One of the great challenges of graduate recruitment is its seasonality. It means that, for graduate recruitment professionals, a demanding role even in ‘the quiet times’ can go crazy at the peaks of the season.
Everyone understands that the increased workload and often longer hours of the autumn season goes with the territory of working in this function. However, it does present the risk of over-stretch and the risk that the team finds itself unable to cope with the kind of last-minute situation changes that almost inevitably arise at the worst possible moments.
For the sake of the effectiveness of the business’s recruitment effort, it is sensible, therefore, to build in a margin of error.
There are a number of ways to do this. One, of course, is simply to have a sufficient number of people in your team to cover off that margin of error through extra capacity even at the busiest points, but the problem with this is that it causes the team to be rather over-resourced during the rest of the year, and also it can blow corporate headcount restrictions. Another is to hire temporary workers, but these require induction/training and ongoing management, and getting the right number – neither too many nor too few – can be tricky. A third is to identify, well in advance of the season, which team functions likely to consume time during the season’s peak could actually be separated off from the team and entrusted to a partner (such as Graduate Promotions) to handle. This enables a team resourced leanly year-round to ‘buy’ extra capacity for the busy season, sufficient to include margin for error, in a relatively non-disruptive way.
One of the keys to this, of course, is in the planning, i.e. the determination of what can safely be separated off, and how it can then be discharged reliably.
Examples of the kinds of function which often lend themselves to such outsourcing, to name just a few, are: careers service, academic department, academic staff liaison; tracking and analysis of campaigns; campaign reportage; internal staff training and enquiry handling; travel and accommodation arrangement; design-handling, printing, procurement and organisation/dispatch of promotional items/marketing collateral; sourcing of event equipment, procurement and management; management of other suppliers; film production and photography; ongoing social media management and generation of social media content; student data collection; research; management of brand ambassadors.
It can be helpful to map out anticipated workload elements however, and consider each one individually to assess its separability.
Graduate Promotions works with employers as consultants to understand precisely how they need their tasks to be discharged, and then in building detailed project plans with reporting and milestones to ensure that it is done reliably. Because Graduate Promotions achieves economies of scale through its service to multiple employers not just one, prices are competitive and it is easy to build in contingency, if required, for those unexpected workload spikes.
Leaving aside, for one moment, the heroics expected of every graduate recruiter in the autumn, making your workload during that period a little bit more manageable, so that you can better cope with sudden ‘shocks’, can be a corporate necessity. A little planning now can mean the difference between ease and difficulty, and even success and failure.