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Association of Graduate Recruiters launches guide to help firms find most suitable candidates

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has launched a guide to the higher education system, which will help employers to find the best candidates from among the 270,000 graduates set to enter the jobs market this year.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: "Higher education in the UK can be a minefield for graduate recruiters - especially those who are new to the profession. With a record number of young people due to graduate from 120 universities this year it is going to be tougher than ever for employers to develop effective strategies for finding and selecting the best candidates.

"Understanding the way the higher education system works is crucial. We hope this very thoroughly researched guide, written by experts working within higher education, will rapidly become an indispensable tool for anyone engaged in graduate recruitment."

The guide offers recruiters tips on ways to approach graduates and how to work with universities and their career services, as well as documenting the history of higher education in the UK and charting the development of bodies such as the Russell and 1994 groups and the Million+ think tank.

It also provides fascinating insights into the types of graduates the different universities tend to produce. Students leaving a Russell Group university, for example, ‘can offer qualities that include confidence, independence of thought, an enquiring mind, an ability to cope under pressure and a thirst for intellectual challenge'. On the downside, however, the guide warns that they can also be ‘impatient, restless for rapid advancement and, sometimes, a little over ambitious in how they rate their own abilities, skills and worth to your organisation'.