Posts Tagged ‘Recruitment’

A strategy map for graduate recruitment teams

July 15, 2009

I thought it might be interesting to apply the strategy map idea to graduate recruitment (similar to my application of a strategy map in a news industry case study here).

What are Strategy Maps?

Strategy maps are a tool that organisations can use for communicating both their chosen strategy and the processes, systems and skills that will be required to implement that strategy. They demonstrate “the cause and effect links by which specific improvements [in assets, processes and staff attributes] can create desired outcomes.” (Kaplan and Norton, 2000, p168). They give employees, at all levels, a clear view of how their jobs are linked to the overarching objectives of the organisation, hopefully allowing everyone to work in a cohesive manner towards achieving the organisation’s goals.

The Strategy Map, as a progression from the Balanced Scorecard, “show how an organization will convert its initiatives and resources – including intangible assets such as corporate culture and employee knowledge – into tangible outcomes.” (Kaplan and Norton, 2000, p168). The measures from an organisation’s balanced scorecard are based upon the strategy map, which connects the desired outcomes of the strategy with the measures which will drive those outcomes.

The Four Perspectives applied to graduate recruitment:

These are the points which I believe will, through a cause and effect relationship, allow the department and ultimately the whole organisation to meet its objectives.


  • Improve corporate performance by attracting and retaining better people.
  • Reduced operating cost through improved efficiency
  • Greater asset and staff utilisation.


  • Product Leadership – through market leading graduate scheme and easy to navigate & professional recruitment process
  • Customer Intimacy – Nurture relationships with potential employees.
  • Operational Excellence – Set tough targets and aim for fast, accurate and helpful recruitment experience.

Internal Process:

  • INNOVATE! – Embrace new methods like social media etc.
  • Improve customer value through improved customer management processes – Engage with them, project positive image through efficient procedures.
  • Become a good corporate citizen through fully transparent recruitment criteria and processes.

Learning & Growth:

  • Employee Competencies – Train in new technology and methods; support recruitment staff with gaining professional qualifications.
  • Technology – Be open to adopting new technologies and methods, such as social media tools.
  • Culture – Encourage functional excellence. Create an holistic company-wide view. Be more open…

My proposed strategy map:

Graduate Recruitment Strategy Map

Graduate Recruitment Strategy Map

This is just a rough idea of what I think graduate recruiters should be aiming to do (although I only know it from the applicant’s side). The above strategy map is for the graduate recruitment team, but could be for the HR department as a whole. I see this as part of a wider company-wide process of looking at the organisation’s strategy as a whole, and then individual departments/divisions having their own strategy maps to allow for greater detail and relevancy for those employees to see how their roles “are linked to the overarching objectives of the organisation.”

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Impact of Web 2.0 and Social Media on graduate recruitment

June 21, 2009

In this post I want to explore what kind of impact Web 2.0 and social media are having on graduate recruitment and how I think recruiters should tackle it.

Quick summary of Web 2.0 and social media:

Web 2.0, described by the founder of Flock as the ‘participatory web’ is all about websites providing a platform for users to share, collaborate, and interact with each other (i.e. Flickr, Facebook etc.). Social media on the other hand is content created by ordinary users using easily accessible tools; according to Wikipedia it is: “transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.” It can be seen in the form of blogs, forums, wikis.

So what impact are these having on graduate recruitment?

I see it impacting in two main areas: (1) information about companies and their recruiting processes getting much greater exposure, (2) students and graduates making much more informed decisions about which organisations to apply to.

1. the rise of blogs, social networking sites, forums and wikis have led to a massive increase in the number of people sharing their experiences of companies, their recruitment processes, and what is actually involved in a job. So students and recent graduates now have much more information readily available to them than even five years ago. There are both positive and negative aspects to this… applicants may share the details of recruitment processes, I don’t think companies are particularly pleased when details about their current assessment centre case studies appear on the internet! But it can lead to candidates being more prepared for what to expect, reducing their nerves and enabling the company to see the true person.

