Graduate Recruitment Blog United Kingdom

Advice on Graduate and Internship Programs

January 31st, 2017


In order to be able to improve employability outcomes for returnee students, it is essential to know what makes an employer target a specific university. With this in mind, GradConnection put together the Returnee Report 2016 which revealed some surprising results.

The report found that returnee students from the USA, UK and Australia were highly targeted by Chinese and Hong Kong-based employers above any other country. Looking to return to their home countries after completing their studies, these returnee students are highly valued and sort after by employers.

So, what makes an employer approach one university over another while looking for these returnee students? With 93 top organisations in China and Hong Kong participating in the 2016 Returnee Report, we were able to obtain invaluable insight into university employability outcomes.

The report revealed that the main reason employers do not target certain universities is because they don’t know the international student/returnee numbers at that university. In addition, more than 86% of Chinese employers said that they would consider targeting universities that they had not heard of, if they knew they had a high number of returnee students eligible to work for their organisation.

According to the report, most of the employers actively target the universities via career websites, or making direct contact with them to discuss how to target their returnee students. An impressive 18% of employers said that they go so far as to visit the university campus in person to discuss the matter.

For more information and access to the full report, please contact Dave Jenkins.

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January 31st, 2017


The GradConnection Returnee Report 2016 produced some surprising results, as top Chinese and Hong Kong-based employers were asked which universities they targeted when selecting their returnee graduates.

The GradConnection Returnee Report 2016 is a result of data collected over various months from 93 top Chinese and Hong Kong-based employers with graduate and/or internship programme/s. Universities from across the USA, UK and Australia were included in the report with the aim of finding out how employers are targeting and selecting returnee graduates from overseas universities. Employers had the opportunity to further expand the university list by adding any other universities that they target to the survey. The results were surprising.

Despite only having a QS ranking of 9, Imperial College London in the UK came out as the most popular university targeted by employers. The University of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA, however, who has the top QS ranking only came 11th on the Returnee Report.

Interestingly the report data revealed that universities were not necessarily targeted by employers based on league table rankings, in fact only 21.51% of employers said that their main reason for not targeting a university was because their global ranking was not high enough. Conversely, the majority (53.76%) said their top reason for not approach a particular university was because they were not sure of the number of returnee students and their areas of study.

These are just some of the interesting figures revealed in the report as it uncovers the top 30 universities according to employers in the USA, UK and Australia, in relation to their QS rankings. In addition, the report shows a further more detailed breakdown of university employability for each of the three countries.

For more information and access to the full report, please contact Dave Jenkins.

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January 31st, 2017


GradConnection has put together a returnee student survey in order to provide insight into the link between Chinese and Hong Kong-based employers and those graduates studying abroad.

Who are returnee students?

The large number of international students studying at western institutions is momentous, a number that continues to rise with each passing year. Commonly referred to as returnee students, many of these students move back to their home countries after having completed their tertiary studies, looking for employment.

Bridging the gap between returnee students and employers

As a result, GradConnection has partnered with leading tertiary institutions around the world with the ultimate goal of improved employability outcomes. Referred to as GradConnection Campus, this global job portal is conveniently located on the associated universities website and provides a centralised job source for top international employers and students around the world.

The GradConnection Returnee Report 2016

The aim of the Returnee Report is to provide insight into the hiring preferences of returnee students and to uncover the employability prospects for international students from universities based in Australia, the UK and the USA.

The GradConnection Returnee Report 2016 was run for the first time and was met with a very positive response. Based on research conducted by GradConnection between August and September 2016, the Returnee Report consisted of 93 China and Hong Kong-based employers participating across a number of industry sectors. The report was conducted via an online survey by way of multiple choice questions.

Sharing the report findings

GradConnection was recently invited to share the 2016 Returnee Report findings with the heads of services at the 2016 AAGE Graduate Recruitment & Development Conference held in Melbourne, as well as at the AGCAS Heads of Service Conference 2017 in London Stansted. GradConnection is also due to attend the NACE Corrosion 2017 Conference & Expo in New Orleans in the month of March.

For more information and access to the full report, please contact Dave Jenkins.

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November 24th, 2016

The large number of Chinese students studying at western universities is significant and on the rise. As a result, GradConnection has put together a returnee student survey in order to provide insight into the link between Chinese employers and those graduates studying abroad

Commonly referred to as returnee students, Chinese graduates who have completed their tertiary studies overseas are a valued resource to Chinese employers. This is particularly evident from our latest graduate returnee survey set out for Chinese employers. Chinese employers recruit a significant number of graduates each year, a large percentage of which are returnee students.

How many students are we looking at?

Out of the 1.7 million international students studying at universities in Australia, United Kingdom, USA, Canada and New Zealand, 500 000 are from China. That means, globally, 25% of all international students are Chinese.

Where, what and who?

According to The State Council of the People's Republic of China, 80% of those studying abroad choose to come back to China for employment after graduation. Of those returning, 80% have a master’s degree and 10% graduate with a doctorate. Less than 10% walk away with only a bachelor’s degree. Interestingly, more women choose to return as 60% of all returnees are female.

The goal

Due to the significant number of Chinese students studying abroad, our goal is to help international students studying at western institutions increase their employability outcomes. Needless to say, Chinese employers and western universities need to work closely together as they both have a vested interest in these returnee students.

Which universities come out on top?

Based on GradConnection’s graduate returnee survey, when asked what is most important when considering what universities to target overseas, over 56% of Chinese employers said it was because they had successfully hired graduates from that university in the past. Additionally, over 53% said their decision was founded on the quality of education based on league and university ranking tables.

Further, more than 86% of Chinese employers said that they would consider targeting universities that they had not heard of if they knew they had a high number of returnee students eligible to work for their organisation.

