Racing ahead: 1 top graduate strategist in 12 days for international automotive dealer

graduates quick turnaround

Our client came to Freshminds with a year long strategy project which they’d been struggling to fill internally due to a lack of resources and strict timelines. Working closely with the Head of Strategy and the rest of the senior management team, this was a key role to fill, and they were looking for a top-class graduate interested in strategy for the spot. Freshminds got to work, pulling together a strong shortlist within 5 working days of receiving the project and closing the role within 12 days.

The brief

Our client, a top international automotive retailer, required a keen-minded graduate looking to work in strategy to cover maternity leave within their strategy department. They needed an exceptional candidate to start quickly and be able to hit the ground running.

Who they needed:

  • A bright, ambitious graduate with top academics and quantitative abilities who was demonstrably commercial, independent with excellent interpersonal skills.

  • They needed to have a plethora of strong internships and have future ambitions to work in strategy.

  • As the mind was only to be there for a year they needed to pick up a lot of new skills and add value very quickly.


  • Most recent graduates with the skill set the client was looking for had employment secured long before their actual graduation date. This project took place several months out of cycle, so finding someone with the right skills and experience on such short notice was always going to be a challenge.

  • The project only lasted for 1 year and there was a limited budget – making it harder to attract candidates.

  • The brand was not as recognisable as others with graduate offerings.

  • A combination of all of these factors presented a very difficult recruitment challenge.

What Freshminds did

  • Took a detailed brief to fully understand the project, role, company and fit.

  • Pushed hard on referrals and our network. At this point in the graduate recruitment cycle the vast majority of graduates already had positions, but knowing that clever people often have clever friends - we sought to leverage their networks in order to find those few who did not.

  • This was followed by a rigorous screening process to shortlist the best individuals for our client


  • We approached 32 candidates within our network with the right academics, experience and personality traits. Of those 32, 3 were either interested or available and a further 6 had contacts with similar profiles.

  • During telephone interviews we tested these 9 candidates for motivations and fit

  • We then put 7 forward to stringent face to face interviews, testing for competencies, reasoning skills and commercial knowledge, before drawing up a final short list of 2 candidates.

  • These 2 candidates were interviewed by the Head of Strategy and HR Director.

  • 1 candidate was offered the position and we helped our client frame a competitive offer within budget limits.   

  • We provided the client with access to a network of people that would have been otherwise inaccessible, and by screening potential candidates saved significant time of senior stakeholders.

  • We managed to stick to extremely strict timelines – producing a strong shortlist within 5 working days and closing the role within 12.

Due to the project’s success, the business has decided to take on an outstanding strategy intern through Freshminds next year, with a view to it becoming part of their typical business cycle.

Have a similar challenge? Get in touch to find out more.

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