College graduates make great employees. They are young, fit, eager to learn, and often very grateful to have a job. If you’re looking to infuse your workforce with fresh talent and new blood, college graduate recruitment is a great way to do it.
Graduate recruitment opens up several avenues for attracting and hiring top talent, but keep in mind that graduate recruiting comes with its own set of potential pitfalls and roadblocks. In this article, we’ll outline some graduate recruitment strategies and discuss the pros and cons of hiring college graduates.
1. Attend College Job Fairs
Attending college job fairs is hands down the best way to attract college talent. Every college has a job fair on a yearly or quarterly basis. Companies are invited to host booths and talk to interested students.
Most college career fairs take place in the spring when school session starts and right before graduation in the fall. Spring is the best time to find new graduates, while fall is a good time to meet prospective candidates who may be interested in applying the following year. Attending both seasons is an excellent way to build up your talent pipeline.
2. Talk to Current Employees
If you’re looking for candidates you know are likely to be a good culture fit and embody your company values, the best place to start is with your existing employees. It’s not a good idea to hire an employee’s family members. However, finding out where your current employees graduated can be a good starting point when deciding which colleges to reach out to.
Reward employee referrals. If you have an employee referral network, encourage your employees to refer college graduates and students from their Alma Maters.
3. Use Your Network
Just as you would tap your network for referrals about coworkers and former employees, you can tap into your network for graduate referrals. It’s very likely that someone in your network knows a recent graduate or has a recent graduate in their family.
Let your network know that you are looking to recruit graduates. You will often find out that people in your network are involved in mentor-mentee relationships, have family connections, or know about internship programs of which you were unaware.
4. Use Social Media
Young people are on social media. If you want to find young people, go where they hang out. These days that means Tik Tok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, and other online spheres.
Building your brand on social media is likely already part of your marketing strategy. The proper branding attracts not only potential customers but also attracts potential talent. Keep your social media game on point, and when the time comes for graduate recruitment, you will have no problem attracting top grads to your brand.
5. Tailor Your Hiring Requirements
Interviewing and hiring college graduates is a different process than interviewing regular employees. College grads have limited real-world experience, and you should evaluate them against a different set of criteria than other employees.
When interviewing college graduates, focus on their goals for the future rather than their past accomplishments. Look at their academic record and achievements, but don’t focus solely on those things. Grades and standardized tests often fail to catch students’ strengths.
6. Train Your HR Team
Everyone on your hiring staff must be on the same page about recruitment strategies, and this is no different when it comes to recruitment for graduates. Dedicate time and resources to training your HR team on what they should be looking for from candidates.
7. Train Your New Recruits
Training requirements for new graduates will differ from the training requirements of seasoned employees. Recent grads are learning the ropes of your company, and they are also learning the ropes of life in the working world.
New graduates are eager to learn. Show them that you will reciprocate their dedication. One of the best ways to show entry-level employees that they are valued is to provide them with high-quality training. Not only will you be rewarded with competent employees, but you will also be rewarded with loyal employees who love their jobs and love your company.
8. Consider an Internship Program
Internships are one of the main ways that college students transition into the working world. Often, an internship that goes well may turn into a long-term employment contract. It’s a win-win for both the student and the employer.
The student gets a job and fulfills their educational requirements, while the employer gets a trial period to evaluate the student’s skills before hiring them permanently.
The rules and regulations governing internship programs vary from state to state, so make sure to read up on the requirements before implementing one. It can be worthwhile appointing an intern coordinator to manage your internship program.
9. Consider a Mentorship Program
Mentoring is beneficial and enriching for both the mentor and the mentee. By pairing incoming employees with seasoned veterans, you are not only connecting your new graduates to a wealth of experience and knowledge.
You are also providing current employees with the opportunity to stretch their wings, try a management role, share their knowledge and shape a young mind.
Mentorship programs build company culture and foster long-term loyalty and strong employee relationships. They also significantly improve the productivity of new employees.
10. Be Flexible
Today’s college graduates are all about flexibility. Flexibility is one of the main ways in which hiring new grads has changed in recent years. Compared to previous generations, today’s young people expect flexibility in their work environment. They value remote working options and flexible scheduling.
Your initial reaction may be to balk at these demands as unreasonable or to fear that it will lead to a lack of productivity. However, multiple studies have shown that empowering employees with flexibility and autonomy leads to more significant ROI and positive outcomes. Everyone has a life outside of work, and a good work-life balance is essential to your employees' productivity and mental health.