I am a careers adviser considering a move into graduate recruitment in the
private sector. I find the work in careers very interesting and contact with
students very rewarding. However, I miss the buzz of corporate life (I have
three years previous non-HR commercial experience). What might be a logical
step into the private sector? How much would blue-chip corporations (especially
law, investment banking and professional services) value my background? What
can I do to make myself more employable?
Doug Knott, senior consultant, Chiumento
In your job applications to blue-chip corp-orations, you need to highlight
the benefits of your experience – how your understanding of the values and
career aspirations of students could assist the organisation to attract and
retain highly-talented graduates.
To make yourself more employable, improve your knowledge of the selection
techniques used by large employers to recruit graduates. It may also be worth
obtaining a qualification in psychometric profiling which is often used as part
of the graduate recruitment process.
Also consider researching recent studies into graduate recruitment and
retention. Have a look at the main graduate internet recruitment sites and
ensure you understand the ‘market rate’ in terms of salary and benefits
packages for newly-qualified graduates. This will improve your ability to
discuss with confidence at interview the issues involved in graduate
Philip Spencer, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes
You obviously find your current role interesting and rewarding. Given your
lack of recruitment experience you may find it difficult to move straight into
a graduate recruitment role.
Organisations in the sectors you have mentioned tend to have extensive
formalised graduate recruitment programmes. They typically appoint graduate
recruitment managers/officers who have demonstrable recruitment experience and
an understanding of the sector.
Options open to you would be to gain direct recruitment experience with a
specialist graduate recruitment consultancy. This would develop your
recruitment experience while providing the vehicle to return to the private
Alternatively, investigate whether there is scope or opportunity to move in
to a recruitment role with your current employer.
With regards to professional qualifications to make yourself more
marketable, maybe you would consider studying for CIPD qualification.
Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS consultancy
You have to overcome a number of disadvantages if you wish to move into
graduate recruitment. The negatives that will be picked up by prospective
employers include your lack of HR experience and your lack of recruitment
experience. Your current role in the public sector may also be seen as a
negative by blue-chip organisations.
Organisations are always reviewing their graduate recruitment programmes.
While the traditional way was the university milkround, this has been seen by
many as costly and ineffective. They are now looking at innovative ways of
attracting graduates – this is where you may find a niche. Your approach needs
to combine business experience with your understanding of what people are
looking for in their career.
You should also consider a professional qualification to make yourself more
marketable and show your commitment. The CIPD offers a Certificate in
Recruitment, which may be a good place to start.