10 Things Every Student Needs To Know About Recruitment


I know recruitment processes can be horrible, you wonder why an organisation is putting you through such painful (and often slow) processes!

If you have developed a strong network, you might be lucky to bypass the recruitment process, but with graduate employers on average receiving over 1000* applications, organisations rely on recruitment processes to help them find the needle in the haystack (YOU!).

Let’s go through some of the most common processes and get you ready to succeed!

1. Applications

Typically the first hurdle, it’s the ‘can the applicant follow instructions?’ test.  Sometimes you’ll need to complete an online form and attach documents; some will ask you to email your resume, some will ask you to do something fun involving social media.  Whatever the process, the aim is to check that you can follow the instructions, and you meet the eligibility criteria.  You’d be shocked by how many applicants are rejected for not answering a question or not uploading documents.  As a UTS student, surely you are too smart to miss out on an excellent role because you didn’t follow the instructions?

FINAL NOTE – Never type ‘see resume’ to an answer – I can almost guarantee you’ll be rejected.

2. Resume/Cover letter

Usually part of the application but worthy of its own section, your resume is your first piece of work for the employer, and it is essentially you on a piece of paper. Does it get more important than that? At a bare minimum have a second person check it – ideally someone at UTS Careers.

Check out this blog post for tips on how to write your resume.

3. LinkedIn

If you are actively job hunting, it’s essential that your LinkedIn profile doesn’t let you down – you never know when someone is looking at your profile (if you have one), so make sure it’s employer ready!

FINAL NOTE – Visit Careers to get a professional headshot in our LinkedIn photo booth and attend a LinkedIn Lab.

4. Phone screening

Recruiters always call at the worst time… that’s the aim! They want to hear how you articulate your skills and interest in the role when least expecting it.  If it really is a lousy time it’s ok to ask if you can call back in 5 mins.  However, be prepared that if they have called you, they are likely calling lots of other applicants so you may never get back through – especially if the recruiter has spoken to enough suitable applicants.

If you need more information about phone interviews, check out this blog post.

5. Video interview

Candidates hate them, but they save organisations so much time.  Lots of applicants simply do not complete this step, so by recording your answers, you are already ahead of the pack!  Employers use video interviews to assess your cultural fit – can they picture you working with the current team or clients? The goal is to be authentic.

FINAL NOTE – You can book interview rooms at UTS Careers to make sure you look the part.

Check out this blog post for more notes on how to ace a video interview.

6. Aptitude/psychometric tests

Testing is used to assess suitability for a job based on the skills, expertise, and traits required to succeed in the role. You can become more comfortable with them and relieve the nerves by completing mock tests in advance.

FINAL NOTE – Follow the instructions: all tests are slightly different don’t assume success = answering the test as quickly as possible!

7. Interview – (group, individual, panel etc.)

As the most common recruitment process, pretty much all organisations use interviews favouring behavioural-based questions (questions such as “Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure?”).  The reason employers love behavioural-based questions is that they give an indication of past performance, which usually indicates future success. It’s also easy for interviewers to spot when an applicant is winging it. I’m sure you know this already, but failing to prepare is preparing to fail at this stage.

Prior to an interview, read up on the organisation and practice STAR responses.

FINAL NOTEFree suit hire and mock interviews available at UTS Careers!

Read this blog post for more notes on how to prepare for an interview.

8. Assessment Centre

This stage is a significant investment from the employer. The aim is to observe applicants in a variety of situations: a presentation, a group activity a case study, and maybe an interview.  Yes, it’s intimidating to meet your fellow applicants, but it’s your opportunity to showcase your positive, collaborative approach and let them meet the real you.

Give this blog post a read for more notes on assessment centres.

9. Reference check

At this point, you have impressed your potential employer, but speaking to a referee helps validate the decision. Or, sometimes they’re having a tough time deciding between 2 applicants, so make sure you choose a referee who can talk about you positively – ideally your last supervisor.

FINAL NOTE – Always prep your referee so they can provide specific examples of why you would be a fantastic hire, and drop them a thank you note afterwards!

Asking for a reference can be slightly awkward, so check out this blog post for tips on how to ease the process.

10. Background checks

Background checks are an increasing trend, with some applicants making false claims about experience, education and visa status.  Trust me, it is not worth lying in recruitment processes as the outcome is never pretty.

TAKE AWAY – You are good enough, do not lie!


Horary you got the job or internship! Fantastic news.  In most organisations, you’ll still be required to pass the probation period.  Turn up on time, demonstrate an interest in the role, ask questions and prove to your employer that they made an excellent choice in hiring you!

Finally, not all employers have ethical recruitment processes so if something seems dodgy, ask us – we are here to help you watch out for:

  1. Unpaid work trials
  2. Payment in return for employment
  3. Interviews at residential addresses
  4. Job adverts requiring specific physical features and a photograph
  5. Inappropriate interview questions (link to blog)


*Statistics courtesy of the 2017 AAGE Employer Survey

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Julieanne Cutrupi

By Julieanne Cutrupi

UTS Careers Manager

Julieanne O’Hara  leads the fantastic UTS Careers team, who through a range of programs and services, help UTS students and alumni achieve their definition of success.