Guidant IRC team smiling

Tapping into the early talent pool

Guidant IRC & IRC have recently partnered with the National College of Ireland (NCI) in providing CV clinics to second year students and also presenting to students on the benefits of completing a work placement before graduating from college/university.

Our sessions with the NCI opened up internal conversations around talent pooling, early talent and graduate programmes and work placements and internships and raised two questions “What does a good graduate programme look like?” and “How early should student/graduate talent pooling start in an organisation?”.

What is early talent?

Early talent can be simply defined as including graduate schemes, internships and work placements and is becoming an increased focus point for employers.

The talent-driven market

If there is a war for talent then early talent programmes are one of the grittiest battlefields. The competition is fierce; companies are creating more innovative attraction campaigns and are starting earlier in terms of reaching out to future potential employees. 

The increasing demands of this particular talent pool are adding to the complexities of finding and securing early talent. Millennials and Generation Z workers are being credited with driving a workplace revolution with increased demands for flexibility, shorter career transitions and an increased focus on company culture and CSR. We now live in a Tripadvisor-like world where real-time company reviews are live online and reflect the reality rather than the published corporate employer branding storyline.

What can a company do to start building a talent pipeline to support future growth and attract the right talent?

EY recently amended their graduate programme and stated an increase in the quality and volume of their applicants by 118%. They used video to promote the benefits of working in EY showing recent graduate hires, demonstrating the reality of the working environment. They also streamlined their application process to make it more accessible and improved the applicant experience making it user friendly and quick to complete.

Accenture have also recently introduced immersive technologies including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into their graduate recruitment programme, with candidates being set a range of tasks using both VR and AR as part of their graduate assessment process. By embracing new innovative technology, companies such as Accenture are differentiating themselves from competitors but also embracing a more inclusive and diverse selection process.

What this means for the workforce of the future

How can students, undergraduates and graduates ensure that they are best positioned to find that first vital role and how should they approach their job search? While employers are looking to attract the best in early talent there are also ongoing murmurings regarding 'employability' and the gap between what graduates can offer and what employers actually need and want. 

College or university supported work placements can go a long way to bridge this gap, with an employer’s focus on training, mentor schemes and building the softer skills that can often be lacking in fresh graduates. Companies are looking at this method to develop internal talent pools but also as an opportunity to shape and develop employees before they become part of the permanent workforce. Internships offer similar benefits for both employers and employees with practical learnings in a professional and often more sympathetic environment.

Our work with NCI

Guidant IRC & IRC are working with both colleges and also our clients to ensure that we are helping to bridge the employability gap. We were inspired by meeting with over 200 students in NCI and talking through how they are building their personal brand and ensuring they have a great launch pad to start their future career.

Our innovative work with Diageo and Heathrow

We have also recently worked with Diageo, supporting them on their European graduate recruitment programme, where we utilised both video interviews and live online chat support for the applicants.

Our work with Heathrow has seen us build an innovative attraction campaign for their Innovation Catalysts, including gamification and disruptive recruitment advertising.

Want more information?

For more information regarding our innovative work please contact me at

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