Best Graduate Recruitment Strategy 2020

Cisco Leaders of Tomorrow are the New University Grads of Today – Cisco

Global technology company Cisco hires university graduates from more than 60 countries every year. The Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP) is a global early-in-career onboarding programme that brings a pipeline of diverse graduate talent for Associate Sales Engineers (ASE) and Associate Sales Representatives (ASR) roles.

  • The judges were very impressed with the programme’s diversity recruitment, which is vital to match Cisco’s customers. Diversity applies to both female/male equality, as well as visible minorities.
  • As Cisco’s business is global, CSAP must recruit, hire, train and deliver client-ready sales associates in multiple countries. CSAP supplies an ongoing pipeline of talent for Cisco, develops Cisco’s future leaders and continues to hire a strong female presence.
  • Cisco is constantly experimenting with new ways of recruiting. This includes AI (artificial intelligence), EQ (emotional intelligence) and Virtual Reality (VR). Digital videos have now taken the place, in most countries, of in-person interviews.
  • Cisco organises a nine-week summer programme in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia to hire university students to intern at Cisco for 2-3 years before fast-tracking them into the CSAP programme. It establishes a loyalty, which results in high conversions to the CSAP programme, reducing the cost of recruiting. Interns stay engaged with Cisco when they return to their universities through the ‘Cisco Street Team’ program.
  • Impressive success in diversity hiring: the 50% male/50% female goal has been achieved in each of the last five years in every country; increasing the number of African-American hires in the US, with the Historical Black Colleges initiative raising African-American diversity in CSAP Americas from 3% in 2013 to 14% in 2019.
  • CSAP-ers stay for many reasons, including the fact that they have formed life-long friends within their CSAP Tribe. The CSAP Program runs on the principles of teamwork, operational excellence and repeatable process. The team reviews feedback (qualitative and quantitative) daily to make the recruitment and hiring process better, year-on-year, for prospective candidates.

Judges’ comments: “A truly holistic approach, from attraction, to ‘keeping warm content-based information’. Impressive African-American hiring as well as strong retention, with very limited attrition.”