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Why hire graduates at your startup: How to attract graduates

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In the past, the majority of graduates have been drawn to large firms in search of high salaries and structured career progression.

More recently, however, startups have started attracting graduates who are hungry to learn, develop, and gain new experiences.

There are a number of reasons why you should use a hiring plan to get graduates into your startup.

We’ll cover these reasons, as well as how to actually go about recruiting new graduates.

In 5 short minutes, you’ll be an expert.

Why hire graduates? A quick summary:

Why hire a graduate at your startup? 🎓

  • In a survey of graduates conducted by Give a Grad a Go last year, just 11% said that inadequate pay was their biggest career concern.

    46.2% of graduates stated that going into a job without progression was more of a worry.

    This suggests that graduates value career development, variation, and learning just as much as they do salary.

    This makes graduates a great match for fast-growing startups that are unable to offer sky-high salaries.

    Of course, salaries are still important, and it is crucial to pay fair and equal salaries to your graduate hires.

  • One of the primary reasons companies choose to hire graduates is that, for the most part, graduates offer a clean slate.

    With a range of transferable skills, and an eagerness to learn and develop, graduates will likely be willing to commit themselves to your businesses’ long-term plans.

    This is helped by a strategic onboarding plan and a clear training and development programme.

    With these, you give graduate hires the chance to understand and absorb your company’s way of working.

    And, as this will likely be their first full-time job, graduates can find it easier to adapt than hires that come from different companies.

    Over time, you can guide your graduate hires towards future managerial roles – as your business grows, they can grow with it.

  • Straight out of university, uninfluenced by previous jobs, and having just arrived at your company, graduates will be able to offer a completely new perspective.

    Their fresh perspective will enable you to look at things in a different way and modify out-of-date practices.

    Graduates are also likely to be in tune with current digital trends, something that will prove extremely valuable as technology continues to revolutionise every industry.

    This will also be invaluable in advancing your online presence.

    Companies that hire graduates, on the whole, tend to stay on top of big technological swings better.

  • One of the most obvious similarities between startups and graduates is their drive and ambition.

    A key benefit of hiring fresh graduates is that they have only just finished their degree. This can be spun as inexperience, but we see it as a huge plus.

    If you’re recruiting new graduates, they will want to prove themselves from the very start. They’ll look to learn as quickly as possible, move up the ranks, and make a genuine impact on your business.

    Graduates are aware how important early career development is, so let your company be their arena for progress!

    In a small team where each individual needs to pull their weight, this kind of innate drive will be invaluable in helping your startup grow.

    Why hire graduates? Because it makes too much sense not to!

  • In their 1st or 2nd roles, graduates are likely to be more flexible and open to opportunities in terms of working hours, out-of-office training, and travel.

    Having just come from attending early morning lectures and working all-nighters in the library, graduates will often be more willing to move their schedules around.

    Plus, it’s likely graduates won’t have as many home commitments as your more experienced employees.

    One of the main reasons that graduates want to work at startups is because of the variation and opportunities that they can offer.

    Graduates are looking for as much professional experience as they can absorb.

    So, it’s likely many will be excited by the idea of travelling, spending time out of the office, and working in changing situations.

    This is the sort of flexibility and adaptability that a fast-growing startup requires. And startup companies that hire recent graduates will find their employees finding their feet very quickly.

How do you attract graduates to your startup?


Hopefully, you no longer need to ask yourself ‘why hire graduates’?

The next step is to work out how to attract graduates.

It can be hard to know how to hire the right person, especially when there are so many graduates looking for jobs.

Often the startups we work with want to hire grads but struggle to attract top talent to their business when competing with big businesses.

So, how do you stop big companies from dominating graduate recruitment?

  • A recent survey found that 61% of undergraduates thought that they would learn more skills and develop quicker in a smaller business.

    On top of this, 77% thought they would receive earlier responsibility.

    When employing graduates, startups need to use this information to their advantage.

