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Graduate Program Closing Dates

Posted by Murad Mekhtiev

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Closing Dates

One of the biggest questions that we as graduate recruiters ask ourselves every year is what date we should set as the closing date for applications. Too early and you miss out on quality candidates and strain your own processes; too late and your competitors can send their offers out before you, removing top graduates from the pool.

In some industries, closing dates are well established, and often employers that will be competing for the same graduates will decide to keep their closing dates around the same dates. This has traditionally worked well in areas like accounting and law.

However, for many other employers, whether it’s due to a smaller intake, internal constraints or simply being new to the graduate recruitment space, choosing a closing date is often more of a trial and error approach with a bigger spread of dates chosen. We have noticed that this is particularly so in areas like engineering, IT and science.

Given that now is the time when many of you are measuring and evaluating your marketing efforts from this year, we thought we would share some interesting conclusions that we made from our site data.

We used Google Analytics to look at our traffic areas in the top industries on our site and came up with a few ‘peak weeks’. These weren’t necessarily the busiest weeks but they were the latest weeks of high traffic just before a steep drop in traffic in that area. Here are the results for 2012:

  • Mar 25th – Mar 31st – Best week for Accounting, Marketing and Sales, Business and Commerce, Banking and Finance, Human Resources and Arts and Humanities 
  • Apr 1st – Apr 7th – Best week for Information Technology, Government and Science: 
  • Apr 15th – Apr 21st - Best week for Engineering, Environment and Mining Oil and Gas 
  • Apr 29th – May 5th – Alternate week to close for Engineering 

Almost universally, the busiest week was the last week of March – no surprises there, given the number of employers closing that week.

It should also be noted that these results are influenced by feedback. As more employers in a given industry have closing dates in a given week, traffic will naturally increase around that time.

But there are interesting conclusions from this data. For example, in engineering, the week of Apr 22nd – Apr 28th saw a drop in traffic, which then stabilised for a week before dropping after the end of April.

Thus, if an employer couldn’t close by the 21st April, then they would be better off leaving applications open until the end of April. However, this is a good starting point when planning which weeks to consider when planning closing dates for next year.

Another thing to look at is the day of closing – we consistently see more traffic on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, however most employers have closing dates on Fridays or Sundays. Shifting the closing date to the middle of the week could well result in an easy 20 – 30% increase in applications if our traffic is anything to go by!

Best of luck in planning for next year!


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