The ‘perfect’ grad: what’s the right mix?

Earlier this year, a range of employers, academics and students met in DIT Cathal Brugha Street to discuss and formulate the attributes that they consider most important in a graduate recruit. This event was part of DIT’s ‘Enhancing Employability’ initiative. The desired qualities which emerged from the presentations and discussions were wide ranging, and though some are obvious, others are surprising. Check out the infographic below, and let us know what you think. Do you agree or disagree?

For more on what employers are looking for in graduate recruits, read here.



Creating a first impression: is it what you say or how you act?

Recruiters and employers constantly speak of the necessity of creating a positive first impression, and to use the cliche, they do indeed last. But what makes a first impression, is it your words or your actions, how you speak or how you appear? David Keane, a corporate psychologist with Davitt Corporate Partners, a Dublin-based consultancy, created the infographic below to synopsise the data gathered from over 2000 business leaders as to how they gauge an interview candidate and what you should or should not do during the interview process. Some of the results are surprising.

  • For example, according to this data, first impressions are made within 7-17 seconds of meeting someone. So, if you don’t make a good first impression, are you on the back-foot in an interview before it has even begun
  • 93% of people’s judgements are not based on what you say but how you act and what your body language says about you. So, while you may have hidden depths and skills that could be of enormous benefit to the company, if you don’t make a confident impression initially, you’ll never get the chance to show them.
  • 33% of the managers interviewed for this data said that they had made a decision as to whether they would hire a person within 90 seconds of meeting them.
  • 55% of first impressions were formed by the way a person walked through the door, what their demeanour was like and how they dressed, with 38% saying they formed an impression based on the person’s tone of voice.

There’s plenty more information, have a look for yourself:



Convergence & change: why graduates and employers need to adapt  

John Herlihy addressing the 2014 gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards

John Herlihy addressing the 2014 gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards

John Herlihy, Vice President at Google, writes on the speed of change and evolution in today’s workplace, and why companies need to be transparent and dynamic to realise the potential of today’s graduates.

The keynote speech at the 2014 gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards was delivered by John Herlihy, Vice President at Google. Speaking to a room of employers, academics and key influencers in the sphere of graduate recruitment, John spoke of a workplace which is increasingly dominated by the age of convergence.

“Today, we are not so much surprised by change, but the speed of change. Innovation that previously took a generation to happen can now occur in weeks and months,” he said, referring to the massive leaps in technology apparent in today’s world, made possible by convergence. In this context, convergence of the data, technology and, most importantly, the human context, are amplified by the mobile and online revolution, which has ‘flattened the earth’ and achieved in seven years that which took the printing press 400 years and telephone 50 years to achieve. John referred to the current graduates as ‘millennials’, a connected and expectant generation in a world in which mobile devices will soon outstrip the population of the planet, and even toothbrush ownership!

The ‘millennial’ generation

The speech made the point that today’s graduates have grown up in this world, this is not new to them. It is indeed employers who possess the greater challenge in understanding the mindset and expectations of millennials when they are recruiting.

As he explained; “They (millennials) are taking the traits of the convergence economy and are expecting them to be evident in the workplace…..they care less about titles, status and salary….are more interested in the ‘network’ than the hierarchy….are more interested in projects that connect with their strengths and abilities and expect managers to support them through this progression.”

It was interesting to hear the head of one of the country’s largest employers speak of today’s graduates ‘choosing who they want to work for’ and how they do that work. “Graduates expect to know in real-time what is going on in the organisation. They want clear objectives set. They expect access to information. They expect regular reviews rather than annual appraisals. They want the workplace to be a social enterprise, focused on collaboration, where the best ideas win rather than concern about where they originated from.”

Challenges for employers 

So what questions do the expectations and attitudes of the ‘millennial’ generation pose for employers? Does the world of convergence mean that the traditional company/employee dynamic is inherently changed forever? As Herlihy said to employers in his speech: “will you even have employees in ten years’ time? Or will you be fortunate enough to attract talent and be allocated time by the smartest talent out there?”

John also spoke of need for employers to build an organisation in which transparency, trust and reputation are forged as an inherent part of the company’s culture. Graduates demand trust and disclosure and employers need to create a culture that holds the diverse nature of an organisation together. Employers also need to know their employees, their aspirations and their needs. “In this age of convergence, you have an opportunity to use technology and data to really understand how to best foster and grow your talented people, assigning them the most challenging and rewarding work in your organisation,” he said.

He made another interesting point referring to the need for companies to have ‘building blocks’ in place before further innovation can take place, and that employers would need to convince graduates of the “need to have fundamental ‘hard skills’ in place. Speed alone will not solve many problems. I believe we need a strong focus on hard skills in the first instance.”

Closing his speech, he added that while the future is unknown, the best companies will be prepared for it, successfully blending internal and external knowledge to fill talent gaps and enhance their competitive position. He concluded with a message to both graduates and employers; “Let’s remember that it is not the fittest that survive and thrive, but those who best adapt to the environment they find themselves operating in.”

gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2014

The winners at the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2014. (All photos by Paul Kelly)

The winners at the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2014. (All photos by Paul Kelly)


Wednesday April 30th saw the 8th annual gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards held in Dublin’s Mansion House. With graduate recruitment experiencing a significant resurgence amongst some of Ireland’s most significant companies, the event was the perfect place for industry leaders, employers, academics and course providers to mix, network and gauge the shape of graduate recruitment today in Ireland. Before the awards, John Herlihy, Head of Google Ireland, made the evening’s keynote address and spoke of the opportunities for today’s graduates in a rapidly changing job landscape and the challenges for employers to remain relevant to a diversifying and ever-changing graduate demographic.

