Graduates and job search evolution: adapt or perish

Graduates and job search evolution: adapt or perish

We all know that the internet and Social Media has changed the face of Recruitment. It allows fast and worldwide distribution of job ads, as well as drastically increasing the speed of the connection between recruiters and high potential fit talents. However, studies and testimonies show that the average graduate’s Job Search process is taking longer and becoming more complicated. But what are the reasons for such a struggle? My personal guess is that graduates simply don’t focus on the true success factors when it comes to getting hired. The purpose of this post is to expose some of them.

1) The reign of discoverability

In the digital world we live in today, one key factor ruling the Job Search is discoverability. As a graduate, your first target shouldn’t even be recruiters, it should be Google. One reality of today’s digital era is that if you don’t appear on search engines, you don’t exist. This is of course very true for companies (especially start-ups) but also for job seekers. However, very few graduates are actually fully conscious of this fact. And even less of them are taking actions to increase their professional visibility. Studies have shown that recruiters almost systematically “Google” candidates at some point of the Recruitment process. Therefore, job seekers must make sure they appear on top results for their name search. And ideally, they should also work to appear on typical recruiters search queries such as; “Marketing master’s student Berlin LinkedIn”.

2) The domination of professional networks

A common misconception among students is also to think that being present on LinkedIn or other professional networks will solve all their problems of discoverability. However, the hard truth is that having a “static” professional profile on Social Media won’t help them to be found in an over-competitive Job Search market. “If you’re not building your online presence, and positioning your unique ROI and good-fit qualities in front of recruiters and your target employers, consider yourself invisible to the very people who can help you achieve your career goals” (Guiseppi, 2014). As shown in this quote of Guiseppi, graduates must have a proactive approach when it comes to Job Search. This includes working daily on their online presence, but also building their professional network. Adler (2014) also says; “A person who is referred to a recruiter from a trusted source is 20 times more likely to be hired.” This is why networking can’t be overlooked by graduates, especially in a digital world, where you now have the possibility to build professional relationships online directly from your office or your apartment.

3) The war for attitude

Another reason why graduates struggle to get the job they deserve is that they still believe that recruiters are strictly looking for hard and technical skills. However, in today’s world, every young job seeker has a Bachelor or a Master’s degree. As well as one or two internships in their background. This is why graduates have to realize that Recruitment is no longer a war for talent but more of a war for attitude. But what exactly does “good attitude” mean? And why do clever recruiters focus so much on it now? There are many justifications for this. The first one is that clever hiring specialists know that employees with more friends at the office will perform better. Commenting on the results of an IBM study that includes the observation of 2600 employees’ social behavior at work, Pfeffer (2013) says: “The best predictor of team success is not smarts or effort, it is how team members feel about one another.” Considering this argument, it is normal that recruiters look for candidates with a friendly attitude, who demonstrate smooth social skills during the Recruitment process.

4) The fight for trust

The second reason why hiring managers scan graduates’ attitude is because they want to determine whether or not they can trust the applicants. Trust is a key factor in the professional world because working in an office means collaboration. And when there is collaboration involved, there is a need for trust. As Pfeffer (2013) cleverly notices: “In the education system, collaboration is called cheating. In business, it’s the main way things get done.” For this reason, it is necessary for recruiters to determine early if a candidate can collaborate and be trusted. Finally, hiring managers scan graduates’ attitude to determine their motivations and their potential degree of corporate belonging.

Concluding on that important topic, Pfeffer (2013) says: “A recently published BYU business study finds that employees who are “true believers” in the mission of their organization are more likely to increase in status and influence than non-believers […], and shows that employees are being promoted not because they have the best skills, but because they appear to be in alignment and the company feels they can be trusted over others.” Which means that if graduates want to optimize their chances to be hired (and promoted in the future); they have to be not only qualified but also likable and approachable in order to inspire trust.

Pictures from:


Guiseppi, M. 2014, 10 Best Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online, LinkedIn Pulse, Available from: (Last accessed 08/2015).

Pfeffer, J. 2013, This Is The Number One Thing That Holds Most People Back From Success,, Available from: (Last accessed 08/2015).

Source: Leo Loison, Founder and CEO, Stand Out Circle.