Recent college graduates have a serious problem. Job statistics increasingly show that college graduates are underemployed and, even when they find employment; they are only rarely in a field applicable to their college majors (or that they expected to get a job in). This isn’t ideal for young adults trying to get into rewarding careers, and ultimately it’s not good for business, either. The lack of college graduate employment indicates there is a large market of educated, well-trained adults out there eager to step into a job, but they are not getting matched up to companies where they can be of benefit. For HR to succeed in its mission -- finding and retaining the best employees for each position -- certain strategies need to be revised for 2015.
Evaluate the Efficiency of Current Recruitment Methods
HR departments tend to go about job recruitment in just a few ways. Promoting from within or from word-of-mouth recommendations is great, but sometimes a job must be opened to a wide array of applicants. There is the tried-and-true resume slush pile, the outsourcing to temporary agencies, classified ads and a website link for candidates to submit online applications. These methods produce a lot of noise, but little signal; while employers might get a large number of candidates, it is difficult and time-consuming to sort the best matches for the job. Additionally, sometimes the best candidate ends up being one who slips through the cracks.
For HR to see drastic improvements in hiring efficiency, employee satisfaction and productivity, something needs to change in 2015. That change is to stop falling back on old hiring methods of casting the biggest net possible.
Embrace the Digital Age
The Internet (and especially social media) has made everyone connected to a larger, sprawling, digital network. It has never been easier to get background info on a candidate as most of them willingly post it online. Do your research on the candidate, but don’t discount them completely based off a Facebook profile (especially if they are recent graduates). Do take the time to look into what the candidate may have done in their free time or for fun that relates to the job at hand. If the job calls for a graphic designer with a college degree and an advertising portfolio, then see if your candidates have proudly shown off their work online or as part of a college group. Surprisingly, some entry level candidates may neglect to show their best work as they’re green and unfamiliar with anything beyond the often drilled in “one page only” resume maxim. By taking an extra, deeper look you can find out valuable information about a potential all-star candidate. The best part is that you can discover all these things often with a simple Google or social search that takes 5 minutes.
Target the Specific Needs of Millennials
Millennials seek different benefits from an employer than their grandparents or parents. There was a time when a recent college graduate went to work at a firm with an eye on retiring from the same company. Right or wrong, millennials are less optimistic about job longevity. Furthermore, since many of them are saddled with massive student loans, they feel unable to participate in a 401(k) or other self-funded plan. Employers who can help them with this issue or demonstrate a clear professional path that comes with a position at the company have a higher likelihood of earning the employee's loyalty and increased productivity.
A trait millennials value greatly from an employer (according to a recent study reported by "Business News Daily") is to work for a socially responsible company. Approximately half of the survey participants expressed a desire to work for a firm with demonstrated ethical business practices. They believe that businesses should be more socially conscious. Respondents also indicated that they preferred forward-thinking, innovative employers who would give them an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills.
Leveraging digital technology well is a challenge all departments face going forward into 2015, but it is especially vital for HR. Traditional recruitment methods simply do not work well when evaluating the whole candidate for the latest generation of connected, tech-savvy graduates seeking entry-level positions and students seeking internships. Embracing the latest technologies available allows companies to focus on what they really need—the perfect candidate—while graduates can focus on what they really need—the perfect job.