesn’t mean that you’ve committed to that candidate, of course. It’s a way of demonstrating your professionalism as a company, that you value their time, and that you value graduates more widely.

Youth Project

Today’s graduates are an excellent addition to many Leeds agencies. However, agencies need to rethink the way they interview if they want to draw out a graduate’s best qualities. By considering graduates’ experiences, making graduates feel valued and understanding their own needs, agencies are well on their way to adding quality talent—and a fresh perspective—to their teams.

We at Gloss are always eager to hear from new clients. As one of Leeds’ specialist graduate recruitment agencies, we have a deep understanding of the city’s design, creative and digital marketing landscape. Its graduate population is a vital resource waiting to be tapped, and we’re here to help you find the ideal candidate for your agency.

Got some graduate jobs in Leeds with vacancies to fill? Get the ball rolling today, and submit your creative recruitment agency jobs on our Submit a Vacancy page.

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Learn what today’s graduates have to offer in creative roles, and how Gloss can help you fill vacancies for graduate jobs in Leeds.

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