How to design the selection process for a graduate program


Finding a candidate for a job isn’t as cut out as it may initially seem. You don’t just look up and down the list of candidates and say, “Okay, this person will do just fine.” Instead, you have to go through numerous organized steps to get to the final stage of the employee selection process.

When we address graduate programs, it is important to note that they are the mainstay of developing future leaders for the company. A good selection process is key in finding talent and it forms the backbone for effective performance management. We decided to dwell further into the topic and provide a quick step-by-step guide to follow for your recruitment and selection process so you can get that new star candidate on your team.

Here are six steps in the selection process for hiring employees when selecting a graduate program and how to best go through each:


1. Brand your program

A candidate applying for your graduate program is definitely applying for other programs as well. This is why it becomes important to help them self-select and understand why your program is good for them. Here are some ways to achieve that:

  • Brand your company as a top employer- Sure, employer branding is not something that happens overnight. You might find it challenging to create an iconic business brand that outshines your competitors, but it is nonetheless important for various reasons. It can be the key to reducing recruitment costs, widening your talent pool, and retaining top talent.
  • Describe the career prospects in your industry and company- Converting leads into candidates by sending them regular email newsletters and content about your company’s new achievements, application processes, and vibrant culture. Give them the opportunity to connect with your employees via email, social, or live chat.
  • Share what is needed to succeed in the program, talk about growth parts, and highlight the culture of your company


2Make information capture easy

  • Make it easy for candidates to apply for the program. Granted that there’s a lot of information needed, a long tedious form will only drive candidates out of the process. And no process works if it is too difficult to follow. Make sure your application form is super helpful. If it’s not possible with your ATS, implement processes that can make your process more user-friendly and can sync in with your ATS. Remember that candidates are assessing your company as much as you are assessing them. At impress.ai, we use conversational technology to collect information without making it difficult. It also synchronizes it back to your ATS.


3. Assess accurately and progress fast

Once you’ve screened candidates, you want to look at the surviving candidates and further assess their ability to do the job you’re looking to fill. Assessments form an important part of a strong selection process. The most commonly used tests for graduate programs are personality and cognitive tests. Personality questionnaires assess different personality traits, such as motivation, and working style, while Cognitive tests check your reasoning, numeracy, and literacy skills. This is done because most candidates don’t come with relevant experience and knowledge so it isn’t very useful to assess. While conducting these assessments it is also important to explain to candidates why these tests are important, Make sure that they are easy to complete on the mobile and allow for candidates to progress accordingly if they meet particular criteria.


4. Be prepared for the interview

Unstructured interviews make them inaccurate and inefficient. A good interview will help you make better hiring decisions, as you will objectively evaluate and compare candidates’ potential. But there’s a lot more to that- you need to prepare yourself and the entire hiring team to make sure you ask all the right questions. More specifically, you should:

  • Make sure you have a list of questions prepared and are aware of the competencies that you’re looking for.
  • Use behavioral interview techniques and STAR framework
  • Evaluate alignment to company values, also through behavioral or situational judgment questions.


5Run an effective assessment center

A business cannot succeed without people. It needs the right people who are the right fit for the organization. For the same reason, there is a need to invest in the recruitment process. A business needs an assessment center that is run properly and effectively to select the best candidates for the job. An assessment center refers to the process in which a group of people who are being considered for a position or a job is given a series of tests or interviews. For this, it is essential that you evaluate the candidate for certain key skills and abilities. Some of these are problem-solving skills, the ability to work with others in the team, perform under pressure, and quality of work.

The two common ways to evaluate candidates include:

  1. Case studies: You’re likely to come across a case study exercise at an assessment center. These can be undertaken in groups but, if the event is virtual, an individual version is more likely. Qualities like initiative, leadership qualities, and analytical and problem-solving abilities are tracked via these exercises.
  2. Group discussions: This is a classic assessment center exercise. If your assessment center is virtual as a result of the pandemic, you may still undertake a group exercise through the platform used. However, recruiters might decide to assess similar skills in another way – such as through questions at interviews. Through these discussions, employers look for qualities such as teamwork, problem-solving ability, and a logical, analytical approach to the task.


6. Maximize conversion with pre-boarding

The pre-boarding process refers to the process of orienting the candidates with the company culture and the people during the time between acceptance of the offer and actual joining.  This comes in handy because even though the candidate has accepted the offer from the company, they are not guaranteed to join. Many candidates are accepted to multiple programs. A good pre-boarding will improve the conversion. Some ideas for the same include:

  1. Announcing your new hire to your existing staff and introducing your new hire to the team with a friendly email or even an invite to a lunch or a team meeting
  2. Have a regular check-in with candidates who have accepted the offer.
  3. Company culture videos are also a trending topic for a great pre-boarding plan.

For more information on how to design a good selection process for a graduate program, click here to watch a video with our CEO, Sudhanshu Ahuja, give you insights on the same.

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