2. With all of this extra information available at their fingertips, students/graduates are able to make more informed choices about their future careers and graduate employers. By having all the information about a particular role, career, or company available at their fingertips graduates are able to refine their job search to the most relevant careers and companies, and make more informed, relevant and honed applications. Benefiting both the applicant and the recruiters.

So how can recruiters get the maximum benefit?

Some organisations were quick to get a presence on social networking sites, and some of the biggest graduate recruiters have had diary-like “blogs” (PwC used to, but I can’t find any on their website nowUpdate: PwC now have a section dedicated to blogs by 8 employees at PwCPeople). But in the beginning these invariably were monologues, with no two-way conversations between readers and ‘publisher’. The only way I can see organisations benefiting from either a presence on social networking sites or engaging in social media is to provide and maintain a dialogue with the readers. One good example I have found is Ernst & Young‘s Facebook page , where someone is actively involved on “the wall” responding to and encouraging questions from prospective applicants. But this is only US-focused… What are the EY’s HR people doing in the UK about engaging with social media?

I see this simple act of engaging with applicants (much like real-life graduate job fairs), as adding to each applicant’s experience of the organisation, and that may help sway them to apply to your roles. Having a page on your careers website where someone writes a diary about their work life, while providing a good idea of what is involved in a career, does not really cut it in terms of answering people’s questions and providing a human aspect to the big corporate image!

But what about the things the recruiter cannot control?

With all of this user-generated content, it is possible for a few people sharing a negative experience of your organisation for your image to take a big hit (i.e. “Dell Hell”). To counteract this, not only is it necessary to have a right-first time approach to costumer-facing areas of a business but also to engage your target audience on their own turf. You have to be involved in the parts of the web where people might post comments, questions, or rants, and ideally respond to them, get involved.

That may be very hard with the likes of Twitter, but on targeted forums (such as those at WikiJob) it would be possible for a recruiter to develop a good dialogue with the people they need to attract to their organisation. I can see that this may pose issues for many organisations in terms of cost for someone to sit there and answer questions. But they could make a good start by embracing the ‘democratisation of information’ and opening up about all the steps in their recruitment process and what they are looking for (e.g. on the wiki pages at WikiJob).

Richard’s Conclusion…

Social media and web 2.0 platforms are here to stay, and with ever more internet savvy students and graduates it will be a necessity for graduate recruiters to get involved and by developing a dialogue with your target audience portray the true culture of the organisation, not stick to the publishing model of brochures and static websites dictating what you are about. Let graduates feel it and make their own mind up, trust me they will be taking what you say in your brochures with a HUGE pinch of salt. They would rather hear what it is like, and what is involved, from a real person (preferably one of their peers).

So recruiters: you will have to do it eventually, so why not start now and be the company all the graduates want to work for!

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WikiJob Poll: Is the recession over?

June 17, 2009

This is the latest post in the WikiJob Poll analysis series. This time I will be looking at WikiJob users’ views on whether or not the recession is over, and how that compares with other people’s views.

The latest poll asked “Is the recession over?” (with answer options of Yes or No) and as of writing this there have been a pretty credible 262 votes cast. With an overwhelming victory for those thinking the recession is not over yet; 216 votes compared with 46 votes for ‘Yes’ (see Chart 1).

WikiJob Poll: Is the recession over?

Chart 1 - WikiJob Poll: Is the recession over?

I had been keeping an eye on the poll’s progress and that ratio has been pretty consistent from the very beginning so it would appear that WikiJob users have not experienced much, if any, of the supposed “green shoots” appearing in the economy.

The CBI recently announced that it believed the UK economy was stabilising but that we wouldn’t begin to see a return to growth until early 2010. ( This was based on the second quarter GDP and inflation results along with the CBI’s own forecasts.

On the 17th the Office for National Statistics released the latest unemployment figures with a rise in May of those claiming job-seekers allowance of 39,000, less than what some economists had predicted.

Most WikiJob users would, I guess, base their impression of the recession on their experiences and probably from a jobs perspective (given WikiJob is about jobs!). I am sure there are many students who have just finished their exams, and who have been unable to get a position lined up earlier in the year, who are now really stepping up their efforts in finding a graduate role, but coming up with limited opportunities and massive competition. The stats aren’t great: with a fall of nearly 5% in the number of 18-24 year olds in employment.

