Effective graduate recruitment has long been an intricate process that many are striving to perfect. While there is no magic solution when it comes to doing so, the odds of finding the brightest stars of tomorrow can be enhanced if the correct business processes are in place. Finding leading graduates is however only half of the challenge and plans must also be developed in order to maintain a steady flow of talent over time.

Phase 1:  Finding the right fit

Knowing the type of graduate that will fit your culture is an essential first step that all must understand and clearly define. While the IG graduate recruitment process continues to evolve, many of the core desired attributes remain the same as those of their 1970s predecessors, notably a basic desire to succeed, a sharp mathematical mind, a yearning for added responsibility and the ability to go above and beyond. To ensure future success, an ever widening set of business skills are required, so having a deep understanding of needed roles in addition to the character traits required to succeed in your unique business environment is an important first step that many are often guilty of overlooking. Company culture is created over time so ensuring that all new recruits fit this from day one is essential.

Phase 2: Selecting the best

Once you have a thorough understanding of the type of graduate that will match your company culture you can begin to build the recruitment process to ensure you find those you are specifically looking for. The common language that all at IG speak is maths and for this reason we pride ourselves on our “Quick Maths Test” where client facing and dealing applicants must answer 101 basic arithmetic questions in five minutes. The test itself has become a cornerstone of the recruitment process and all who have passed will undoubtedly remember the resulting score. Wider tests are then instilled into the graduate recruitment process to find those that excel in verbal reasoning, team working and coping under pressure, all essential skills required to succeed at IG. Successfully identifying the true value behind the CV and selecting graduates that will both fortify and grow your business is no mean feat. However it is vital to ensure you have the right processes in place so that those with the desired skills and personality traits stand out in the correct way on the day.

Phase 3: Planning for the long term

Becoming a top employer is not just about finding and attracting the top minds, it is also about cultivating them. Sustainable processes designed to support development from day one are required, so that career paths can be developed in a transparent way. Graduates who apply to schemes often do so because they are looking for a well-defined career path. Plans for long term development must be in place to ensure that the best can excel to their full potential in your company.

Phase 4: Value learning

HR techniques are often guilty of being too similar and one area that is both required, and at times overlooked, is the need to regularly test the skillset of those that come through the door. Not only do regular tests offer an indication of personal development, they help to ensure that the skills needed to succeed are present at all times and by all people. At IG, successful candidates are given a deal taking test, taking the form of mock client calls with an experienced trader. This is just one way of ensuring that all graduates are comfortable in handling challenging situations should they arise. A “chaotic markets test”, taken after eighteen months of employment is also given to ensure that all employees have the necessary skills in place to succeed under pressure and in times of extreme volatility. Tests help a company to go beyond the baseline conversation about goals and reinforce the value of learning.

Phase 4: An evolving skill set

To remain competitive it is important to be able to adapt HR practices so that those positions in hot demand are catered for. An understanding of the future skillsets that will be required internally over time; whether it be a data scientist, a leading developer, a forward thinking marketer, a database administrator or a mobile expert are also required now to ensure that you are not left behind.

Phase 5: The key to success

In a tough economic climate, finding the right people to take your business forward has never been more challenging nor important. To uncover whether a graduate is really the right fit for your business it’s about fine-tuning tried and tested methods and in some cases, creating entirely bespoke exercises that mimic exactly what is required to succeed in your company. Finding and nurturing the best isn’t rocket science and if the corrected processes are implemented it can make for real competitive advantage, helping to ensure that your business continues to stay relevant.

Jackie Bornor, the Global Head of HR at IG