Three essentials for attracting top talent

Feb 21, 2019 | Attraction & marketing

TheJobCrowd surveys thousands of employees in graduate and apprentice positions every year. Managing Director, Simon Lewis, shares three essential requirements for attracting top talent. 

According to the ISE Annual Student Recruitment Survey 2018, recruitment volumes are increasing. Combine this with a shortage of top talent and it’s clear we are in a ‘seller’s market’ and candidates have a choice of a wide range of employers. It has never been more important to highlight your strengths as an employer to find a candidate ideally matched to your role. 


1. Have a great scheme

Simple, but an obvious place to start! Today’s graduates are a discerning bunch. No longer is it enough to offer attractive remuneration and a short commute – a wider range of factors influence their choice of employer: do you reflect their personal values, what’s the company culture like, what’s the work/life balance like?

The top three answers to the question ‘What attracted you to apply to this company?’ in TheJobCrowd’s 2018 graduate employee survey were ‘career progression’, ‘enjoyable work’ and ‘prestigious brand to work for’. 

Salary barely got a look-in from our reviewers, with just one in 10 highlighting that as a reason for applying to their employer of choice. So, while it is important to pay competitive rates, it’s notable this isn’t a particularly high priority for people starting out in their careers. This reflects a desire to get their teeth into meaningful work. Graduates and apprentices want to feel like they are valued and are adding value through their work, and also to feel they have a structured and transparent career path. So, if you regularly appraise and demonstrate that opportunities exist to progress within your organisation, the more attractive you are to potential employees. 


2. Communicate why your scheme is great

If you tick the first two boxes of career progression and enjoyable work, the third of these is a little less tangible. Just how do you build prestige? Get your brand out there!.A good way to start is to take part in employer rankings such as TheJobCrowd as nothing beats an endorsement from those on the front line. For wider awareness, you should consider which USPs your graduate scheme has, which messages you want to convey and through which media you want to communicate these. 

If you simply want clicks to your job advertisements, digital is probably the best option – but in terms of building a brand, the traditional methods (television, radio and print) remain king. Recent research from marketing and media consultancy Ebiquity, on behalf of commercial radio body Radiocentre (, has highlighted disconnect between what media buying agencies tell you and how different media actually perform. For instance, the performance of online video and social media were notably over-rated by advertisers and agencies alike, with a similar under-valuing of print and radio advertising. With this in mind, it’s worth reappraising your approach to media buying to ensure you have the correct mix. 

To establish your message, it’s also important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your graduate programme. Participants in TheJobCrowd’s Top Companies rankings have the option of purchasing a detailed report on the feedback received from their current graduates. This unique insight enables companies to obtain a comprehensive interpretation of their scheme from their employees’ perspective. The report also provides a comparison to other companies in your sector and the wider population.  


3. The application and interview process needs to be as streamlined as possible and enhance the brand

Once you have a grasp of the key selling points of your scheme, this should inform every stage of the applicant journey as you continue to reinforce the factors that make your scheme great. From the initial call to action, to interviews and making an offer of employment and beyond. These messages should permeate the entire recruitment process – potential employees will be looking out for them. Remember, the modern graduate and apprentice are assessing you as an employer as much as you are assessing them!

TheJobCrowd reviews are used to create its ‘Top Companies to Work For’. To get involved contact 

More insights on attracting talent can be found in the ISE surveys.

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