Recruiting LSE students and alumni: a guide

How to make recruiting a student or graduate from LSE a smooth and easy process

Why recruit from LSE?

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one of the foremost social science universities in the world. Our research and teaching span the breadth of the social sciences, from sociology, politics, and law to economics, accounting, and finance. Our students are highly engaged, inquisitive and are about much more than just economics! You can get an idea of the full range of our courses in the LSE course guide. We also have an incredibly diverse student body, drawing our students from around 140 countries with a network of over 125,000 alumni in more than 190 countries.

We're proud of our reputation. LSE Careers works closely with employers to develop bespoke programmes for you to access our student talent and improve your brand awareness on campus.

Recruitment tips

Job descriptions

  • Don't just focus on tasks: students want to know the purpose and impact of the role, as well as how it fits into the organisation's structure. Be specific (ACASCIPD).
  • Think about your audience and what appeals to them: if you want to hire creative entrepreneurial types, a creative job description (such as ones from Escape The City) will capture their attention.
  • Remember to describe your company: your mission and values and your role in your industry all give a clear picture to attract the right applicants.
  • Be honest: describe the role accurately to avoid disappointment from the person you hire.
  • Give some thought to how the job will grow and evolve, as this will avoid employees resenting taking on responsibilities not in the original job description (Knowhow Nonprofit). Include a 'typical day' or examples of projects where applicable (Hays).

Person specifications

  • Include essential (must have) as well as desirable (nice to have) criteria - this will help you rule out certain applicants and decide between others (Monster).
  • Include education, qualifications, relevant training, personal qualities, experience (avoid stating number of years of experience required), specific knowledge (many things can be learned).
  • Competencies for the role are also important. Typical competencies employers look for: being analytical, strong communication skills, results orientated, problem solving ability, flexible, and works well under pressure (CIPD).
  • Best fit vs. diverse and inclusive: recruiting for 'personality fit' can be difficult because you may keep hiring similar people resulting in no diversity in the team. Focus on skills and achievements rather than personality traits, eg. 'proven sales record and client facing experience' not 'outgoing and friendly personality'.
  • Avoid being too specific about academic qualifications (eg. MSc in Comparative Politics essential) because students from different disciplines develop similar skills and you don't want to miss out on equally brilliant candidates from other degree programmes. Having a specific degree doesn't necessarily mean the person has the right set of skills or experience to do the job.

Writing a compelling job advert

  • Give the advert an interesting and descriptive title eg. rather than 'Graduate job', write 'Operations Graduate Scheme'. Make sure the summary is an interesting overview to make students want to read on, and don't forget to direct applicants to your website.
  • Include key points from the job description and person specification, for example the duties and responsibilities, working hours/days, frequency of work, and required skills, experience and qualifications. Include all essential information to avoid wasting your time and students' time.
  • We only advertise opportunities which comply with local minimum wage legislation ie. the  National Minimum Wage in the UK. Unpaid positions will only be considered if they are with a registered charity, voluntary organisation, associated fundraising body or statutory body, or voluntary roles which pass the 'worker test' described in  advice from NUS and UCU. There are arguments for and against disclosing the salary in a job advert, but in a recent survey we found LSE students are more likely to apply for a job which states the salary, than one which stated 'negotiable' or 'competitive', so we encourage you to provide a salary figure or range if possible.
  • Money is not everything to new graduates so remember to include other benefits of the job eg. pension scheme, cycle to work scheme, gym pass, and social activities.
  • Avoid clichés: make sure you never exaggerate the content or potential of an opportunity.
  • Include a relevant link to your application form, or an email address where applicants can send a CV or cover letter or ask questions. Try to leave at least two weeks from posting to closing date if possible, to ensure maximum exposure for the advert.

Recruitment campaign and other advertising options

  • Once your advert is up on CareerHub, there are a number of things you can do to boost views and applications; consider sending a targeted email or posting an online advert for your company.
  • If you don't have enough applications you can extend the closing date or change the advert to make it appeal to a wider audience.
  • To build better brand awareness long term, consider engaging with students on campus, through one of our events including careers fairs and cafés, on-campus presentations/promotions, and other networking opportunities. Speak to the Employer Engagement Team at LSE for more.

Interview and assessment options

  • While there's a myriad of assessment tools, it's ok to keep it simple! A telephone interview followed by one in person is often sufficient.
  • Interviews can be conducted in person, via telephone, or over Skype, which should help you and your candidates avoid unnecessary travel costs.
  • If you have the time and budget, consider having informal interviews (lunch or dinner), using psychometric tests, and conducting an assessment centre (presentation, written exercise, group exercise, etc) to further screen applicants (CIPD).
  • Get multiple points of view (senior, junior, admin) to help you decide on the right person.
  • Reply to candidates in a timely manner - it's important for employers to be professional too.
  • Think about your brand and remember you also need to make a positive impression on students.
  • Look at your candidates' social media if that's important to you.
  • How can else can you find and pre-screen candidates? Get creative! For examplee you could hold a networking event or coffee morning McKinsey invites Fulbright scholars to interviews,, rather than reviewing CVs and cover letters. Or why not work with student societies or host a competition? You'll probably want to interview the winner!

Guidelines for recruiting international students

Sponsoring a visa for an international student isn't always difficult. Please see the LSE International

Student Visa Advice Team's guide about international students working in the UK [pdf].

Advice on how to retain graduates

  • Engage with graduates before they arrive through regular communication, or even inviting them to office events or meetings.
  • Having a personal development plan focusing on personal and professional growth is what graduates value the most when launching their career.
  • Use websites like Glassdoor and top employers lists to understand what graduates are saying about their places of work (positive and negative). There's also a lot of online research on millennials in the workforce (PWCForbes).
  • Set clear expectations and deliverables so they are clear about goals they are working towards.
  • Set them up for success by giving them the right training, tools, supplies, and even a briefing on office culture.
  • Be inclusive - invite graduates along, ask for their opinion, give them opportunities to participate.
  • Sustainability and corporate responsibility: millennials want to make a difference, and working for an organisation that allows them to do that is a great motivator. Think about causes your organisation supports and empower graduate employees to get involved and make a difference.
  • Mentorship or buddy systems are a great way of providing extra resources and help at no extra cost to your organisation. This provides an added social benefit by enabling staff to connect with each other in a meaningful way.
  • Don't wait until an annual review to give and ask for honest and constructive feedback. It's important to provide this along the way. Retaining your graduates can be as simple as asking them if they are happy and if there are things they would like to change. And do use annual appraisals as a time to review salary and benefits as well!

Contact us

Our Employer Engagement Team is on hand to help with any of your questions about CareerHub, recruiting LSE students, or coming on campus for an event. Contact us on or +44 (0)20 7107 5293.


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Employer Engagement Team

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