Valued and in demand

This survey has further highlighted the already tremendous need to link Chinese returnee students with employers in their home country, a need that is increasing rapidly. Seen by Chinese employers as valuable investments for their organisations, these returnee students have a lot to offer.

Working closely with the leading universities in Australia, the UK, and the USA, GradConnection is on a mission to help fill this gap between international students and Chinese employers.

What we are working on

We have developed a university specific skinned platform for international students. The job board software enables universities to assist their international students while simultaneously providing employers from around the world access to these returnee graduates. If you would like to see the full survey and more information about how to get involved, please contact Dave Jenkins ([email protected]).

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November 18th, 2016

Looking for the best, China Eastern Airline spent a week with a number of the leading universities in the UK with the objective of finding the top, UK educated Chinese students to join their Management Program

Last month GradConnection partnered with Chinese recruitment specialists 51 Jobs, as well asChina Eastern Airlines for the 2016 UK university tour. With the goal of finding the top UK university students to join their Management Program, China Eastern Airlines visited some of the leading universities in the UK where they held presentations followed by a number of assessments.

During the week, presentations were held at the prestigious Imperial College London and University College London (UCL), where an impressive attendance was had with over 200 Chinese students at each of the talks. Following the two days of presentations, Kings College London hosted the airline for a further three days of assessments and interviews.

With headquarters situated in Shanghai, China Eastern Airlines is one of the three major airlines in mainland China and among the largest state-owned companies. Looking to find the best UK educated students to join their Management Program, the airline conducted the tour and subsequent assessments to find the right graduates who will be entering the program at a more senior level than those who join outside the program.

China Eastern considered the week to be highly successful and are currently flying a number of students, from Imperial College London, UCL, Oxford University, Kings College London and Edinburgh University, back to China for the final round of interviews. 

Along with the gift presented to the careers services from the executive team, we would like to extend our thanks to Imperial College London, Kings College London and UCL for making such a successful event possible.

We encourage universities to join us in China and Hong Kong next year to meet more top employers for your international students.

If you would like to find out more information about the event or how to get involved next year, please contact Dave Jenkins ([email protected]), orclick here.

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October 6th, 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]

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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.

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September 28th, 2016

Video interviewing is fast becoming the preferred way for employers and recruitment agencies to create short lists of candidates. For candidates, this move away from phone screening can be confronting at first, but when you understand why recruiters are moving to video interviewing and a few simple techniques on how to make the most from this opportunity, it will all seem a lot less daunting.

Why video interviewing?

Candidates and recruiters are becoming more time poor. Phone screening can be hard to coordinate and doesn’t always give the interviewer a clear understanding of a candidate. Video interviewing can be more convenient for both candidates and recruiters, and in the case of recorded video interviewing systems, can be conducted at a time and place that is more practical.


Video interviewing types

There are two key types of video interviewing in use: live and recorded. Live interviewing often occurs using a technology such as Skype where the interview takes place in real time. Unfortunately, with live video interviewing there is a good chance that you will have to work with interviewers around technical issues with video lag and dropouts, and also interview on scheduled time.

The other, preferred video interviewing technique is recorded interviews. The best systems allow you to go online and conduct your interview at a time and place that suits your busy lifestyle. Recorded video interviewing is also a better way of making sure that all candidates are given the same chance, as the questions are delivered in the same format for everyone.

Now that you understand the difference between live and recorded video interviewing, we can help you understand the fundamentals on how to present the best impression for your video interview.


Sound is one of the more obvious areas where candidates fail with video interviews. Before you start your video interview, test the sound as well as the volume. With live video, the interviewer can give you feedback if there is a problem with sound but with recorded video you won’t receive feedback until after the interview has been viewed. The best recorded video interviewing systems like Vieple allow you a test question where you can test your sound setup before you start your interview.

Lighting and camera position

An over lit or under lit video looks unprofessional. Check the lighting to make sure that it presents you and your surroundings in the most positive light. The same is true of camera position. No one wants to be looking up your nose for the entire interview.

Make sure you set up the camera so that you are in the centre of the frame and the camera is at your eye level. If you are using the camera on your laptop, prop it up with something so that the camera is at eye level. Also make sure that you are not too far or too close to the camera. Where you sit may be limited by the strength of your microphone but try to sit so that your head and the top half of your torso are in the frame.

Set the scene

Remember to check everything within the frame of the video. Remove anything that may be inappropriate or distracting. The less there is in the frame, the less distraction there is from you. Also make sure that nobody can walk into the frame accidently during your videos as this can distract both you and the interviewer and is viewed as unprofessional. It may be a good idea to notify anyone present in your immediate environment, that you are completing a video interview and wish to remain uninterrupted for that period of time.

Choose your clothing wisely

Keep it simple and avoid patterns and fine stripes. Small format video struggles to render both. Choose solid, conservative colours (except bright white). If you want to see what works best on video, consider what news presenters wear. Also, make sure that what you are wearing is appropriate for the position. If the position requires you to wear a suit, dress in a suit. If the dress standard is more casual, wear smart casual.

Make eye contact

That usually means looking at the camera. Constantly looking out of frame is distracting and can create the impression that you’re disinterested. If you have notes, use them for preparation but try not to use them during the interview.

Monitor yourself

With video interviewing systems such as Vieple, you have a picture of yourself on the bottom right hand side of the screen. Are you sitting very far forward in your chair? Is your body language showing interest? You'd be amazed at what an interviewer can read just from how you’re sitting. You can practice before the interview, using just your webcam and recording yourself. Ask others for input and feedback.

Now you’re ready for your video interview

Like any interview, your success in a video interview comes down to preparation. Practice with your webcam using the tips above until you feel confident and comfortable, and you will give yourself the best chance of making a lasting impression. Good luck.


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