Graduates still value the ‘milk round’, research shows

Graduate recruiters have been urged not to dismiss the “milk round” as part of their recruitment strategy after research revealed that final year students still value face-to-face contact with potential employers.

The survey of nearly 1,000 undergraduates, by recruitment firm TMP Worldwide, showed that 88% were likely to attend a fair during the autumn term while 66% said that they would the use experience to help them decide which organisation to apply to.

While many graduate recruiters have focused their recruitment strategy on online channels in recent years, nearly 80% of the students agreed with the statement: “you can pick up so much more about the culture and ambition of an organisation in a short conversation than you can in endless internet searches”.

The report, “Has the milkround gone sour?”, also revealed that:

  • Nearly 60% of students will be put off an employer if the people on the stand appear to be uninterested.
  • 56% of students do not want to be directed to a website when they come to the stand.
  • More than 45% were keen to meet graduate trainees rather than senior managers or the recruitment team to get a sense of what the organisation was like to work for.
  • Nearly one-third of students just wanted an accurate sense of what it’s like to work for the organisation and details about the schemes available.
  • Students that have enquired at an employer’s stand do expect a follow-up, with 66% citing the receipt of a personalised email as a preference.

Neil Harrison, director of research and planning at TMP Worldwide, said: “The most crucial finding for employers from this research is that students do embrace the opportunity to meet organisations and it will inform their career decisions; so be sure to invigorate your employer brand on campus as doing a bad job will put off students who may have you on their shortlist from their internet research.”

The research was unveiled as BT announced that it was re-launching its graduate recruitment scheme for 2011, after scaling back on the programme this year.

The telecoms giant, which said that 133 places would be available for graduates on the two-year leadership development scheme, revealed that it will attend university milk rounds across the UK to speak to potential applicants – something it did not do in 2009.

XpertHR is currently undertaking its annual graduate recruitment survey. This is your opportunity to keep abreast of the latest trends and developments in graduate recruitment.

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