Entry into graduate programmes is highly competitive. Although careers advisors working within higher education do their best to prepare students for engagement with these programmes; anecdotal reports suggest many graduates remain unsure what it is these employers are seeking, and how it is assessed. Our study examines both selection criteria profiles and practices, drawing comprehensive data from 20 New Zealand firms and finds that regardless of a firm's characteristics, most seek a very similar graduate profile, with the concepts of candidate ‘well roundedness’ and ‘fit’ considered most vital. Selection practices employed are tightly connected to this graduate profile. These findings shed some much needed light for graduates on what is, but also what is not, highly sought after by employers in the recruitment and selection process. They should also be of benefit to universities by assisting them to better prepare their graduates for successful transition into the employment market.