Managing Expectations of the Graduate Recruitment Process

Posted by GradConnection

One of the most challenging parts of the graduate recruitment process is the anticipation of waiting to hear back from an employer that you're super keen on working for. In a survey we conducted in 2021, over 50% of students stated they expected to wait less than a month between submitting their job application and receiving an offer, and in most situations this just isn't the case!

Source: GradConnection (2021)

It can be frustrating when the timeline for graduate recruitment is lengthier than expected and varies for each company and their processes. We give some insights and rough guidelines as to what expect below.  

Initial Screening 

Contrary to popular belief, a company’s size doesn’t always reflect their application processing time. Some companies might take longer because they need to go through different levels of approval, while others might get back sooner because they engage with an external agency or offshore team to help with parts of the process. And despite automated processes coming increasingly into the picture, companies still try their best to ensure that your applications are read by real people. When any sort of automated scanning or intelligence is used, you can also rest assured that the most likely reason you’ll be filtered out is because your degree doesn’t match what the employer is after, rather than any personal attributes or skills.  

Online Assessment and Video Interviews 

Once you do get your invitation to complete online assessment and the video interview, you’ll usually have somewhere between 3-7 days to complete it. This can depend on when you submit your application relative to the closing date for the role and whether companies choose to look at applications as they’re coming through or have protocols to wait and assess them all at once. Regardless, it’s always a good look to complete any required tasks as soon as you can to show your speedy efficiency! 

Assessment Centres 

Typically, the biggest gap lies between the Online Assessment and Assessment Centre stages of the recruitment process, taking approximately 5-6 weeks. While it may be tempting to want to follow-up sooner rather than later, it’s best to sit tight for just a little bit longer – recruiters often deal with huge volumes of applications and a premature personal email probably isn’t going to give the best look. A good idea is to keep track of your applications using a spreadsheet, with a record of the relevant contact person and the corresponding date for each stage of the recruitment process. That way if you do choose to do any follow-ups on applications you can see have taken abnormally long, you know that you've already done everything you can on your end!

Bonus Tips! 

Overall, the best thing you can do to manage your expectations of the process is to research, research, research! Look up the company’s specific application process - you can usually find this on their GradConnection profile or their own careers page. If you’ve made sure you’re aware of these steps, focused your application on a key objective, double-checked that you’ve got the right company and contact in your cover letter and paid attention to the finer details – all you can do is sit back and wait (with a healthy amount of anticipation!) 

Want to learn more about the Graduate Recruitment Process? See it broken down in our blog post here.  


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