Hiring recent graduates: What to look for
You may hear people complain of a lack of real-world knowledge displayed by recent graduates but that rather misses the point. When hiring recent graduates you are investing in their introduction to the world of work. Although we recommend to students that industrial placements and work experience can really boost their chances of finding work, an open-minded employer will recognise the benefits a green graduate will bring.
Obvious right? Some roles require very specific degrees – medical, legal, etc and a relevant degree is mandatory. However, for the majority of roles, the choice of degree does not necessarily lead to a specific career path. History, for example, is a very respected subject, not because historians are in demand but because history degrees are known for requiring high levels of critical thinking. If you need someone who doesn’t take things at face value and has been trained to analyse possible causes, a history graduate may be very useful. From an employer’s point of view, it’s so good to have graduates and non-graduates from a wide range of backgrounds. Identikit economics graduates will have a more narrow mindset than a team that covers a range of expertise. Look at your current team and actively try to recruit outside of the norm.
Enthusiasm for the role
Universities have a habit of setting rather high expectations for graduates’ first jobs. Gaining a first-class degree does not mean you step into management or even a decision-making role. The graduate jobs market is pretty rough at the moment and you may be interviewing someone who has sent out 100 applications without so much as a response. Your job may be right at the bottom of their wish list. You need to find those graduates that genuinely want the role. They need to be willing to learn and understand that a degree is just the beginning of their education. There are brilliant graduates out there, perfect for the role but you may have a few frustrating interviews in order to find the ones right for your company.
Commitment to the role
You’re going to need to invest a bit of time and energy getting your graduate up to speed. You need, therefore, a level of commitment. It’s all about getting the right fit, but if you feel that they would jump ship at the first opportunity it’s probably not worth the punt. Some roles are suitable as a stop-gap and you may not be too worried about the training costs. Ask a few questions about how they see their future careers and you’ll get a sense of whether they’ll stick around. It’s important to balance the benefits and potential costs of hiring a recent graduate. If you find the right person they can bring that youthful spark to your business and push it forward!