How to design an inclusive and effective graduate recruitment process

5 minute read

Posted by Emily Hill on 12 December 2023

Graduate roles differ significantly across companies and even within various departments of an organisation. Successfully identifying the right-fit graduates hinges on a robust recruitment process. This process not only assists internal teams in clarifying their needs but also ensures candidates have realistic expectations about their roles from the start.

Chris Platts, CEO and founder of ThriveMap has assisted numerous businesses in refining their graduate recruitment process, emphasising inclusivity to ensure a diverse and equitable hiring experience.

In this guide, he shares a step-by-step approach to constructing the optimal process.

Graduate recruitment step-by-step execution

1. Agree your hiring criteria

Initiate the hiring process by establishing a shared understanding of your criteria among hiring managers and stakeholders. This step is pivotal for success. If the desired attributes are unclear or there’s a lack of alignment across departments, it could lead to hiring the wrong individuals or overlooking excellent candidates, ultimately extending the time-to-hire

Graduate Program Assessment

2. Conduct a job analysis

Jobs change and evolve over time. A job analysis is a technique utilised to ensure the hiring criteria is reasonable and realistic.

If a job analysis has not been done in the previous year, then it’s imperative you do one.

Job analysis involves surveying and/or interviewing people in the job to get a realistic understanding of the current correct hiring criteria.

Please note that if your hiring process is deemed to be assessing attributes (behaviours, skills, knowledge) that aren’t job-relevant, then you can be sued for discriminatory hiring practices.

Use Signal to start your job analysis for free here

Job analysis tool: Signal by ThriveMap

3. Create an honest job advert

Following the establishment of your hiring criteria, create a job advert that is both honest and transparent about the nature of the work. Ensure that the advert is a genuine reflection of the day-to-day role by utilising insights from step two. Then validate the job advert by engaging stakeholders, including current role incumbents. Their input is invaluable in confirming that the job advert authentically aligns with the real responsibilities and expectations of the position.

4. Distribute the job advert widely

Disseminate job postings from your ATS across multiple job sites and talent pools to ensure widespread visibility and attract a diverse pool of applicants.

5. Run a social media campaign

Harness the power of social media for your graduate recruitment efforts, with platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram gaining popularity. Collaborate with your marketing department to strategise and execute a compelling social media campaign that engages and attracts prospective graduates.

6. Create an engaging stand for careers fairs

Recruiting for Graduate and Apprenticeship programs should include attending careers fairs, as such your ATS should have the ability candidates to register on an ipad or device on the stand (AKA “on-site”). Careers fair stands should be about candidate engagement, making it fun, interactive and providing something for the candidate to take away is key.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is graduate-recruitment-fair-1024x683.png

Some Graduate Recruitment Assessment providers, ThriveMap included, can create assessments to use at careers fairs, offering prospective new recruits valuable insights into your company and program.

7. Streamline application management

Channel all applications through your ATS for optimal organisation. Avoid retaining applications solely on external job boards. In the absence of an ATS, resort to using a spreadsheet for efficient tracking.

If utilising platforms like Indeed, guide candidates to apply directly on your careers page instead of relying on Indeed’s candidate management system. This ensures a centralised and streamlined application process.

Pre-employement tests

8. Simplify your application form

ATS application pages should be simple, quick and not include long-form interview questions or a cover letter without a good reason. 

ThriveMap hiring process
Example: Traditional versus ThriveMap hiring process

10. Use knock-out questions

Use simple, fact-based knock-out questions to eliminate ineligible candidates. Eligibility criteria will vary but may include things such as degree type and right to work status. Only use these criteria if you can prove that having that degree or right to work status is intrinsic to the nature of performing the job well. 

11. Stick to a clear program deadline

Set a deadline for program applications to close. Once closed progress all eligible candidates to online assessment stage at the same time. Make this process clear in your job adverts.

12. Set an assessment score threshold

Calculate an “assessment score threshold” based on the number of hires you need to make, the number of candidates per hire you’d like to invite at the assessment centre. For example, if you need to make 40 hires and want to offer 1 in 3 candidates, work out what candidate assessment score is needed for you to invite the top 120 scoring candidates.

ThriveMap's pre-assessment candidate dashboard example

13. Invite candidates to assessment centre

Invite all candidates above the assessment score threshold to the Assessment Centre; be mindful that not all candidates will still be interested and some may accept the invitation but not show on the day, if candidates don’t accept invite the next best scoring candidates. Auto-reject all remaining candidates once all Assessment Centre slots have been taken. 

14. Align assessment centre hiring criteria

Conduct the Assessment Centre (AC), have clear scoring for assessment items (e.g. exercises, role plays, interview questions).

Ensure scoring aligns with the online assessment’s hiring criteria. Misalignment between hiring criteria across these stages will lead to sub-optimal candidate conversion.

15. Offer same day final interviews

Progress the best scoring candidates at the AC to final interview, preferably on the same day and make offers. Provide unsuccessful candidates with personalised feedback and give them something to take away with them from the day.

Candidate analytics for pre-hire assessments

16. Retain your data

Keep all Assessment Centre data and send it to your assessment provider to run analysis on which attributes are most indicative of performance at Assessment Centre. Your provider should be able to use this data to make recommendations to improve your assessment for the following hiring cycle.

Want to see how ThriveMap’s custom graduate pre-hire assessments can transform your recruitment process?

Request a demonstration here:


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About ThriveMap

ThriveMap creates customised assessments for high volume roles, which take candidates through an online “day in the life” experience of work in your company. Our assessments have been proven to reduce staff turnover, reduce time to hire, and improve quality of hire.

Not sure what type of assessment is right for your business? Read our guide.

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