Read any article on hiring recent graduates, and you’ll find a litany of ageist aphorisms. Some pigeonhole Millennials as lazy and entitled. Others sing their praises for their ability to be adaptable or ambitious, as opposed to (we’re led to assume) their aged coworkers set in their ways and coasting along until retirement.
Then there are fresh takes on Zoomers–the most recent college graduates. According to some, they are driven more by salary than a good opportunity to learn new skills, and so at the drop of a dime will job hop for a slightly better salary.
In truth, you don’t have to pay Millennials in trophies or lure Zoomers with hefty sign-on bonuses–any more than you had to endorse flannel as business casual attire when you hired Generation X.
Moreover, hiring new graduates makes sense even if these stereotypes are true. The skill shortage is real, and all the data points to the power of a diverse workforce. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to recruit new graduates, regardless of their generational traits.
Hiring Fresh Graduates
There are many benefits of hiring college graduates. They’re understandably excited to have graduated college and start their careers. As candidates without experience, they often will accept a lower job salary in exchange for upskilling opportunities. There are other great reasons to hire new grads that far outweigh the disadvantages of hiring fresh graduates.
Reach your diversity goals. When companies hire fresh graduates, they’re more likely to attain their diversity goals. Pew Research Center reports that recent graduates are more diverse than ever. A diverse workforce is good for your business. According to McKinsey, companies succeeding at diversity are 35 percent more likely to enjoy profit margins above the median for their industry.
Access a passive talent pool. Most hiring managers would agree a currently employed candidate is more appealing than a jobless candidate. Turns out 41 percent of recent college graduates are underemployed, with at least 10 percent earning less than $25,000. Chances are that these hard-working employees would prefer a role with a promising future at your company.
Hire digitally proficient employees. One trope about today’s fresh graduates is mostly true: they pickup new technology quicker than older generations, an unsurprising fact since Millennials were the first generation to grow up with the internet–and Zoomers may not remember a time without smart phones. New graduates can likely help the company quickly improve its online presence or make more efficient use of existing software.
Challenges of Hiring New Graduates
These numerous benefits aside, there are problems faced by employers in hiring new graduates.
And while one article ungraciously claims “Millennials’ Work Ethic Is In The Eye Of The Beholder,” you’ve been a hiring manager long enough to know the same could be said of many people, regardless of age. The weakness of a new graduate employee has less to do with tired stereotypes.
Simply put, new graduates have different expectations than their older counterparts.
- Recent graduates want to work for companies that “care about their individual well-being,” according to Gallup. While that may seem like a nebulous requirement for an employer, it’s clear your company needs to develop a culture that humanizes your employees in order to attract new graduates.
- The internet is integral to the way younger generations connect with the world. Companies need to engage in mobile recruiting coupled with a strong online presence to attract fresh graduates. You need more than one or two ads on job sites to appeal to fresh graduates. Your company needs to have a strong, authentic social media and online presence, including a branded careers site.
- Lastly, lack of experience for fresh graduates is a legitimate concern for hiring managers. To successfully hire and onboard Millennials and Zoomers, your company needs to help them quickly acquire the knowledge you might expect from more experienced employees.
The best place to find your newly graduated new hire is—you guessed it—on campus. The following tips will help you recruit graduates on campus.
- Make sure your job ads are listed on the university’s job board as well their social media pages. One of the advantages of campus recruiting is that you can target your audience when you use university’s niche job board.
- Have a strong LinkedIn presence. As graduation approaches, many students will strengthen their LinkedIn profile. You can search for recent graduates and reach out through InMail.
- Make sure your branded careers site is appealing to recent graduates. Your careers site should include information about your company culture as well as “behind-the-scenes” videos.
- Host an on-campus job fair complete with free company swag. Your campus recruiting strategy isn’t complete without an onsite job fair. Make sure you advertise the job fair both on campus and online. Have several employees at the booth with plenty of literature about your company and its open positions.
- Build relationships with college organizations and the university’s career department. Your business isn’t the only one competing for new graduates. You want to make sure your company is top-of-mind when career advisors are counseling students.
Job Offer for New Graduates
Gallup surveyed new graduates and published the findings in their report “How Millennials Want to Work and Live.” When Gallup asked Millennials what they look for in a job offer for after graduation, pay and benefits did not make the top five. When making a job offer for new graduates, you need to highlight the job quality most important to them.
Opportunity to Learn and Grow
Continuous learning and opportunities to grow are important to 59 percent of new graduates. These candidates understand their inexperience is a disadvantage. The see ongoing upskilling as a way to career stability. Tuition reimbursement and certifications are important to fresh graduates.
Quality of Executive Leadership
Your executive team makes important decisions about the company’s culture and direction. For this reason, strong executive leadership is important to 58 percent of Millennials. New graduates will be more likely to accept your job offer if you’ve explained the company’s vision well.
Quality of Direct Manager
Over half of Millennials agree with 60 percent of Baby Boomers on at least one thing: quality of manager is extremely important. Throughout the interview process, give candidates the opportunity to meet their potential manager.
Challenging, Meaningful Work
While no one wants to be bored at work, new graduates are more likely to decline an offer for a job that isn’t interesting. But that doesn’t mean you need to rewrite your job description to make it more entertaining for your new hire. Creating a culture of innovation can make even a receptionist role more interesting if it means you’re open to creative solutions that extend beyond the usual scope of the role.
Gallup’s survey indicates that half of new graduates consider advancement opportunities an important factor for a graduating senior’s job offer. Keep in mind, fresh graduates are just starting their careers and are looking forward to achieving goals. The best job offer for new graduates will include clear guidelines about advancement decisions as well as career pathing for the new hire.
Pay and Benefits
Compensation may not have made the top five. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important factor for new graduate job offers. Pay and benefits are a close sixth in importance at 48 percent.
Hiring New Graduates
New graduates grew up with the internet and smartphones. They witnessed several historical events before entering the job market. But they still have the same sense of excitement about their future as previous generations. And the outlook and preferences of Generation Z are still evolving. Don’t fall into the trap of dismissing new graduates as fussy job hoppers, and don’t broadly characterize them as upgrades of your older employees.
The key to recruiting new graduates is to humanize the candidate experience and see them as individuals. If you think about it, that’s what all your prospective new hires want.
Do you need help analyzing your recruitment process? Download our free scorecard to evaluate whether your recruitment process is helping or hindering your job offer acceptance rate.
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