In this study we elicit employers’ preferences for a variety of CV attributes and types of skills when recruiting university graduates. Using two discrete choice experiments, we simulate the two common steps of the graduate recruitment process: 1) the selection of suitable candidates for job interviews based on CVs, and 2) the hiring of graduates based on observed skills. We show that in the first step, employers attach most value to CV attributes which signal a high stock of occupation-specific human capital indicating low training costs and short adjustment periods; attributes such as relevant work experience and a good match between the field of study and the job tasks. In line with the preferences in the first step, employers’ actual hiring decision is mostly influenced by graduates’ level of professional expertise and interpersonal skills. Other types of skills also play a role in the hiring decision but are less important, and can therefore not easily compensate for a lack of occupation-specific human capital and interpersonal skills.
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