The poll results probably also reflect the industry preferences of the WikiJob users (see Chart 2).

WikiJob Poll: What industry are you most interested in?

Chart 2 - WikiJob Poll: What industry are you most interested in?

With the users’ interest  heavily concentrated in the financial and professional services industries [Accounting, Consulting and Banking account for over 2/3 of respondents]. I see the banking and consulting sectors as being particularly hard hit (out of the options), slightly less so the large accounting firms. But still none of these compare to the pain being felt in the manufacturing sector in particular by the smaller specialist manufacturers which the UK seems to specialise in.

From what I have read many, better-informed people than me, believe that while the economy is showing signs of stabilising and some even believe there may be some positive signs. But current students and recent graduates don’t seem to be experiencing these, and are currently pretty pessimistic. An interesting employer perspective I received in talking with graduate recruiters druing my job search was that those companies who completely cut their graduate recruitment following the dot-com crash found that in the last couple of years there is a dearth of people coming up through the ranks to occupy the vital junior/middle management roles, which was why they hadn’t cut their graduate recruitment this time round.

I will close with a couple of quotes:

Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said: “We are certainly moving in the right direction and this is one of a number of very encouraging signals that we have seen.”

and finally Stephen Boyle, Head of RBS Group Economics, said in his UK Monthly Economic Update “Signs of stabilisation are one thing, a sustained recovery is an entirely different matter as demand conditions remain weak. The sustained upward movement in long-term interest rates in recent months threatens to pour weed killer on any green shoots…”

Good luck in your job hunting, many jobs are still out there, at least you are giving yourself an advantage with the fantastic resources available on Wikijob and its forums.

WikiJob Stats Man (read more of my thoughts at

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WikiJob: A Profile

February 8, 2009 is a British website aimed at students and graduates seeking to find out more information on career choices, employers, and recruitment processes.

We are the first candidate focused graduate recruitment website and the largest job search community on the Internet.

As the name suggests, WikiJob has a wiki-based area, where anyone can choose to create pages detailing any company’s recruitment details and processes (i.e. this page for PwC). There are also wiki pages devoted to all the different types of assessment which companies use in selecting people for their graduate programme. On one page, describing competency based interviews, a favourite of graduate recruiters, there is a very informative video by one of WikiJob’s co-founders.

WikiJob’s crowning glory, however, is its forums. Here anyone (once registered for free) can ask questions about pretty much anything. From what it is like to work for Company X through to help in preparing for Company Y’s assessment centres. The most active part of the site is naturally the forums, and the most active industries are accounting/professional service firms and financial services, probably reflecting fairly accurately the distribution of graduate jobs in the marketplace.

If I was reading about such a website, the first thing I would think is that once people have been successful and been offered a job they will just leave and never come back. While partly true I am sure, there are many people who are willing to give back to their community of fellow students and graduates, ensuring that WikiJob has become a valuable source of information for anyone applying for graduate schemes in the UK.

Having been through many of the graduate recruitment processes over the last year and finally been successful, I have been devoting some time each week to answering other people’s questions, and it has actually been quite rewarding to see that people I gave answers to have received job offers!

In October 2008 WikiJob received over 150,000 visits and approximately 850,000 page impressions.

Our users consist of students, university graduates, graduate job seekers and current graduate employees at city firms. We are also regularly visited and edited by careers advisers and graduate recruiters from many major firms.

Considering there is little, if any, promotion of WikiJob the above figures are quite impressive, and demonstrates the power of word-of-mouth. In the About pages there are some great little videos describing WikiJob to Companies and Candidates.

WikiJob also provide some paid-for services which help to keep the website running; these include interview coaching, application form reviewing, CV and covering letter writing etc.

So check out which is the definitive place to get answers to your questions on any aspect of graduate recruitment.

In a later post I will try and look at WikiJob as a community of practice, and as knowledge sharing in action.

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