Graduate Recruitment Process Overview

Posted by Andrew Purchas

GradConnection Blog

Your complete graduate recruitment process overview

What happens after you hit the apply button on a graduate job you’ve found on GradConnection?

Whilst every company is slightly different, many of the large graduate and internship programs follow a similar graduate recruitment process in the high level. Understanding this process and the inputs along the way is going to give you the best chance to nail each step and be successful in achieving a highly sought-after job in one of Australia’s leading graduate programs.

What are the application steps for a graduate program?

1. Cover Letter and CV

Before you can apply to most graduate programs (PwC doesn’t require a CV!) you need to have your CV ready as a vital input into a graduate or internship program.

Think of a cover letter like the trailer to the movie – in brief, who you are, why you are awesome and would be a good fit for the company and the CV is like the feature film. Whilst a CV can be more standardised and detailed, a cover letter needs to be brief and highly relevant to the graduate employer you are applying for generally tailored for each application.

Ready our full guide on how to build your CV here and if you want to nail writing your graduate cover letter, we have you covered here as well.

2. Online Application – Application Tracking Systems (ATS)

When you are ready to apply, you’ll generally be taken to a company's Applicant Tracking System (ATS) where you will fill out a number of fields about yourself, your degree, who you are as well as uploading important documents like your CV and Cover letter if required.

ATS systems are a tool that helps graduate employers sort and cut from thousands of applications down to a shortlist. The reality of the matter is that this is an automated process as this a huge task for a small recruitment team and is filtered by things like degree types, if candidates have uploaded the correct documents, filled out sections like work experience, extra-curricular activities, work rights etc. It’s important that you take your time, fill everything out correctly with enough detail or sometimes you might not make it through to the next round.

3. Graduate Phone Interviews

When you make it through the automated parts of the ATS stage, this is where you are going to start to be viewed and contacted by actual humans! In many cases you may receive a quick phone call with the main purpose being to validate you are as good as you sound on paper.

The point of this call isn’t to get into a lot of detail but for the recruiter to confirm their decision to progress you through to testing and beyond which costs money to do – so practice your elevator pitch!

4. Psychometric Testing

Psychometric testing is something very common across all employers and test a number of personality traits, as well as cognitive ability – a.k.a mental capability covering number of areas reasoning, problem solving. These are generally online tests, many being multi choice but in some cases have even been turned into online games.

Outside of cognitive ability, a big part of psychometric testing for graduates is assessing your own personality/traits to match them to the business as well as the culture so you can’t answer these incorrectly, in fact it’s in your best interest to answer these questions as truthfully as possible!

Check out our full rundown on Psychometric assessment and free practice tests here.

5. Video Interviews

Video interviews have started to show up in almost all graduate recruitment processes and has been labelled by graduates as one of the hardest parts of the process to adjust to. In many cases, you will have a set of questions which you need to answer and will record a video of yourself answering them in a single take.

Whilst it can be strange to be by yourself and talking into your webcam, it is a good chance to show more of your personality and who you are. Read our in-depth guide to video interviews here to set yourself up in the best possible way to get through to the final stage.

6. Graduate Assessment Centres and Interviews

Generally large assessment centres have two components

  1. Group work - How well you interact in a group to solve tasks which is generally assessed by graduate recruitment managers and a large amount of business leaders and hiring managers
  2. Individual interviews - The final component will be a standard 1 on 1 interview format, directly with hiring managers who will potentially end up working with

There’s a bit to cover so we’ve provided a full in-depth look into the structure for you here

By understanding this whole process as well as being prepared is going to put you ahead of the majority of graduates looking for jobs.

How do I practice a graduate recruitment process?

The Top100 Future Leaders Competition run every year gives you a chance to try an actual graduate recruitment process for free before you have to tackle the real thing.

The competition covers:

  • All steps of the graduate recruitment process mentioned above
  • Assessed by actual leading employers from around Australia
  • Even though not the main benefits to students – winners get published in the AFR and flown to Sydney for an awards night.


Enter an employer or university you want to find in our search bar.