Graduate Recruitment and Engagement Blog South Africa

Advice on Graduate and Internship Programs

Employer Blog Subscription


Receive regular updates of all the latest innovations, trends and tips in the graduate market straight to your inbox!


Posted by Nikki Barnard

January 6th, 2017

Increasing in popularity, virtual careers fairs are changing the way employers and students meet and interact. Having conducted seven GradConnection virtual career fairs in 2016, we have noted the success, lessons and limitations that employers should to be aware of.

Virtual career fairs are becoming increasingly popular with employers, especially when it comes to finding the very best talent for their organisation. Eliminating hurdles such as travel/location, schedule and budget constraints make it possible to gain a wider reach of students who would not ordinarily have been able to meet.

GradConnection’s virtual career fairs provide a platform for employers to connect with a large student audience at multiple tertiary institutions locally and internationally in one session. Employers can engage in real time with their target audience, position their graduate recruitment programmes and employee value proposition (EVP) while creating online communities.


Having successfully conducted seven virtual career fairs in 2016, GradConnection South Africa noted a number of employer successes:

  • Employers gained access to a large student audience – with an average of 1 900 views per session and some employers receiving as many as 3 000 views within a two-hour session.
  • Employers were able to position their international graduate programmes – reaching out to international students studying in South Africa (SA) who are looking to return to their home country once they have completed their studies. As well as SA students currently studying abroad but are keen to return home.
  • Increased employer brand and EVP awareness - employers were able to communicate the details of their brand, EVP and receive questions and feedback in real time.
  • Employers were able to position the unique programmes they offer - especially around development opportunities, important projects, international rotations as well as their successes with previous years’ graduates.
  • Travel/location, schedule and budget constraints were no longer an issue – the virtual career fairs saved employers time, money and increased the student reach.
  • Recruiters overcame reservations about engaging with a large group of people online - employers saw how simple and convenient the process was and in fact enjoyed participating.


No new venture is a true success unless there were a few lessons learnt along the way:

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare – this cannot be over emphasised. The better prepared you are the greater success you will have, it’s that simple.
  • Employers must test their internet connection ahead of the time – the last thing you want is for the entire fair to end before it even begins.
  • Ensure that your organisation’s IT policies allow access to the virtual careers site – basically get yourselves organised and ready.
  • Know your company and graduate programmes well – key milestones, opportunities, skills, qualifications and hiring policies.
  • Pre-prepare answers to questions that you know will come up – basic information about the programme is likely to be asked a few times so make sure you don’t waste time typing out the same answers dozens of times.
  • Share some exciting news about your organisation - often graduates are familiar with your products and company, share some interesting additional information that they might not find on your company website.
  • Avoid just referring candidates to your careers site for information - where possible provide the requested information online to the students, this increases engagement and interaction.
  • Virtual career fairs are public forums - be open to engaging with students that are not from your target disciplines as well.
  • Engage authentically – don’t be afraid to offer advice and tips, such as interviewing or career tips.


As with most things, virtual career fairs too have their limitations:

  • Employers can’t assume virtual fairs are a replacement to careers fairs or their online marketing strategy.
  • Virtual fairs are only effective if an employer has invested in their brand in other places outside of the fair.
  • Reporting will always be limited as 90% of the users won’t participate in asking a question.
  • Virtual fairs can’t just be measured on the time that an employer is online. Overtime more students will view the virtual fair thread than those that attended the session

Be the first to comment on this post


Posted by Nikki Barnard

December 2nd, 2016

When it comes to graduate programmes, a clear and well thought out graduate attraction strategy will be what sets you apart from the rest, as you position your company as the employer of choice

In order to select the top graduates, you need to attract them first. Here are a few things to bear in mind when putting together your attraction strategy:


Attracting the right candidate for your graduate recruitment program is usually determined by the old “what you put in is usually what you get out” cliché’. This certainly rings true for graduate recruitment, as the more effort you as an organisation put into your attraction strategy the greater the calibre of student you will be able to select from.

