“The graduate hires into our division this year just don’t seem to be of the quality of prior years.” So says the European division head, and it becomes the accepted position.
It’s only an impression, of course, presumably informed by anecdote from some (but maybe only one or two!) line managers, but because this senior leader has formed this view, it risks becoming the common understanding. And, it could then form the basis of dramatic decisions to change strategy for next year.
Or consider the opposite scenario, which is arguably more common. Although this year’s graduate intake were truly of a significantly lower standard than prior years, it presents too many problems internally for that to be commonly acknowledged, not least because of the unfortunate message to those (now colleagues) who were hired…
The fact is that ‘quality’ is the big, complicating variable in graduate recruitment branding. In some cases it’s even taboo. For FMCGs (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, which tend in many respects to drive the development of branding theory), almost all that matters is the quantity of product shifted – and that’s a doddle to measure.
If graduate branding was as ‘easy’ as FMCG branding, all that would matter is number of graduates hired. But it’s not that easy, because we care about the quality of those graduates.
In FMCG terms, it’s as if we cared not just about the quantity, but also the quality of the coins going in the till. This suggests that in graduate branding, often the recipient of less attention than that of consumer goods, we need to be more sophisticated, not less. And we can’t really have a meaningful conversation with the European division head who believes quality has declined (or that it hasn’t), unless we measure it.
How to do that in a meaningful and robust way? We can help. Graduate Promotions assists employers in implementing quality measurement to their graduate hiring. For more information, just get in touch.