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Employers favour work ethic over work experience when recruiting graduates

Written by: Anne Corder
Published on: 25 Apr 2022


April 2022

Employers favour work ethic over work experience when recruiting graduates


WHEN it comes to hiring graduates, employers say they favour work ethic over work experience when looking for their next student recruit.

Almost three quarters (69 per cent) of respondents to a poll conducted by Anne Corder Recruitment said work ethic and personal ability ranked way above work experience when it came to offering the job.

Transferable skills (31 per cent) were also favoured – with work experience scoring 0 in the online survey.

Recruitment partner Judith Broughton said: “The results of the poll are really pleasing, with employers recognising that work experience has been affected in the last couple of years, meaning young people may not have been able to gain part time jobs in the retail or leisure sector for example, or through voluntary placements in their chosen fields.

“But we know that graduates (primarily higher education and university students) bring some incredibly positive benefits to the workplace.

“They are eager to start their first ‘proper’ job, have fresh ideas and new talents to offer an employer, come with a willingness to learn and are filled with enthusiasm.

“It is encouraging to see that employers are shifting the emphasis when it comes to traits they are looking for when recruiting for their next graduate role, which in turn will help with retaining enthusiastic young talent.”

Judith added: “While the pandemic has impacted many areas when it comes to jobs and employment, and employers are taking into account that many young people have not been able to attain high levels or any work experience, there is still plenty graduates can do to make themselves employable and get ahead of the game when employers are looking to fill roles.”

Tips for graduates:

  • Ensure your CV is accurate and as up to date as possible. Include an email address (one which doesn’t include any gimmicky words). And while the trend is to make a CV more creative, remember that the basics will never change. Brevity, avoiding jargon and using real examples will always be a feature of a good CV –  along with contact information, previous experience, relevant qualifications. 
  • Interview preparation: research the role you are applying for and find out a little about the company beforehand. If attending an interview in person, remember to dress appropriately or if via video call, ensure all the relevant tech is working properly and there are no distractions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions when invited and engage in conversation; all the more important when being interviewed remotely to let your personality shine through.
  • Use social media for the right reasons, ensure your profile is visible to employers and recruiters – consider setting up a LinkedIn page and offer the link as part of your job seeking correspondence.
  • Make sure you spell check all correspondence; whether applying directly for a position or working with a recruiter.
  • If you don’t have work experience, then let a prospective employer see what you CAN do. Don’t be afraid to include volunteering, sporting interests, university achievements etc on your CV.  

Note to editors

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