We’re keen to share the thoughts and motivations of some key players in the world of graduate and early careers recruitment. The first person in the Angle Red Chair is Siobhan Warren, Graduate Experience Manager from Xero.
Tell us about what you see as the key challenge for attracting emerging talent this year?
I think it’s having an authentic portrayal of company, work environment and culture. It’s so easy to go out there and talk about the exciting flashy stuff, but students want to know the reality of working with you. They’re making one of the biggest decisions they’ve made in their lives so far – they want all the details. Achieving that authentic voice isn’t easy.
What’s more important to attract grads attention: A slick website? Cool social presence? A great brochure? A stunning presentation? Interesting people to talk to?
My initial reaction is to laugh and say, when you figure that out, please let me know! Looking at the stats, you could argue for any of those – except probably brochures. We’re a tech company so I’m trying to move away from those and save some trees. I think it comes down to balance and meeting the communication needs of the students you target. My preference is a great website, pushing out valuable information via social media and having genuine conversations on campus.
Xero won Best Graduate website at the 2015 NZAGE awards. Congratulations again. Tell us about that.
I’m still so stoked about that! I think the website is different in that we don’t go overboard with information – we aim to make it a beautiful experience that gives the right information without being overwhelming. It’s the first grad website we’ve created here at Xero, and we didn’t have a lot of resources for it. We made it a key project for our Marketing intern to work on over the summer, alongside myself and a few of the Marketing team. That’s turned into a bit of a thing, so we are repeating the process this year with our 2016 version. It’s an awesome experience for an intern and the enthusiasm and fun is what gets us through the hard days!
You’re about to hit the road soon for Grad Recruitment season. Any tips for surviving that in one piece?
Sleep, water, a really good sense of humour and a complete refusal to wear heels. I try to make sure I have staff to help me. Ending up doing everything by yourself is a sure road to having a meltdown in a car park somewhere with 16 boxes and people looking at you sideways. There is also a really lovely little community of people running grad programs. They know the drill and we all enjoy catching up (and trading swag) at the events.
What’s the best hotel you stay in on your travels around the country?
When I lived in Auckland and traveled to Welly, it was the Intercontinental, their beds are like sleeping on a cloud and they have fancy gin and tonic in the lobby bar. Now it’s the other way around! I like the Auckland Rydges but to be honest most of the time it’s the Quest. By the time you’ve flown in, herded all the cats, set up a stand, talked to 300 students, put everything away and had the highly anticipated Auckland-friends-catch-up-dinner, falling asleep isn’t a challenge.
What’s the best restaurant / bar you are forced to visit?
Oooh… I blame Everybody’s on Imperial Lane for my current love of Hendricks gin. I haven’t eaten out in Auckland for ages but Charley Noble in Wellington was awesome to take some out of towners to recently. I’m fascinated by the fact that Sweet Mothers Kitchen will make you any flavour of milkshake you can come up with – someone had a peanut butter one the last time I was there.
What’s the favourite track at the moment on your playlist?
Ummm… I can never remember song names or artists… (Googles frantically) I’m never going to live this down am I? Uptown Funk with Mark Ronson/ Bruno Mars.. sigh, there goes all my street cred.