Brought to you by

Ever thought of hiring a graduate?

Posted 4 years ago in Small business by
Posted by

Bringing a graduate into your small business can have real benefits. Grads are young, hard working and have a fresh outlook, meaning they could bring completely different ideas and insights. This is not a bad thing, as differences in skills and weaknesses means that coworkers can compliment each other.  If you decide that taking on a graduate is the next best step for your small business then there are a few things you’ll need to remember.

Firstly you must get their attention. You don’t need to be at physically on campus in order to do this, nor do you need to waste money on printing flyers or having a stand at a job fair. Nowadays many graduates are perusing the internet in order to find jobs, so there’s no reason why you can’t be recruiting online. Sites like GradConnection and Seek Graduate  are specifically designed for you to promote your graduate roles. In addition to this social network sites like Linkedin or Facebook are great starting platforms to connect with graduates.

Getting in early is essential. While there are always graduates looking for jobs, there’s a chance that the better pick of the bunch will be looking to have something lined up well before their graduation date.

You can do this by advertising your graduate roles closer to the beginning of the semester rather than the end. Or alternatively by offering between semester break internships. University students have between 3-4 months break at the year, and then around a month during the middle. This is a great time to take on a potential graduate employee as it lets you try before you buy, if you will, before fully committing to a long term contract. As well as this some universities, such as AUT require their students to partake in a co-op program. This is a 9 week or 360 hour placement with the aim of giving students the opportunity to experience the complexity of the real world of business first hand.

Being a small business means that you have the luxury of being able to tailor your recruitment process which can give you a competitive edge when it comes to a graduate choosing between you and a large corporate. When interviewing it’s important to remember that your interviewee is a student, which is different from the usual hiring process. You are also looking for potential, and not experience. Therefore you might want to ask to see their academic transcript. When looking at this you should take into consideration extra curricular activities or part time jobs. Students that manage to balance larger loads and still get good grades mean they are not only smart but good at working under pressure and handling conflicting priorities. Ask how far along the application process they are with other companies. Being a small business can mean you have the opportunity to act faster than larger organisations to secure a graduate, should you need to.

Once you’ve got a graduate on board it’s a good idea to explain your expectations. You must think like a graduate and assume nothing. They are new and will make mistakes, but until you’ve explained your expectations it’s unreasonable to assume that a grad would know where you stood. You should explain everything from when and how to call in sick, to appropriate work attire, it is worthwhile getting either another member of your staff or yourself to spend a day at least, going through an induction process. In addition to this you should have a feedback plan in place, also address problems as they occur but be sure to also acknowledge and positively reinforce achievements.

Grads are usually eager to learn and make a difference, they have the potential to be huge assets to your business.


July 31, 2016 at 1.24 pm

At BACESYS Limited, we took on a graduate civil engineer with a restricted working requirement of 20hrs. At first I though I would have to manage him every moment of the way. We have a very thorough new employee induction process even for a small business like ours. So we spent nearly a whole day inducting him and settling him in. The first 2 weeks he made mistakes, seemed slow, but I was patient as I know what it’s like starting out. His role is clearly defined and we have not deviated from that description from the time he was employed. This because we employed him with a focus of supporting our operations so we could continue to service our clients more effectively. Now I find that that first few weeks investing in him, training him up on processes and procedures has offered us the best return in employee performance. Our Grad is eager, efficient, brings fresh ideas and more importantly relieves me from over working long hours during the week. Employment can be an expensive process, however employing a Graduate is really extremely affordable and can create a positive long term employment relationship. Give it a go, I really recommend it.

Kate Coleman
August 1, 2016 at 7.57 am


I would love to hear from any organisation wanting to get involved with AUT Business Co-operative Education. We have 1000 students each year completing the programme over 5 different intakes which means that there are opportunities all year round for employers to engage with students.

Hein Preller
August 1, 2016 at 9.33 am

Great article – if the commencement date is some time in the future, it also gives us an opportunity to arrange logistics to make hiring a grad possible.
We will follow this route.
Thanks for the pointers
Superannuation Warehouse

Serena Marston
August 1, 2016 at 1.18 pm

ACG Yoobee School of Design have students graduating throughout the year and in December. We are always looking for internship opportunities and permanent/contract work in the following disciplines -Web Design & Development, Digital Media, Film, Animation, Graphic Design and Game Art & Development.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *