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CN GRADUATE RECRUITMENT14 JUNE 2011 CN CONFERENCE-NEWS.CO.UKmanagement system that evaluates on-campus events. Fryer explains the company continues to monitor their success after joining.Generation YGraduate recruitment programmes - and the events and meetings associated with them - give organisations fi rst-hand experience of how the next generation - Generation Y - of employees will behave. According to Gilleard, although meetings, print and digital media all play roles in the recruitment mix, "It's not about recruiting only people you can see face-to-face. It is about having a complete engagement package where the elements integrate so that graduates can be given an accurate insight into their prospective employers. Young people respect that because they have grown up in a marketing-led society. They can see through the style and want to see the reality - warts and all.""Employers are always striving to reduce the cost per hire," Gilleard adds, "so recruiters have to decide which element of their activity gives the best return, which is where technology scores highly."Fryer agrees that graduate engagement is moving online. "This is the Facebook generation. Students don't have a lot of time on their hands."Recruiters are using social media more often as a marketing channel rather than as means of engagement. One graduate recruiter told the 2010 AGR Conference that they had to get sign-off for every tweet on their corporate account.A common concern is that social media allows potential and unsuccessful candidates to post comments that might be detrimental to employers' reputations. Candidates, on the other hand, are conscious that their digital footprint depicts them positively. As social media commentator Martin Edmondson puts it: "The smart move as a candidate is not to view this as a compliance activity, but to use the many facets of social media to their job-hunting advantage."Graduate accommodationThe need to engage with and reassure graduates that they are making the right career choices continues post-recruitment. Employers must deal with increased demand for accommodation, especially in London, where hotel occupancy rarely falls below 85 per cent.Grass Roots sources more than 28,000 room nights a year in London for recruiters of graduate talent. This includes Barclays Wealth and Barclays Capital as part of a management programme. The bulk of activity takes place between July and the end of October, with additional programmes from January to April. Most graduate recruits are housed in serviced apartments or fl ats, each of which has to meet stringent quality standards, be close to public transport and be within easy reach of the training venues. The role of face-to-face"Like many organisations we have been more keenly cost focused in the last couple of years," Deloitte's Julie Woodbridge explains. "We've tried various ways of inducting our people involving the use of video conferencing and other virtual approaches. What we've learned is that the employee experience is much more impactful face-to-face and so we have focused our approach to optimise these opportunities, using virtual media for follow up and ongoing connectedness."Key challengesFewer students are going straight into graduate roles, instead going travelling or into non-graduate roles. Fryer says this makes it harder to engage with them directly. "We have to think more creatively about how to reach this key target population," he says. "We notice more graduates being attracted to us because of our involvement in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Deloitte is the offi cial Professional Services organisation) and our commitment to CSR." 2011 and beyondThe Government's decision to allow universities to raise tuition charges to £9,000 a year raised fears that fewer school leavers will go onto higher education. Gilleard is not convinced. "There's a lot of misunderstanding about tuition fees," he says. "They were introduced in 2006, but in 2010 UCAS received a record number of applications for fi rst-degree courses, partly because the recession has prompted people to seek better qualifi cations. 2011 will be the last year before increased fees come in, so there will be a big rush to get into university." London 2012Some corporates will relocate their training programmes out of London for 2012, with the inherent danger that such relocation might become permanent. However Grass Roots' Sarah Chapman believes that the bigger issue is a lack of clarity around whether apartment operators will take a short or longer term view over rates. "We simply won't know which apartment blocks are available, or at what price, in 2012 until LOCOG announces what allocations it is taking."Sharing best practiceMore employers now have US-style internship programmes for second and third year students still at university and the basics of graduate recruitment remain the same: targeting the right campuses and engaging students with honest messages tailored to their requirements through the appropriate media. In return, employers want job seekers to regard what used to be called 'the milk round' as an opportunity to shape their lives.And there is the meeting of interests. CN*This article is an edited extract from the graduate recruitment programmes chapter of Grass Roots' Meetings Industry Research report 2011.tracking tools and an event

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