The Milkround is dead, whatever the hell it was

In the old days (which due to the accelerating pace of change is actually only a couple of years ago) there was a blessed simplicity in the recruitment process. Regular recruiters of graduates visited Irish campuses on what was called the Milkround (no, no idea why either) to conduct initial job interviews after Christmas. This quaint custom grew up because most employers recruited a cohort of graduates each September and therefore needed to attract them in autumn, interview them in the spring and make offers in the summer. A recent survey of employers – the annual gradireland Graduate Salary and Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey – shows that, despite the continuing importance of campus visits and presentations before Christmas to attract students to apply, there is now much less clarity about closing dates for applications and many less campus job interviews. Nearly half the organisations surveyed had no specific closing date at all and most accepted applications all the year round. Part of this trend is down to uncertainty in the current market and companies not wanting to commit to making early job offers when the situation is so fluid. But, even when the economy improves, the traditional Milkround will probably not return. This is great news for students who always miss deadlines and another reason not to make the assumption that just because it’s the summer, everybody has stopped recruiting. Because they haven’t. But you do need to stay vigilant.

The same survey also shows that the quality of Irish graduates’ applications has risen this year, proving, I believe, that the problems are not to do with the product of third level education (that’s you) but with the current downturn in the number of jobs available in Ireland.

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