As HR and talent acquisition leaders, we are always looking for cost effective and creative ways to make your recruiting dollars go the extra mile. The market for best in class experienced candidates will remain extremely competitive as unemployment rates continue to drop, which leaves many companies looking to new options to fill their hiring needs. Because of this an increasing number of companies are adjusting their work environments in order to attract and train professionals, especially those who have recently graduated from colleges and universities, in an effort to develop raw talent. Inexperienced recent grads can provide a clean slate that a savvy employer can mold into a fantastic employee over time. If you’re serious about looking to recent graduates to fill your hiring needs, consider these four tips to raise the odds of finding long term success with your hire.
Leverage Inexperience to Your Advantage
Recent grads are hungry to gain experience, and they also know that their lack of it is their biggest downside. Find tasks or areas of a job that don’t require the new hire to have a wealth of previous experience, but do require that they learn and adapt quickly. Based off how the new hire tackles these tasks you can gain insight into how they would likely learn and perform over time. What’s more, jobs that don't demand a lot of experience can easily start as low-cost internships and turn into full time opportunities, giving the company the benefit of screening future job candidates on-the-job to get a feel for how they work.
Get the Right Culture Fit First
When recruiting recent grads remember you aren’t hiring solely for experience. Focus instead on interviewing and assessing the right personality to fit into your company culture with the end goal of interns becoming permanent full time employees. By looking for a good culture fit, you get to train the candidate exactly how you’d like so they can learn about the business from the ground up. You will build a candidate pipeline and peace of mind knowing you have a candidate who has already proven him/herself and is familiar with your company culture and team, and the candidate will be trained exactly as needed to make sure they thrive in their role. By matching the goals and personality first, you also have a better chance of retaining people longer, simply because they like the organization and know they are supported as a professional.
Give a project to them and see how they receive feedback.
If you’re still wary of hiring someone with little experience, don’t be afraid to test them with a small project. This can be sent to them via email or hand delivered after an interview. Provide them with a time constraint that would be similar to a current employee (but not too strict, they are likely full time applying and won’t have all day to work on it, a two hour turn around isn’t enough) and see how their work comes in. Does it seemed rushed and sloppy? Is it incomplete and without critical thought? It’s up to you to determine what the most important factors you’re looking for are and how you want to score the project. Just remember that you’re not always looking for the candidate who does it perfectly, but for the candidate that holds the most raw- potential and ability to bring the most long term value to the table.
Schedule Your Feedback.
Schedule a focused time on engaging and sitting down with recent grads and those you are most interested in hiring, recruiting, promoting and developing especially when it comes to transitioning those interns to permanent positions with your company.
While it can be a scary proposition to hire a college graduate with little experience, the upside can be tremendous if you need to scale your team quickly and on a budget. Be sure to give your recruiting efforts real thought ahead of time so you know exactly what type of person you are looking for, and most importantly, what type of company you are. Use this information to formulate a profile of the type of person you’re looking for, the candidate “must haves”, and what type of exercises you think would best convey if the potential hire has the skills you need. It’s not a perfect science, but by keeping these three tips in mind when looking for a new, recent graduate hire, you’ll significantly up the odds of finding someone great that's ready to join and make an immediate and noticeable impact.