Recruiting Recent College Graduates

Recruiting Recent College Graduates

by on 16 Sep, 2016

It’s September, and college students all across the country are returning to campus. Amidst the rush of students returning and new freshmen moving in, it may be hard to notice that job recruiters are also establishing a presence on campuses. For companies with entry-level position openings, students fresh out of college seem to be a good match - they tend to be enthusiastic, passionate, and ready to take on new challenges. Recruiting these students, however, can be a challenge in itself and requires more than just showing up on campus and expecting students to line up to apply for the jobs.

Here are some tips for successfully hiring and retaining recent or upcoming graduates for entry-level positions:

    • Build an employer brand online and engage with potential employees over time to establish networks and relationships. This includes interacting with students and recent graduates on social media. It also means displaying company culture through posting pictures of employee events, blog posts written by employees, etc.
    • Network with campus departments. Building connections with various departments across campuses, such as career centers, advisors, professors, and student organizations will help you gain access to not only more, but the best student talent.
    • Consider what Millennials are looking for in a job. As Millennials begin to make up a larger part of the workforce, companies need to pay special attention to their unique wants and needs. Many students are not choosing jobs based on salary alone. A number of other factors go into the decision, including location, benefits, and company culture.
    • Ask current employees for referrals. Current employees already have a good idea of what type of candidates would be a good fit for the company, and they can be very helpful in recruiting by referring students who they think would thrive. Take advantage of your current employees’ networks to find potential candidates.
    • Use your intern program as a pipeline for new hires. If you have an internship program in place, you already have an established pool of talent to recruit from. Hiring interns gives the added benefit of hiring people who have proven they can perform, and that understand the job responsibilities and company culture.
    • Train hiring managers on how to interview and assess entry-level candidates. Because entry-level candidates are different than more experienced candidates, they should be evaluated differently. Many do not have direct industry experience, so it can be easy to be biased towards graduates with the most experience. Hiring managers, however, should know how to properly evaluate candidates so that less experienced candidates who may be a better fit are not overlooked.

As mentioned, it is important for employers and recruiters to remember that the generation of students in college and recent graduates have unique desires when it comes to what they are looking for in a job. Since Millennials will soon make up the biggest chunk of the American workforce, it is very beneficial to be in tune with their wants and needs. With that being said, here are some trends that have been observed:

  • Mission-driven work: Millennials tend to seek jobs that they feel have a positive impact in some way. In a recent report, it was stated that 94% of Millennials want to use their skills to benefit a cause. Thus, employers should make it a point to emphasize the positive impact that potential candidates could have by joining that workplace.
  • Mentorship: Many times, Millennials like the idea of being their own boss. However, if they do have a boss, they prefer them to take on more of a mentor role. They want a boss who can coach them during their time in the workplace and be invested in their growth as an employee.
  • Collaboration rather than competition: Millennials are less impressed or driven by competitive work environments. They tend to prefer collaborative workplaces that encourage communication between teams.
  • Flexibility: With the rise of the Internet and technology, Millennials are not as committed to the 9 to 5 office lifestyle, and are open to and interested in different options for work schedules including the possibility of remote work.

Knowing how to best engage and communicate with recent college graduates looking for employment, as well as having an awareness of what is important to this age group in the workplace, are the best ways for employers and recruiters to capitalize on the wealth of enthusiasm and skills that this group has to offer. Recruiting new graduates is definitely a process, so starting early, networking, and forming meaningful relationships with college students and recent graduates will be instrumental to your organization’s recruiting success.

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