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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.

Recently, however, startups have started to seize the attention of graduates who are hungry to learn, develop, and gain new experiences.

With an eagerness to learn and develop, and an adaptability that is vital to helping startups succeed, there are a number of reasons why you should use a hiring plan for startups.

Why hire graduates 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 – making graduates a great match for fast-growing startups that are unable to offer sky-high salaries.

    Being able to offer a lower salary will also startups to have more budget to spend on other things that matter to your graduate hires, like onboarding and training.

    These opportunities will not only give them the scope to add further value to your business in the future but will make them want to stay there for the long haul.


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

    With a range of transferable skills, and an eagerness to learn and develop, graduates can be moulded to fit the long-term needs of your business.

    With a strategic onboarding plan, and a clear training and development programme in place, 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.

    The fresh perpective of graduates will enable you to look at things in a different way and modify out-of-date practices.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

    A natural aptitude for technology that graduates tend to possess will prove to be invaluable as your startup grows and looks to advance its online presence.

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

    Who better to hire for your small business than someone who has just finished their degree and is now looking to forge a successful career in your industry?

    If you hire graduates, they will want to prove themselves from the start – looking to learn quickly, move up the ranks, and make their mark on your business.

    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.

  • 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 will be excited by the idea of travelling, spending time out of the office, starting work early and finishing late – possessing the flexibility and adaptability that a fast-growing startup requires.

How do you attract graduates to your startup?


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, and 77% thought they would receive earlier responsibility.

    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 which they may not be able to get elsewhere.

    This is a really good way to ensure you retain those 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 looking to hire graduates, crafting an attractive job description that will appeal to the best graduates is crucial for recruiting startups.


    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 should not negate how their transferrable skills and experience in other fields could lay the foundation for success in the role.

    For more top tips, visit our blog on how to write an attractive job description.

  • 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 of the PwCs and Bloombergs of the world, you need to make sure your wage isn’t going to put off a great graduate.

    With salary, it’s important to do 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 graduate hires 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 graduate salary inequality.

  • It is important to ensure that you have a proper onboarding process in place for your graduate hires.

    It’s all very well attracting graduates to your small business, but what’s the point in hiring 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 the best 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.

    Even if you budget one day per month to internal training, investing in professional development will improve young hires on an individual level and in turn have a positive impact on the whole team.

  • One of the key things that makes 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 side step 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.

Looking to Hire Graduates for your business? Find out more about our graduate recruitment services, or more specifically recruitment for startups.

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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