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How to harvest the 2018 vintage…

By Julian Smith, Director of I am recruiting

What do wild garlic, asparagus, elderflower and bright graduates have in common? They’re all seasonal! And according to Julian Smith, Director of I am recruiting, now is the perfect time to harvest the 2018 vintage, for all of your temporary, contract or permanent needs.


Good graduates – like any other special produce – are rather fleeting. Their season is short-lived, as they stumble bleary-eyed, fresh from graduation, and into the world of work. Like elderflower, they’re best picked before they start to blossom; like wild garlic, they’re versatile and have a myriad of uses; and like asparagus the quality is exceptional.


Outstanding graduates appear around now, and the majority have gone long before the autumn, snapped up by FTSE-100 companies, tech start-ups and the like, for appealing graduate trainee programmes and rotations, whilst those who don’t find what they’re looking for often retreat back into the world of academia, seeking refuge in the arms of universities, Masters’ degrees and PhDs or disappear around the world.


Making the most from this bounty


If I think back to when I graduated, I was desperate to work for an animal charity. I would have done practically anything to work for any wildlife or conservation-related cause. The cynic in me was only fostered by my peers and bosses in Disney (which was where I ended up, working with cartoon animals, instead of the real thing), and matured by my 10 years of working in a recruitment agency. Looking back, I would have hired me on the spot; I offered excellent communication skills, commitment and passion, boundless energy and the right attitude – and as a recruiter, I guarantee that all of the above more than make up for a lack of experience.


The great thing about bright graduates is their flexibility. They’re raw, unspoiled by cynicism, enthusiastic and hardworking – the exact opposite of what the cynics have dubbed ‘Generation Snowflake’. By and large, universities do an excellent job at preparing young minds to take on the world – and the not-for-profit sector is their natural environment; so if you’re lucky enough to stumble across one of these graduates, they’re likely to pitch in wherever necessary, and unlikely to develop a ‘computer-says-no’ attitude. Offer them a chance to learn and develop, and they make perfect temps…


Let me offer you a couple of little examples. I recently placed a temporary receptionist with a small professional body, a Spanish graduate with a few months of hospitality work and English as a second language. Within a week she had been offered (and accepted) a permanent contract by the Society.


Another client needed a membership temp in a hurry, to support a busy team with a deadline. I could have sent them a seasoned temp with membership experience, but my solution was to send them a Brazilian law graduate with no membership experience whatsoever. Within a few days he was out-performing the existing team, and the charity has now moved him into a higher-paid contract role where he will progress his skills. By taking a leap of faith in me, both clients saw past the lack of experience to recognise the graduates’ potential and have hardworking, popular members of staff who are both destined to have long and successful careers in the non-profit sector.


How to get the best out of them?


Unlike elderflowers, bright graduates are not so delicate. They’ll have spent the last three years learning different things, coming up with solutions to problems and pushing their own boundaries in the pursuit of their degrees. In my experience, there is little that you can ask a graduate to do which will faze them.


Organising meetings or events, taking minutes, presenting in front of groups, creating order out of chaos, refining systems or processes and even junior project management – with support or encouragement, your graduate can do anything. Remember the example above with the Brazilian law graduate? He’s currently putting together a Career Development Framework for a Royal College, 2 weeks into his new contract…


Still not convinced? Well maybe this will help change your mind. We employed four excellent graduate temps last year; one designed our branding, logos, collateral and parts of the website, one built us a database, one worked on business development and another, who is joining us again this year worked with me on the recruitment side, where his talent in recognising the skill sets of others rivalled even the most experienced consultants I’ve ever worked with.


My challenge to you is simple: what do you need doing, that nobody else will take on, either because of time or an unwillingness to commit? What is there on your ‘to do’ list that you never get around to doing? What is on the horizon? When you know what you need, come to me and I’ll find you a perfect match in the form of one of this year’s brightest graduates…


Recruiting or job-hunting within professional associations or not-for-profit organisations? We’ve advised thousands of clients and candidates over the years. You’re in safe hands with I am recruiting.

We are a specialist recruitment agency for professional bodies, membership associations and NFPs. We’ve had the pleasure of working in this sector for over a decade now and have built up an outstanding reputation in our field with unrivalled sector knowledge and access to the biggest network of candidates and clients.


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