// Does University reputation matter when it comes to securing a graduate job?
by Linjie, 9th June 2016
According to an article in The Guardian, it stated that ‘getting a job is about being able to demonstrate that you have the relevant skills that match the company's needs’, as supposed to which university you go to.
Recruiters are starting to focus on hiring candidates with relevant skills and knowledge rather than their educational background. One of the Big Four accountancy firms, Deloitte, vow to introduce ‘name-blind school’. This form of selection is known as ‘University-blind’ and the name of the university will be hidden from the recruiters during the hiring process. Ernst and Young are also following their footsteps and hiding applicants’ educational details from recruiter so ‘that interviews are carried out blind’. Instead, candidates will be able to reach the interview stage based on their performances in the online tests.
- If University reputations do not matter when it comes to the application stage, then what does?
As demonstrated by the example above, employers are starting to move away from judging students based on their educational backgrounds. The recruitment process is designed to assess if candidates have the specific skills and motivations that employers are looking for.
- How do candidates find out what skills employers are looking for and how to develop those skills?
Firstly, this comes down to researching the company and the job role. Even if the role is the same across different companies, research has to be carried out for each company since they might operate across different industries or operate based on different corporate values. For instance, being an auditor in KPMG and being an auditor in PwC is not the same because their behavioural frameworks are different.
Here are some examples of what certain companies are looking for:
Skills and traits required by a KPMG auditor
Skills and traits required by an HSBC Global Banking Graduate
Once you identified the relevant skills, start seeking opportunities to develop these skills by taking part in extra-curricular activities, volunteering or part-time jobs. Regardless of which university you are attending, there will be opportunities for you to develop these key transferable skills within the university environment.
- Other than skills, what do employers look for?
Employers also seek for motivation for the role or the company itself. This is demonstrated by the questions:
1. Why this company?
2. Why this role?
3. What do you like about this job?
Candidates will need to conduct thorough research on the job role and on the company. This could mean researching about their vision and mission, understanding what the role entails and looking through the company websites. Research can be done by networking with employers or online.
If you need any help throughout the application process, please sign up to CIUK’s career coaching. In addition, keep an eye out on our blog for any future employment tips and guidance!