Tips for Hiring Recent College Grads #shrm14

Graduation season is upon us, which means a lot of recent college grads entering the job market. For young college grads it is a time to enter the professional world and start building a career, and for older graduates, it may mean entering a new career field. There is a lot of new talent entering the job search pool, which is a plus for employers trying to fill open positions. In today’s post, we will look at some tips for hiring recent college graduates.

Be patient & helpful

My business partner and I recently did a job search workshop at California Lutheran University. It was fun to be back at our alma mater—not only was it the place where we first worked together on the student newspaper, but it also brought back a lot of memories of what it was like to be on the verge of graduating and entering the real world.

A lot of young college graduates have little experience with looking for a professional job. Campus career centers are a great help, but not every student takes advantage of the services offered. This means employers sometimes need to go the extra mile to mentor new job seekers.

When your job involves reviewing hundreds of resumes and applications, it can be very easy to grow impatient with seemingly simple questions from job seekers. Instead, it is best to be patient and answer the basic questions. Consider it training for new job seekers. If you are willing to take the time with a new job seeker, you may find that they could actually be a good employee for you.

Meet job seekers where they are

I have found it useful to give presentations to college students. I can answer their questions from the perspective of someone who evolved from a job-seeking novice to someone who has a lot of experience on the hiring side. This is a good way to be proactive about training new job seekers, and it also puts you in touch with potential candidates for openings at your company. College job fairs are another place to meet new job seekers.

Do your recruiters connect with candidates through social media? Remember that most young graduates are online, so having an active social media presence is key to finding the best recent college graduates. Set up employment social media accounts separate from your company’s main social media pages. This way job seekers have their own place to go to interact with you. Typically, a company’s main social media accounts are monitored by marketing. Employment questions and comments do not always make it back to the HR department, so do not miss out on the opportunity to connect with job seekers directly via social media.

Not All Recent Grads are Millenials

Not everyone who goes to college is fresh out of high school. Some people delay higher education, and some may decide to go back to get the education needed to pursue a promotion or a new career. Regardless of the reason, nontraditional students account for a growing number of those graduating from college.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of college students 25 and older increased 41% from 2000 to 2011. The NCES points out that this is a larger increase than was seen for students under 25 during the same period.

While these job seekers may not need the same guidance and mentoring as those new to the search process, it is important to consider them when developing a recruiting strategy. Nontraditional college grads bring the perfect mix of new skills and previous workplace experience. Consider working with college career centers to set up a workshop specifically for nontraditional students to help target this group.

Recent college graduates can inject your workplace with new ideas, and they bring the latest skills to their jobs. They can be an excellent complement to your existing workforce. A good recruiting strategy must include a plan for attracting recent graduates.

What are you doing to reach recent college graduates?

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Stephanie Hammerwold

Stephanie Hammerwold, is the founder and director of Pacific Reentry Career Services, a Southern California nonprofit that helps formerly incarcerated women find and maintain employment. She also blogs on a variety of HR topics as the HR Hammer. When not volunteering for her nonprofit, Stephanie has a day job in HR at a tech startup in Irvine, CA.


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