What They Have vs. What You Need

You are hired on BlackboardNew graduates need established skills to land a job, but can’t land a job without experience. When it comes to hiring recent grads, it can be difficult to assess their skills when there’s little to no experience in the field. How do you vet candidates who are just beginning their career? Here are a few options to meet your needs while giving new graduates a chance.

Find Experience in Unexpected Places
Your candidate may not know how to articulate experience accumulated during college so here are a few tips to draw out that information.

  1. Look at the candidate’s college transcript for courses that align with the job
  2. Consider participation in student organizations
  3. Review volunteer work
  4. Evaluate athlete involvement as a possible source of team-building skills

Courses your candidate completed may demonstrate the ability to research, learn and retain information, write, complete complex projects, work in groups, present information, and much more. A leadership role in a student organization will not only show dedication but may indicate a personality that people appreciate.

Soft Skills to Value
A survey conducted by Express Employment Professionals revealed that dependability and reliability are the most sought after soft skills in applicants. Motivation, verbal communication, teamwork, and commitment round out the top five on the list. Express often encourages young professionals to develop soft skills in hopes these will help them land that first job when experience is lacking. Other skills valued by leaders are time management, people skills, self-sufficiency, and gratitude.

Build an Environment for New Grads to Grow
When interviewing a candidate, make sure to set clear expectations. Consider developing a continuing education plan which defines how long a new hire has to acquire hard skills needed for the position.  This plan may include on the job training, additional courses taken at an educational institute, and job shadowing. A plan could take as little as three months or as long as a year, depending on your company’s needs. Graduates fresh out of college often leave their first job within a year. A plan that keeps new hires engaged and invests in their knowledge base will undoubtedly encourage longevity with the company.

Another way to prepare your new hire for a successful career is to get them involved. Keeping your new hire engaged will encourage a longer-lasting relationship with the company. Assign new hires to group projects, pay for a membership in an industry specific organization, or let them be “part of the process.”

What has been your experience with hiring recent college graduates? Let us know in the comments below.

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