    Emphasize to graduates (in your job description, on your website, and at interviews) that they can expect fast-track progression that they may not be able to get elsewhere.

    This is a really good way to ensure you retain graduates that you have invested in.

  • A job description is usually the very first thing that familiarises potential candidates with your company and the vacant role.

    Just like the first time you review a graduate CV, first impressions count.

    With thousands of companies all hiring recent graduates, crafting a solid job description is crucial.


    How do you write an attractive job description?

    • Be transparent about the role: clearly define your expectations and the type of candidate you are looking for, so that top graduates can easily ascertain their suitability for the role.
    • Highlight your job benefits: evidence your company culture through a list of key benefits, including the likes of training opportunities, bonus packages, company socials, holiday packages, and rewards schemes.
    • Show off your company: cite numbers that show how rapidly you have grown, list high-profile clients you have worked with, and mention any prestigious awards or media attention you’ve received.


    When it comes to job descriptions, it’s also essential to focus on success rather than experience.

    Rather than specifying that you’re looking for a graduate with ‘a year’s experience in marketing’, specify that you want someone with a ‘demonstrable track record of implementing successful campaigns’.

    Why? Just because a graduate may not have years of experience in a specific role, it should not negate their ability and potential.

    Graduates are full of transferrable skills and experience in other fields that can lay the foundation for success in the role.

    For more specific tips, visit our blog on writing a job description.

  • If you’re wondering how to recruit graduates, a good salary package is the best place to start.

    Money is hugely important to today’s debt-laden graduate, and a lower wage is seen as one of the real downsides of working for a startup.

    While you may not be able to offer the same generous remuneration as firms like PwC and Bloomberg, you need to make sure your wage isn’t going to put off a potential graduate hire.

    With salary, it’s important to research industry standards.

    Look at what your competitors are offering, and try to match it.

    While it may seem a stretch for your business, paying graduates higher salaries equates to making a professional investment.

    By spending more money on salaries, you’ll get a better quality of employee who will want to stick with your business for longer.

    If you can’t afford to increase the wage you’re offering but want to sweeten the deal, try to introduce ‘big business’ style perks.

    Whether it’s team trips, private medical insurance, or complimentary breakfasts, don’t underestimate the allure of work benefits!

    For more insight, we spoke to PropTech startup company Airsorted about how they are addressing salary inequality.

  • A proper onboarding process is absolutely crucial.

    It’s all very well attracting graduates to your small business, but what’s the point in employing graduates if you aren’t able to properly retain them?

    Ensuring that there is a strong support system in place is a great way to decrease staff turnover and attract graduates to your company.

    At Give a Grad a Go, we set up mentoring schemes to allow employees to offload any tensions and build trust with other employees.

  • The highest calibre graduates love to learn and progress – after all, that’s how they’ve been successful thus far.

    Lots of small businesses shun training because they feel it’s too expensive, but this is a misconception.

    Provide graduates with the chance to learn, whether through the likes of external training or internal shadowing, and everyone involved benefits.

    One of the benefits of hiring new graduates is that they are more likely to fully engage with and appreciate training programs.

    So, you’ll see a better return on investment on your training outgoings.

    Investing in professional development will improve hires on an individual level, and in turn help to improve the harmony and productivity of the broader team.

  • One of the key things that make graduates happy at work is a positive working environment, which can be achieved via a culmination of the following:

  • Using a recruitment agency allows your small business to sidestep the problem of visibility.

    A recruitment agency should do your marketing for you, bringing your company to the attention of hundreds of top candidates.

    As UK’s graduate recruitment experts, Give a Grad a Go works with hundreds of small and medium businesses to bring top graduate talent to their team.

    Recruit graduates and grow your team with Give a Grad a Go today.

Why hire graduates? We think it’s clear.

You’re recruiting a bright, determined employee at the start of their career. It’s a no-brainer.

Find out more about our recruitment for startups and job portal.

Need help hiring graduates for your startup?

Please fill out the form below and our expert team will be in touch!


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