Hosted by RTE’s Brian Dobson, the awards saw 30 presentations made on the evening, the focus of the winning submissions on optimism, creativity and programmes which deliver real career paths for today’s best and most ambitious graduates. It was a particularly special evening for Jameson (Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard), winning awards in 5 categories and emerging with the much coveted ‘Employer of the Year’ award. Other awards were scooped by employers such as Stryker for their professional training and development programmes, Enterprise Rent-A-Car for diversity in the workplace and KPMG for their internships and work experience opportunities. Other major winners included Deloitte, Lidl, Accenture, Amazon, Intel, Bank of Ireland and Aer Lingus.

The Jameson team picking up one of their many awards on the evening.

The Jameson team picking up one of their many awards on the evening.

The awards voted for by students saw several new names break into the 2014 list of gradireland’s Top 100 Graduate Employers, including Jameson and Lidl ranking in the top ten for the first time. Google retained top spot as the most popular graduate recruiter and also picked up the award for the Most Popular Recruiter in IT.

Recognising the quality of the applications received, seven of the most hotly contested judged awards also saw bronze and silver places awarded, with EY and Accenture claiming several on the night. Niall Fitzgerald of Abbott Ireland was named Graduate Employee of the Year and the evening also showcased the achievements of Ava Mahony, winner of the gradireland National Student Challenge 2014.

RTE's Brain Dobson alongside gradireland National Student Challenge winner Ava O'Mahony and gradireland Commercial Manager Gavan O'Brien.

RTE’s Brian Dobson alongside gradireland National Student Challenge winner Ava O’Mahony and gradireland Commercial Manager Gavan O’Brien.

In addition to recognising employers and graduate employees, the awards also recognise the contribution made by course providers. In association with gradireland’s official partners AHECS (Association of Higher Education Careers Services), the evening saw recognition of some of the most dynamic courses provided by some of the country’s most innovative higher educational institutions. Congratulations in particular to University College Cork for taking home two awards in the Postgraduate Course of the Year category. The event, the largest yet, had a great blend of established graduate recruiters and those who are relatively new to the sector or who are seeking to refine their processes. As with everything that gradireland does, the awards seek to reflect the positive aspirations of today’s graduates and blend that optimism with the creativity and dynamism of some of the country’s best employers. Discussion, networking and socialising was the order of the evening, laced with stiff competition, with 168 companies and educational institutions represented at the awards and only 30 scooped awards, so there most definitely was not one for everyone in the audience. Companies shortlisted for the first time will be no doubt seeking to hone their submissions for the 2015 event, and the winners on the night will know that they will need to keep adding to and improving their own offerings to retain their awards next year.

The full list of winners (and silver and bronze awards) at the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2014:


Most popular graduate recruiter in accountancy and professional services

Winner:  Deloitte


Most popular graduate recruiter in banking, investment & financial services

Winner: Bank of Ireland Group


Most popular graduate recruiter in consulting

Winner: Accenture


Most popular graduate recruiter in engineering

Winner: Intel


Most popular FMCG graduate recruiter.

Winner: Jameson – Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard


Most popular graduate recruiter in IT

Winner: Google


Most popular graduate recruiter in law.

Winner: A&L Goodbody


Most popular graduate recruiter in logistics, transport & supply chain management

Winner: Aer Lingus


Most popular graduate recruiter in online retail services and telecoms

Winner: Amazon


Most popular graduate recruiter in retail

Winner: Lidl


Most popular graduate recruiter in science.

Winner: Abbott Ireland


Ireland’s most popular graduate recruiter 2014.

Winner: Google


Best graduate recruitment website.

Winner: Jameson – Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard

Silver: Enterprise Rent A Car

Bronze: PwC


Best Innovation on Campus

Winner: Deloitte Data Analytics Lab

Silver: EY

Bronze: Accenture


Best work experience or internship programme.

Winner: KPMG

Silver: Abbott Ireland

Bronze: EY



gradireland diversity recruitment award

Winner: Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Silver: Accenture

Bronze: Dell


Best Student Marketing Campaign

Winner: Jameson – Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard

Silver: EY

Bronze: Accenture


Best Graduate Training and Development Programmes. Professional

Winner: Stryker

Silver: Deloitte

Bronze: KPMG


Best Graduate Training and Development Programmes Business

Winner: Jameson – Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard

Silver: Stryker

Bronze: Kerry


Postgraduate Course of the Year for Business

Winner: MSc in Marketing Practice, NUI Galway


Postgraduate Course of the Year for IT

Winner: MBS in Information Systems for Business Performance, University College Cork.


Postgraduate Course of the Year for Science and Engineering

Winner: Masters in Information Technology in Architecture, Engineering and Construction, University College Cork


Best New Course

Winner: MSc in Translational Oncology Trinity College Dublin


graduate Employee of the Year

Winner: Niall Fitzgerald Abbott Ireland


gradireland Graduate Employer of the Year

Jameson – Irish Distiller Pernod Ricard