Every year, millions of recent college graduates enter the workforce—and the number is growing. Comparing enrollment in 2000 to 2014, the amount of students enrolled in college has gone from 5.7 million to 21 million, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This influx of students has led to more people receiving degrees than ever before. In fact, during the 2014-2015 school year, colleges and universities are expected to give out 1 million associate’s degrees, 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees, 821,000 master’s degrees, and 177,500 doctorates. That equals nearly 3.8 million graduates. To put that number in perspective, Los Angeles, the second largest city in the U.S., has an urban population of around 3.8 million people. Needless to say, in the next few months, there is going to be a large jump in the workforce—and hiring managers need to know what to expect with their new interviewees. So, we at Refresh Leadership decided to put a list together of what to expect when hiring recent grads.
Though college, university, and tech-school grads come from all backgrounds and age groups, the majority of those will be in their early 20s and affiliated with the Millennial generation. Millennials, or Gen Yers, have grown up with computers, the Internet, and fast-paced technological change. Because of their familiarity with technology, they are a great resource for older generations not as familiar with new and upcoming technologies. Generally, they are quick to learn new ways of operating, but can become bored with outdated, antiquated procedures. To ensure high engagement, allow Millennials to explore different software and cloud platforms that will help them do their job more efficiently.
Anxious to Start Making a Difference
After years in a classroom setting, recent grads are ready to put into practice all the information they have stayed up nights and weekends studying. Although eager, recent grads want to start making a difference right out of the chute, book smart doesn’t always equal street smart. And as any hiring manager can attest to, nothing beats the importance of experience. So how do you make your new employees feel like they’re making a difference when they need time to mature into their new positions? Ask for their input and suggestions often and have them interact with your seasoned employees. Knowing they have a voice and can affect decisions is one of the best ways to build engagement and loyalty to an organization. And because they are right out of college and new to the organization, they may have great ideas on how to handle certain issues and can provide a fresh perspective at your company.
Always Connected Socially
One of the biggest complaints many Gen Xers, Boomers, and Traditionalists have with Millennials is that they sometimes exclusively communicate through online platforms or texting and don’t have the interpersonal skills that older generations possess. However, constantly being connected to online communities through social networking platforms makes them an effective presence for your business. Social networking isn’t going away any time soon, so the best way to ensure your company is reaching the appropriate audiences is to create a presence through sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Millennials are a great resource for understanding the importance of social networking and can help you develop a strong online presence—not to mention the fact that they can be some of your “loudest” champions online.
Entitled or Driven?
Countless articles have been written on the Millennial work ethic and their “entitled” personalities. In fact, this group is sometimes referred to as the Trophy Generation, because they come from a background where everyone is rewarded for mere participation. People assume the majority of young professionals and recent grads expect to have a certain job title and monetary status right out of the gate, but the truth is that the so-called entitlement problem can actually be seen as a driven, goal-oriented view in which recent grads want to hit the ground running. When hiring Millennials, make sure to provide adequate training and direction on the front end, so they can jump right into the job and prove all the negative press about entitlement wrong.
With 3.8 million graduates entering the workforce, you may see yourself hiring a few of them, and by knowing what to expect and how to make the most of their talents, you could bring a breath of fresh perspective into your organization.
Are you planning on hiring recent grads this summer? What have you found is the best way to raise up young professionals in your company? Let us know in the comments section below!