College and Career Tech Grads In Demand for Open Jobs

With 86% of U.S. companies looking to hire employees in key departments this year, more than half (52%) say they intend to hire recent college graduates.

This is according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

College graduates have continually been on the radar for hiring decision-makers since 2020 (48% in the first half of 2021, 43% in the second half of 2020, 38% in the first half of 2020). Further, more than 1 in 3 say they plan to hire vocational/career tech graduates (42%) and/or college students (36%) in 2022.

“There is very high demand for any graduate right now who is eager for work,” said Mike Nolfo, Express franchise owner in New Jersey. “With the shortage of both office services and professional staffing and skilled trade employees, employers are grabbing talent everywhere. Oftentimes, companies are excited to hire entry-level grads because they are a blank canvas to train.”

In Florida, Express franchise owner Mike Brady says jobs are also ready and waiting for career tech graduates because of the persistent skills gap.

“We work with two career tech schools here in Jacksonville and they have employers lined up looking for skilled trades graduates,” he said.

Nolfo doesn’t see this increased demand for graduates easing anytime soon as supply and demand fail to balance out.

“Graduates show the ability to complete something and the grit needed to finish a task,” he said. “That is a huge plus for hiring managers.”

As these college and career tech grads apply for jobs, they may face at least an initial virtual interview as 61% of businesses say they have conducted remote video interviews. However, these remote interviews come with their own challenges for interviewees.

More than 2 in 5 hiring decision-makers (43%) say they are tougher with candidates in remote interviews as compared to in-person. Specifically, if interviewees are seen wearing unprofessional dress (e.g., loungewear, spaghetti straps, etc.) (41%), hiring decision-makers report it would cause them not to hire the candidate.

The state of the interviewees’ background is also under watch as a visible mess (36%), a TV on (35%) and/or people in the background (31%) could be cause for the candidate to be denied the position.

“Try to treat it like a face-to-face interview,” Brady suggests. “Prepare, know the job description and information on the company. Make and keep eye contact and avoid any distractions. Ensure your computer will work for the interview and dress for success.”

Nolfo says with the economy opening back up, recruiting is becoming a bit easier, which makes a successful virtual interview all the more important.

“Last year, there were no choices, and hiring managers interviewed and hired almost anyone interested,” he said. “Now, with some competition for positions, you are not the only choice anymore. It’s important to make the right impression.”

The labor market is ideal for these new graduates, and they should take advantage of this kickstart in their career paths, according to Express Employment International CEO Bill Stoller.

“With higher wages and more demand for their talent than many previous generations, we congratulate the Class of 2022 and look forward to seeing their impact on the workforce,” he said.


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