In order to do this, you need to define your student target group and understand what matters to them. Times have changed and the work environment is constantly evolving. Young graduates know what they want and what is important to them and as such, graduate programs need to be clear on a few things:

  • work-life balance
  • challenging and stimulating work
  • international opportunities
  • opportunities for advancements
  • learning and development prospects
  • clear goals and regular feedback
  • compensation and benefits

How I hear you say? Be a professional stalker. Think about the person you (ideally) would like to work for your organisation, then be specific about what you can offer and how that would matter to them. The other vital step is to identify your channels and providers - the key is quality over quantity.


Gearing your yourself up to showcase your organisation is the next fundamental cog in the proverbial graduate attraction wheel. In order to do this, you need to get online and make your company known.

Students in their exploratory stages may be aware of your company, but not necessarily of your employer brand or employee value position (EVP). Help them picture you as their employer, by showcasing your organisation and your job opportunities. It is helpful to bear in mind that strong employer brands spend less time and resources on hiring, and have better employee retention and increased productivity.

The bottom line, when showcasing your company, comes down to authenticity. Communicate your company, its culture, values and benefits. Don't forget your uniqueness is what will set you apart from the rest.


Like attracts like - if you are wanting to select the top graduates for your organisation then you need to be top employers and be ready for them. Stay current and ahead by:

  • Setting clear targets for your attraction campaigns - Determine the criteria for a successful campaign such as better calibre of students, shorter screening times, higher offer-to-acceptance ratio, and increased awareness of employer brand. Having clear goals up front will determine the success and return on investment (ROI) of your attraction campaign.
  • Consistently measuring your progress and adjusting it if you need to - Keep your eye on the analytics and readjust your content or channels if needed. In an ever-evolving market, where young graduates are at the forefront, you need to keep up and be willing to move along with it.
  • Remembering to celebrate and acknowledge your successes - Don’t be shy… go on brag! Be proud of your organisation and let others know how you feel. Remember that the most powerful form of marketing is word of mouth, so get people talking.

Be the first to comment on this post


Posted by Nikki Barnard

November 8th, 2016


While on the hunt for South Africa’s Top100 Future Leaders, we asked them who their employer of choice is. After receiving thousands of applications from top students’ around the country, we were able to put together an employer of choice list decided on by the students themselves.

This list highlights the most popular employers in South Africa as voted for by the students for their ideal employer for 2016.

Click here to see the Top100 Graduate Employers for 2016

About the competition

In September 2016, BlackBark Productions (creators of the Rising Star Awards) and GradConnection partnered with key assessment providers, employers and universities to select and award students who showed the most potential as South Africa’s Future Leaders in a national competition.

The GradStar programme has been set up to recognise the Top100 university students across South Africa and connect them with potential employers, as well as business mentors who will assist them in getting ready for the workplace.

In order to be awarded a place in the Top100, candidates are put through a rigorous four-phase judging process, culminating in employer workshops at our main event, where awards for “Ten of the Finest” are highlights for their outstanding performance on the day of the event.

Purpose of the awards

The purpose of the awards night is to bring the major stakeholders of South Africa's graduate recruitment industry together, including:

  • Senior leaders, recruiters and human resources professionals from South Africa’s largest companies.
  • Senior academics and careers practitioners from across South Africa’s universities.
  • The next generation of future leaders, who are due to complete their studies in the next year and are ready to make their first career move.

For more information and how to get involved in next year’s event, contact Mandy Sripersad, Client Manager South Africa ([email protected]) or click here for more information.

Be the first to comment on this post

October 10th, 2016

For the first time in South Africa, the country’s top finest and brightest undergraduates were showcased at the 2016 Top100 Future Leaders awards.


The programme, sponsored by FNB, PwC and Fasken Martineau, was created by BlackBark Productions and GradConnection, and matches the country’s best future graduates with potential employers and business mentors.

“These awards are a way to recognise the Top100 students across South Africa and to connect them with potential employers,” says Laura Barker, MD of BlackBark Productions, “In turn giving employers a chance to develop long lasting relationships with the top talent in the country.”

It provides participating employers - who represent the financial, accounting, IT, engineering and legal disciplines, amongst others - and the Top100 graduates access to each other through a uniquely developed programme that focuses on quality connections, and complements existing employer programmes.

