One recurrent complaint we see from graduates here on WikiJob is how long the application process takes at the largest employers, and how difficult it is to get timely, helpful feedback. The good news is, firms are starting to act on this criticism, and looking to improve the process to make applications less frustrating.
KPMG recently took the initiative and conducted a survey of over 400 graduates, to ask them about their experience of applying to graduate schemes. The most common gripes were these:
- 1. Not being offered any feedback if they weren't successful (55% of respondents cited this)
- 2. Delayed or poor communication from the employer (43%)
- 3. Too long a wait to hear the interview outcome (34%)
- 4. The length of time the recruitment process took from start to finish (34%)
- 5. Too many stages in the process (28%)
Clearly, the biggest fault was perceived to be with communication - and graduates also seemed to feel that the recruitment process was overly complex and long. As Simon Collins, Chairman of KPMG in the UK, observed: "Millennials don't want to navigate a cumbersome and convoluted recruitment process when applying for a job. They no longer feel the need to play it safe, and most are now equally happy to work for a start-up or tech firm as they are a large traditional employer. As business leaders, this is something we need to understand and address."
- The phone interview, assessment centre and final interview will be merged into a single-day test
- Candidates will be told whether they are successful or unsuccessful within two working days of the assessment centre, and will be able to request verbal feedback on their performance within that same period
We thought this sounded like a positive step forward, so we spoke to Chloe Ross, Head of Attraction and Operations for Student Recruitment at KPMG, to ask her for some more details about the scheme:
What's wrong with the graduate recruitment process at the moment, according to graduates themselves?
"One of the biggest complaints relates to how time-consuming the process is. Graduates told us that there are simply too many stages in the process. Most applicants are in their final year of university, and are having to juggle their finals with deadlines for jobs and the process of applying to graduate schemes."
What problems is Launch Pad looking to fix?
"What we're aiming to do is reduce the number of stages candidates have to go through. As such, we're replacing the telephone interview, assessment centre and final interview with a single event, which will be assessed against KPMG's global behaviours. The aim is to create a whole new recruitment experience.
"The other problem we're looking to solve is the amount of time candidates have to wait on an offer, or to get feedback. So after the Launch Pad event, we’ll make sure all candidates receive an offer or are informed they’ve not been successful within two working days. All candidates have an opportunity to request verbal feedback on the performance."
How will graduates benefit from Launch Pad?
"One of the benefits of the new scheme is that senior members of KPMG will attend each Launch Pad, and candidates will get the opportunity to hear from them and discuss how KPMG operates as a business. Previously senior managers conducted final interviews, but now they will be there for the whole day, including networking opportunities.
"Other benefits will include: a quicker outcome; better business understanding; a better candidate experience; and more personalised feedback."
How will you monitor the success of the scheme?
"The scheme will be a success if candidates tell us that the process has become smoother, quicker and more positive. After each event, we will be talking to applicants (directly and via surveys) to get their feedback.
Of course, the other area we will be monitoring is that quality candidates continue to come through from our assessment centres."