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Graduates want application and interview feedback

Many graduates experienced delayed, poor quality or no communication from employers

More than half of graduate job applicants say not being offered feedback if they are unsuccessful is the most frustrating aspect of applying for a graduate job, according to research by KPMG.

The survey of 400 people who graduated this year also found more than two out of five (43%) were unhappy about delayed or poor communication from UK employers.

The results showed 34% felt frustrated about the time they had to wait to hear the outcome of the interview, while the same number complained about the length of the recruitment process. Additionally, 28% said there are too many stages to recruitment.

As a result of the research, KPMG has announced it will streamline its hiring by holding candidates’ final interviews and assessments during the same day. Its HR team has also pledged to make graduates an offer, or give feedback explaining why they were not successful, within two working days. KPMG will begin using the new approach, named Launch Pad, in October to attract trainees who will begin working in 2017.

The firm's head of HR Martin Blackburn said the change would mean more time and effort for the HR department, but that it would be worth the investment.

“We think this is a really important innovation to ensure that we are able to attract and recruit great talent,” he said. “There is always fierce competition for the very best graduates, even more so now big businesses are competing with smaller start-ups as well as their traditional competitors.

“It makes good business sense to listen to the views about graduate recruitment and transform our practices accordingly, to show graduates we listen to their feedback and adapt," Blackburn continued. “We believe that the additional effort within HR to run these events will yield great results for our business.”

Blackburn recommended other HRDs follow KPMG’s example and seek feedback from students about graduate recruitment processes. “Act on feedback from your target audiences, as the expectations of candidates are continuously evolving,” he said.

KPMG claims to be the only big four professional services firm to offer this type of graduate hiring process.