Here in Australia we’ve been in the thick of graduate recruitment for a number of our clients. Traditionally we have been asked to target specific degree courses that align with their businesses and go from there – you know, engineers for the engineering business – but this year we’re seeing what feels like a significant shift in client’s mindsets. As the world continues to change and the challenges that our clients face become more complex, we’re seeing more interest in “diversity and agility of thought” and a broadening out of the qualifications that we’re pulling from. Customers who in the past hired legal minds with specific experience are coming to the conclusion that if you’re a bright lawyer then you can probably wrap your brain around a range of issues and not just the area that you may have experience in.
This was reinforced in a recent panel discussion with a senior relationship manager from a major IT company. She commented that she was recently talking to graduates and met with a woman who had recently graduated with a first class honours degree in Physics and was struggling to find a relevant role. She knew that she didn’t want to be a physicist but couldn’t see a pathway to other opportunities. She was clearly bright and had extremely strong problem solving and analytical skills, and in the right environment this could be harnessed into a number of areas including programming, product design and data analytics but this wasn’t clear to her and also wasn’t being appreciated by many prospective employers
Sure – this makes recruiting harder in some ways (although if it was easy we’d be out of a job) but it reinforces the importance of connecting with candidates, asking the right questions and learning more about them. A good recruitment process shouldn’t just be focusing on what someone has done but should also have the structure to take into account what someone can do in the future.
For jobseekers, does this mean that you can do anything? Well, no, but it does mean that now is the time to think laterally about what your skills, experience and education bring to the table. A cover letter can help tell your story and a good resume can highlight transferable skills, not just a list of what you’ve done in your previous roles. For a lot of industries it’s a seller’s market, so now more than ever you have to think about how you market yourself, which brings us back full circle to applying agility and diversity of thought to the process.