How to Attract and Hire Recent College Graduates

by Tim Parker

Recent college graduates can offer a lot to your business, but if you want to recruit them, you have to do things a little differently. Here's how you can attract new graduates to your company.

hiring new graduates
Image source: BigStockPhoto.com

You’ve heard the stats. There are massive amounts of recent college graduates that are looking for a job. They’re talented, they’re driven, and they’re waiting to make an outstanding impact on your company.

If you’re new to hiring or your employees have been with you a while, you might not know that hiring the youngest and brightest in the workforce requires you to play by a different set of rules.

How to Craft the Position

Before advertising the position, think about the type of person that will fill the role. Next, create a job description attractive to that personality type. Job descriptions used to read like your mortgage documents but to attract a college graduate make it clear and simple.

Use easy-to-read language and don’t use industry lingo. From the Generation Xers to today, nobody wants to read boilerplate language. Asking somebody to have “strong people skills” means nothing. “Building a sales force” is more likely to resonate with a young worker.

SEE ALSO: How to Write a Job Description

Young workers want a get-to-the-point, specific job posting. You can’t do that if you haven’t first laid out the position in detail on your end.

How to Post Your Ad

It’s time to change your thinking. It’s true that there are plenty of graduates looking for work but to find the best of the best you have to sell yourself to them as much as they try to impress you. That starts with your advertisement.

No longer do you place a help wanted sign in your front window or run an ad in the local newspaper.

You have to go online.

1. Think hard about your wording- If you’re a tech startup or ad agency, you’re probably looking for the creative, edgy person. He or she lives inside their head constantly looking for a new way to solve a familiar problem.

How will your ad read? Ultra-professional, stuffy, and pure business or conversational and informal? If you want edgy and relevant, make your ad edgy and relevant.

If you’re an accounting or law firm, ultra-professional is probably the right tone. Think about the type of person you want to attract and tailor your ad accordingly.

2. Post outside of your company website- Certainly, you should post the open position on your company website but one study found that 49% of college graduates searched for jobs on job boards. Popular job posting sites like Indeed or Craigslist as well as industry niche websites are a great place to start.

3. Use social media- If you don’t consider yourself social media savvy, find somebody to help because you have to leverage the power of social to find quality candidates. LinkedIn is a giant talent pool of candidates that you need to tap. Advertise on your company and personal Facebook pages and if you’re a tweeter, link to the job posting from your account.

How to Sort the Good from the Bad

The applications you receive might fall into three basic and general categories: “no way”, “maybe”, and “I have to meet this person.”

The “no way” pile is the people clearly not suited for the job. Maybe the job requires licenses and certifications the person doesn’t have or some other objective reason why they aren’t a fit.

SEE ALSO: Questions You Should and Shouldn't Ask in Job Interviews

The “maybe” pile will likely be your largest. These are the people who have at least one quality that strikes your interest. Here’s where you might have to change your thinking. In the past, formal education and experience were primary considerations. They should still be high on the list but what about somebody with no experience but clearly full of passion and drive?

Anybody who graduated in the past six years could be insanely qualified but as a victim of the Great Recession was unable to find a job.

Or how about the web designer that didn’t go to school but has a portfolio of work that shows a clear proficiency for building smart and beautiful websites?

The Internet has opened up a whole host of ways to learn without sitting in a classroom. Don’t put them in the “no way” pile only because of lack of formal schooling.

The “I have to meet this person” pile might hold your winning candidate but go into it with an open mind. Just because they look good on paper doesn’t mean they’re a team player, for example.

Understand the Culture

Today’s young workers are willing to work hard but they grew up hearing that a healthy work-life balance is crucial to performing well in all areas of their life. When they ask about time off and their daily schedule, don’t consider that a sign of laziness. Instead, understand the world they live in.

They’re likely to ask about company culture, if they can work from home on occasion, and the dress code. Don’t pass up a great employee because of old paradigms. Understand how they view the world and create a job that caters to them.

SEE ALSO: How to Avoid Hiring Bad Employees

Bottom Line

There are plenty of outstanding college graduates looking to start a career. They value hard work but put a high value on the culture of your company. Set out to impress them as much as they should impress you.

© 2014 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

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