After receiving thousands of entries from across the country, the student applicants were put through a rigorous four-phase judging process. Designed to emulate the system that top employers use to find their future talent, part of the judging process included psychometric testing using Testgrid and video interviewing through Vieple.

“A lot of thought and preparation went into the actual judging process, which ultimately resulted in our Top100 findings,” says Mandy Sripersad, Client Manager for GradConnection South Africa. “The Top100 students are selected based on leadership criteria and readiness for the workplace, in addition to their academic performance.”

According to Sripersad, the process allowed students to familiarise themselves with the formal graduate programme application process, and enabled them to identify their own strengths and weaknesses along the way.

The programme culminated in employer workshops where the Top100 were finally whittled down to the Top10 students who showed the most potential, as judged by the employers. The Top100 graduates as well as the Top10 were announced at a Gala Dinner at Wanderers Club on the evening of the 27th of September.


1 Adewale Samuel Osifowokan B Com (Economics) Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
2 Ahmed Syed BSc (Chemical Engineering) University of Cape Town
3 Nicole Dunn B Social Sciences (Economics, Politics & Philosophy) University of Cape Town
4 Cyan Brown MBChB University of Pretoria
5 Paul Ssali B Eng (Civil) University of Pretoria
6 David Hendricks B Com (Information Systems) University of the Western Cape
7 Freddy Kido B Com (Law) University of the Western Cape
8 Tendai Samkange B Pharm University of the Western Cape
9 Wikus Botha B Com (Information Systems) University of the Western Cape
10 Yolanda Bam LLB University of the Western Cape

“There is so much talent and potential in South Africa’s future graduates, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate them, as well as providing them with a platform to be introduced and interact with the country’s top employers,” Sripersad concludes.

Click here, for the complete list of the Top100 graduates.

Be the first to comment on this post

September 28th, 2016

Always improving your efficiency is at the core of a great business and the same applies to recruiting top talent. The old way of putting an advert on the web and hoping for the best just isn’t good enough anymore.

Interviewing processes have changed - don’t get left behind

One of the most overlooked improvements in business is how you hire talent. Right now the most cutting edge recruiting technologies is digital automated video interviewing - it’s how forward-thinking businesses are pulling ahead of the rest.

Using a video interviewing platform like Vieple gives you great financial and time-saving benefits:

  • Reduced hire times
  • Lowered associated costs
  • Better talent pool to pick from
  • A distinct competitive advantage

Video interviewing - what exactly is it?

Vieple is an online video recording platform for interviewing candidates. It’s easy to learn and easy to use, and best of all, having all your candidates in one convenient place means you don’t have to waste time scheduling interviews. Screen the applicants at a time that works for you and get the best talent on offer.


Improve your ROI

Using Vieple has many benefits over the “old-school” way of doing things. Don’t waste time waiting for candidates to show up at your door. Right away you’ll see improved productivity, and travel costs and other expenses will be dramatically lower.

You’ll also get access to the cream of the crop. One of the huge benefits of Vieple is that it puts the responsibility onto the candidates. Straight away you’ll see who makes the shortlist.

Find the right people with Vieple


Try Vieple now for free and find out for yourself how much you can save.

Be the first to comment on this post

The Top100 Employers

Posted by GradConnection

September 26th, 2016

The Top100 Employers

Based on your answers about your "Employer of Choice" from your GradStar application, we have also put together a Top100 Employers list of the most popular employers in South Africa. Have a look at the list and see whether your ideal employer is ranked in the Top100!

Be the first to comment on this post

September 12th, 2016

How to use facebook for graduate attraction

The world of social media is a big one and it seems to be growing by the minute. We are all aware of the advertising potential that social media is said to have, but the truth is that there are very few of us who know exactly how to get the most out of this very useful resource.

As Facebook is the forerunner in the social media popularity race, according to Statista with around 1.712 million active users, it is a great platform to start with when looking at social media as a marketing and graduate recruitment tool. With the ever evolving and fast-moving world of social media, it is vital that employers start thinking about how they are currently engaging and recruiting talent.


Here are a few important factors to be aware of when using Facebook for graduate attraction:

Branding, branding, branding

Raising brand awareness is key and should be at the very top of your company’s social media agenda. If you want to attract young graduates you need to go where they are - on social media. Once you have established your company page and have used the necessary advertising options available, you can start loading graduate specific posts.

