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7 Tips For Employers Hiring Recent Graduates

Contributed by: Michael Klazema

The next time your company has an open position, count how many applications you receive from recent college graduates. Chances are, the number you end up with will be quite sizable – a sign of just ow many young people are currently looking to enter the job market for the first time. While some employers steer away from hiring this segment of the workforce, preferring to look for older applicants with more professional experience, human resources departments everywhere are starting to change their tune and take chances on younger and less proven workers.

This is a good decision.

While an older applicant who has been in the workforce for years can bring a valuable injection of experience and self-assuredness to your company environment, a right-out-of-college employee can bring their own set of attractive qualities to the job, including unbridled enthusiasm and ambition, outside of the box ideas, and an understanding of how modern technologies work and how they can be used to reach younger segments of the market.

Now that we’ve established that hiring recent college graduates can be a positive thing, we can move onto understanding precisely how to recruit these younger workers and bring them into the fold of your business. In most cases, recent college graduates are looking for different things in their jobs than older employees might be. While a job applicant with 20-plus years of work experience might be most attracted to a company that offers stability, high salary, health insurance, etc., a younger applicant is going to be won over through different channels. With that in mind, here are seven tips to follow if your company is looking to recruit and hire a younger batch of employees.

1. Appeal to Their Passions:

Many employers assume that a young professional right out of college is looking first and foremost for a job that pays well. But while salary will certainly be on the brain for recent graduates, it is rarely the primary concern. Instead, younger employees are still full of ambition to pursue their passions and land their dream jobs. Because of this fact, an employer who can appeal to said passions, ambitions, and dreams is going to be the employer who is successful at recruiting the best recent graduates.

Of course, dreams vary greatly from one person to the next, but for most young professionals, an aspiration to make a difference and to actually be a valuable part of an organization is what counts most. In other words, young people don’t want to be stuck in menial data entry tasks; they want an employer who values their education, their skills, and their passion enough to give them true responsibilities.

2. Temper Your Expectations on Professional Experience:

It goes without saying that not many recent college graduates are going to have a ton of professional experience under their belt. While you may well find yourself interviewing a recent graduate with a resume full of internships and student jobs, keep in mind that they are still interviewing for their first true full-time career opportunity. If you are hoping to hire young professionals, try to temper your expectations on how much professional experience they have. More important in these situations are educational history, glowing references, and overall passion and potential. If a recent graduate has checkmarks in all of those categories, consider giving them a shot to build up the “professional experience” segment of their resume at your company.

3. Emphasize Company Culture:

Another thing that is very important to young professionals is the opportunity to form friendships with the people they work with. Since most recent college graduates are exiting the most social years of their lives, they want assurance that they are still going to be able to find friends and social opportunities in their new lives. A vibrant company culture that emphasizes social interaction, teamwork, inter-departmental support, and an overall friendly atmosphere will be a huge draw to recent graduates.

4. Have a Presence at Job Fairs:

Many recent college graduates are beginning to realize just how clogged job boards and other Internet career resources are with spam and out-of-date information. For this reason, the Internet generation is actually turning away from the Internet when it comes to finding post-graduate career opportunities, looking for them instead at job fairs hosted at or near their college campuses. If you want your company to be efficient at drawing in outgoing graduates, then you need to have a presence at these job fairs.

5. Drop “Work-Life Balance” as a Buzz Word:

Want to truly sell a recent college graduate on working for your company? Drop “work-life balance” into the conversation during an interview. Young people want flexibility in the workplace, whether that means the option to work from home every once in awhile, the chance to travel the world thanks to ample vacation time, or simply the ability to never take work home with them. Even if this extra balance comes with a slight reduction in salary, it still proves attractive to most young workers. Quite simply, these kids want a chance to live their life to the fullest and aren’t ready to devote their lives completely to work just yet. Don’t make them. A young employee who has a fulfilling life outside of work will excel more in the workplace as well.

6. Be Active Online:

There might be no bigger turn-off for a recent college graduate than a prospective employer that has no web presence. Most young adults live online these days, so that’s where your company needs to reach them. Have an attractive website and active social media feeds, and make a point to be prompt with email.

7. Run Background Checks:

Just because college graduates are young doesn’t mean that they have no instances of criminal activity on their records. Even if you think you’ve found the brightest and most brilliant young professional for your company, still hold them to the same employment screening standards as everyone else. Doing so could end up saving you a lot of time and headache down the road.

More about the author:

Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.

One Comment

  1. Davis
    Davis May 15, 2014

    Professional expectations should just shifted to internships from professional job experience. Many college graduates do have a number of internships that can make them stand out over their peers. This also doesn’t mean you should pass up on a graduate simply because they lack internships. Multiple factors should always be considered when hiring.

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