Are you ready to hire a new college grad? It’s graduation season. For the next month, the workforce will be flooded with newly minted college graduates making the transition from school to the workforce. These eager grads are filled with hopes and dreams and are ready to begin a new chapter in their lives. They are bursting with energy, fresh ideas and skills, and a determination to make an impact in the world.
An Accenture study showed that only one in seven college graduates preferred to work in a large company. In big businesses, it is often difficult for a high-performing employee to have their work noticed. In a small business, top performers can work closely with the owner or upper management and can be more involved with the heart and soul of the business. High performers get to see the results of their work. Creativity, innovation, and calculated risks are encouraged because that’s what keeps a small business growing. Since they don’t have layers of bureaucracy to go through to gain approval, small businesses can act more quickly on ideas and feedback from their employees.
Working in a small business means a more diversified experience. Employees often have more than one role and can broaden their skills. Top performers often enjoy a challenge, thrive on change, and are adaptable to any situation. In a large business, jobs can be boring and routine, and opportunities are limited for developing close working relationships with more experienced staff.
As a small business owner, you have a unique opportunity to add some of these bright young people to your team. Here are some tips for working with college grads:
Consider what motivates your college grad.
A great example of understanding what motivates your college grad is Riley Csernica. In her TEDxCharleston talk, Riley described her first job interview. She shared her ideas, showed her critical thinking and analytical skills, and her enthusiasm for the job. The interviewer told Riley they could not hire her because they needed someone who could stand at the end of a production line and check little boxes to make sure their products met specifications. The interviewer recognized that Riley was motivated by doing creative work and solving problems. Riley would be miserable if she were placed in a job that was highly structured and repetitive,
Give your college grad flexibility.
Instead of staying locked in traditional models of work, allow grads the flexibility to do things differently. This generation values freedom to enjoy personal time. Work-life balance is important to them, so consider offering flexible hours whenever possible. Consider making meeting the deadlines with exceptional work the barometer of performance, rather than hourly accountability. I once worked for an attorney who would come in around 10:30, do his professional reading, go to lunch, and then get down to serious work around 2:00 in the afternoon. I often worked until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. and would have loved to change my schedule to 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. so I could have my mornings free to attend school. The firm would have benefitted because they wouldn’t have to pay me overtime to stay until 8:00 p.m. It was a win-win and yet the firm stuck to the 9-5 model.
Offer growth and development instead of just a job.
Grads are continuous learners. Contrary to popular belief, today’s grads aren’t looking for a fast track to the top. They do, however, want to know what they will learn and when the opportunity to learn will take place. According to a Harris Interactive survey for CareerBuilder, 61 percent of 25-34-year-olds surveyed believe they should be promoted within 2-3 years if they’re doing a good job. Make sure to have frequent performance conversations with your grad. Let them know what their career path looks like.
Communication is key.
Grads want open, transparent, and honest communication. They will resist being treated like cogs in a wheel. Comments and jokes about being lazy and entitled are annoying and tedious. I remember being irritated when my parents’ generation complained that their children didn’t know what hard work was. Create an environment that values open communication with multiple communication channels including online team portals, mobile apps, or Skype in addition to face-to-face meetings.
Show your grad how their job connects to the bigger picture.
New grads want to know where your business is headed and how their work will contribute to getting there. Set goals and objectives for them within the context of that big picture view. When you show the connection between the purpose, impact, and importance of their work, grads bring their energy and passion to their jobs.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you about hiring college grads is to call those grads right now because if you wait, someone else will have already snapped them up.
If you need some insights to help you hire amazing grads, schedule your insight session today or call me, send an email, or text MOMENTUM to 480-418-1411 to get more in-depth, step-by-step recruiting help. And, the best part is that it’s FREE!