Setting up a graduate recruitment programme

Caroline Mboijana, Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U). 

What you need to know:

My team has tasked me to research how to set up a graduate recruitment programme because we do not have one. Where does one begin?    

Dear Caroline, I work in the talent management team within the HR department and in the coming year, we have agreed to focus on internal talent development rather than solely relying on external hires. My team has tasked me to research how to set up a graduate recruitment programme because we do not have one. Where does one begin?    


Hello Amy, this will be an exciting learning journey for you. While we focus on grooming graduates, ‘bringing new talent’ is equally important, especially where your organisation has the unique talent and skills it seeks. You may want to start by researching the type of programmes organisations have implemented, especially in your sector. The CIPD website ( provides good content to get you started. While the research gives you an appreciation, it is also important that you have a good understanding of why your organisation has triggered the need – is it to address an operational issue, or are you driving your organisational brand to be an employer of choice or are there a combination of reasons. This is important because the system you set up must resolve issues that have been identified.

The other important factor is which roles within your organisation will be sourced via the graduate recruitment programme. Generally, your programme will feed into entry-level roles within your organisation, which means the programme will not only provide participants with a broad-based knowledge-building programme but will be very much tailored to the organisation’s vision, mission, values, and culture. This would essentially support the onboarding process if they came through to be employed.

Given the generic nature of the programme and depending on the roles, the programme must not be seen as an “HR Initiative” but rather an “organisational initiative”, which means that participation of other departments, with each of them contributing to the participants’ learning journey. The programme details can be developed in partnership with all relevant departments. It is also important to ensure you have a very clear and easy monitoring system, both the monitoring of the participant’s performance and the programme’s effectiveness – which may mean a KPI that speaks to a percentage of recruits employed by the programme.

The key to the programme is to keep it simple but effective; make sure you understand the purpose and what you are trying to achieve; make it all-inclusive; make it fun for learning and personal development; make sure you can measure its effectiveness – the finance team will want to see a return on investment and crucially make sure you have feedback mechanism – where you collective, constructive feedback that will help you add value to all stakeholders that participate in the programme.

Caroline Mboijana,

Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]