Youth unemployment in 2017 currently represents just under 12-13% of all unemployment in Australia (Source: Labour Force, Australia), 9-10% in America (Source: Statista) and 12.2% in London (Source: Parliament UK Research briefings). Today many university/college and school leavers don’t get the luxury of that first “chance” at a job and have to fight in tough competition for their first opportunity. Do you want to be as job ready as possible?

Check out these stats:

  • Did you know that over 60 % of applicants are declined at application stage.
  • Did you know that 60 % of applicants are declined at phone interview stage.
  • Did you know that 50 % of applicants are declined at face to face interview stage.

Have you started considering the industry you want to work for? The skills you may need to display? How to apply and how to interview? Do you know about behavioural interviews and what a company really looks for?

Developed by Undercover Grad Recruiter, below is a decision cycle most students undertake prior to their first job search- what are your thoughts?

decision cycle

Stage 1- Decision Evaluation is the hardest part for most, which companies do I apply for, how do I choose the industry, what will my future look like working there, do I consider interstate or relocation to get into the field I want to work for. There are so many factors to consider here, a clear mind, rational thinking and laying out your thoughts, dream, goals and desires on paper will be the first, easiest step to clear decision making.

Stage 2- Companies chosen & targeted. Ok, so now you have the long list, time to make it a short list. On average, students apply for between graduate 3-10 jobs. Instead of simply deciding I want to apply for ‘X’ number of roles, decide based on the companies that are meaningful to you and your career and then have a few extra backups just in case.

Suggestions for making that long list short:

  • Speak with friends/ family/ networks and see what you can find out about the company from people who have had interactions with them or worked for them. You will get some great inside knowledge this way.
  • Have as many interactions with the companies that you can- go to careers fairs, connect with them on social media etc. This will allow you an insight into the people and culture.
  • Get out pen and paper
  • Write out what is important to you, just a few examples are- development programs, potential for travel, work life balance, industry, brand, career prospects, culture.
  • List the companies you are considering and write down next to them if they offer what is important to you.
  • Rank the companies in order of those that offer the most factors that you deemed where important to you. You will immediately have a shorter list now.
  • Now it’s time to decide how many of those the rank in the top of your list to apply for. Only decide a number once you have evaluated what you think each company can offer you.
  • You should now have your final list, get applying!

Stage 3- Apply to companies- OK so you are now at the gates, hoping to get let in. Trust us, knocking on the door nicely won’t help! This is where you need to tell the company exactly what you have to offer and why they must have you on board- The application blog which is being posted soon will run you through everything you need to know, get reading!

Stage 4- Undertake the Recruitment process- here is where the fun starts! Application forms, assessments, interviews and a whole lot more! Too often, we see students attend assessment centres and interviews unprepared, they could be the smartest person in the room, with the highest GPA or most internships under their belt, however needless to say, they are typically always unsuccessful. PREPARATION IS THE KEY. Know the company inside out you are going for, research everything from their company website to social media pages, their annual results (if published) to any newspapers they have reached or industry white papers- do your study, just like you would for an exam. Knowledge is power.

Stage 5- Secure job offer, woo hoo you have made it! By now, you will have typically spent 4-12 weeks through a graduate recruitment process. (Yes, your average graduate recruitment process takes 8 weeks). I hope you have at least 1 offer, many of you will have more than 1. If you haven’t been able to secure an offer, don’t give up hope & keep trying, lots of companies recruit all year round and as others decline offers, spots for you may open up.

For those with multiple offers, our advice is to choose wisely and choose for YOU. Don’t choose for a company just because they have offered you first and pushing you for an answer. As a recruiter, we have all experienced a graduate accept our offer, to only decline it sometime later. It happens and we are all aware of it. But what’s worse for companies is if you accept and start out of obligation to only leave 6 months later for that offer you should have accepted. Again, choose for you and not whoever has offered first.

Rule of thumb:

  1. Companies expect an answer to their offer within a week. Sometimes within 2-3 working days at the very least.
  2. If you have accepted an offer and happy, the right thing to do is to withdraw from any other recruitment processes if the job you have accepted is where you want be.
  3. You can decline a role after you have accepted, but just ensure you make the right choice as once you do there is no going back as typically your role is offered to the next in line.
  4. Money isn’t everything. Five- thousand dollars may feel like a lot now, but don’t sacrifice your future on that. Ensure you choose an offer based on what’s important to you –whether that be the career prospects, development program and opportunities, potential for overseas engagements or your values- choose on intrinsic reasons that will take you where you want to be in the future.

What many students forget about is the preparation stage, that vital stage that happens before and during every recruitment process, most students fall out of processes as they don’t take the preparation stage seriously. Preparation should be treated as a job in itself, not simply “I will prepare ad hoc prior to each stage”, that’s if you get through!

You will notice a theme by now- preparation! You will see this often, very often.


UC Grad Recruiter.