Aimed at grabbing the attention of students and recent graduates, these posts should give the potential recruits a better idea of what your company is all about, and more importantly, your company’s culture. Aside from the obvious job listings, posting photos of your employees, company events and the like will not only increase brand awareness but overall appeal as well.

What’s on offer?

Every campaign needs a draw card and providing graduates with information about what’s on offer will undoubtedly be the difference between your campaign and others out there. On platforms such as Facebook, being somewhat boastful about your company’s mentorship and training programs will go a long way. The best and brightest in your industry will be attracted by these programmes, as they will see them as useful tools which will enable them to grow and develop within their careers.

Driving traffic is key

As simple as it sounds, the whole point of marketing through a social media channel such as Facebook is to use it as a catalyst to drive traffic to your company website. According to Shareaholic, collectively the top eight social networks drove 31.24% of overall traffic to websites in December 2014, 24.63% of which was from Facebook alone. 


Adding links to blog posts and other relevant information on your company website, such as the different mentorship programmes on offer, will all assist in increasing traffic to your company page. Once on the site the potential graduate will be able to learn more about your company and will further increase awareness and interest.

How can we help?

If you would like to know more about what might be an optimal strategy for your programme, please contact your Account Manager (see details below), or if you are new to GradConnection please email [email protected].

Dan Purchas – [email protected]

Dave Jenkins – [email protected]

Mike Casey – [email protected]

Andrew Purchas – [email protected]

Resh Perera – [email protected]

Be the first to comment on this post

February 25th, 2016

One of the first questions we often get is: “How does GradConnection get traffic?”. Often the expected response is that we attend career events to generate the traffic. Although this is part of our strategy it’s not actually what get’s us the majority of traffic. So what does?

Simple, start by going to Google and searching ‘graduate jobs’ or perhaps ‘graduate programmes’.

Graduate Opportunities

 How many students and graduates in the country do you think go through a similar process? A lot, in fact over 50,000 in the past month alone (and we’re not even in a peak month!).

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how many different, but related graduate searches happen every day of the year. In the past month alone the different search terms coming through are over 20,000 combinations. Here are the top 10 -


The higher up the rankings and more search terms we rank for the more traffic we’ll continue to get. The net effect of this is a HUGE increase in traffic. To put this in perspective below shows you traffic over the past month vs the same time last year -


Providing increases in traffic of


 During the peak season later in the year we’ll be having over 100,000 graduates coming through the site each month. Make sure that you’re one of the employers who can benefit from this reach.

Be the first to comment on this post

Free 30 Day Trial to help with high season

Posted by Dave Jenkins , GradConnection South Africa (South Africa), Director

July 31st, 2014


Who is GradConnection? 

GradConnection is a global student platform that's recently launched in South Africa. It's now high season and employers will be hitting university campus' competing for the nation's top students. 

What is on offer? 

Register below to get more help in the process. We're offering employers a Free 30 day trial of a Silver Package (valued at R20,000). It takes less than 30 seconds to claim, just click the link below:   

Click here for your Free 30 day trial 


What you get:

You'll receive full access to the site and all our students (20,000 visits per month and over 4,000 current students registered).  

- Free Mobile Microsite

Our mobile sites are employer profiles designed to work on all devices so students can learn about your employer brand from anywhere on any device. 

Mobile Devices


- Traffic and students to your employer site

Below was last month's traffic, get access to what should be even more for the month of August. 

GradConnection Site Stats


- Demographic Stats at the end of your application period including: 

Learn how things went and about the students applying to you. We'll provide full stats on students that apply through GradConnection including key demographics around the number of students from each university, area of study, gender, race, graduation date, and more.  

GradConnection Demographic Stats

You'll also get access to post on our Facebook page with over 10,000 African Student Likes

Everything's measurable and after 30 days you'll be able to see the results for yourself. Follow the link below to get started. 

Click here for your Free 30 day trial 

Be the first to comment on this post

Employer Blog Post

Are you an Employer?

Target graduate students from universities across South Africa from as little as $499.0

Advertise Jobs


  • 2017 (1)
  • 2016 (7)
  • 2014 (1)