Peter Pychtin, director, GradSift on how tech can help in the search for graduate gold.

Talent digger.

Graduate recruitment is a lot like panning for gold. Select a spot in a stream where there’s good water flow. Then slide the pan under the water into the alluvial gravel. Bring it out and carefully swirl and shake, discarding what you don’t want through the sieve slots – which happens to be most of what’s in your pan. Hopefully you find a small gold nugget. But a single nugget on its own isn’t enough. You need to go back and repeat the process, over and over, often moving to a different location in the stream for better luck.

It does sound like graduate recruitment doesn’t it? 

Just as you select a good spot in the stream, you choose marketing channels, universities and campus activities that will help you find gold. And as you pull the pan out from the water, you know there’s only a very small proportion of its contents that you really want. But you sift with the pan, discard what you don’t want to find the gold. Like graduate recruitment that happens to be less than three per cent of what you started with. 

It’s inefficient and time consuming. You may have chosen a spot in the stream, which sits right beside a highly productive area with many nuggets. But you don’t know that. What’s missing is having the right data. Data that tells you which marketing, universities and campus activities give you the best results. So you know what part of the stream to work from.     

And when you’re sifting with the pan, the less obvious, smaller pieces of gold get washed out back into the stream. It’s like using psychometric tests to screen. You know there are strong candidates you’ll reject. Up to 50 per cent.  But it’s accepted as just part of the process.

Or you can take a lot of time to very carefully work the pan, making sure you don’t miss a single piece of gold. But that takes an enormous amount of time. And expertise as well. Just like manually screening resumes.

So what happened to panning for gold? It was replaced by advancements in technology and data. Miners now use sophisticated screening plants and sluice boxes. Or hard rock mining, drilling directly into gold veins. They rely on geological data to find the best source of gold.

It seems like graduate recruitment could also benefit from new technology and data. How to efficiently screen candidates without rejecting the ones you really want. And using data to develop more effective marketing and campus plans.

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