The Case for Recent Graduates in the Workplace

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Spring is in the air, which means it’s that time of year again: Hiring Season.

For many recent graduates, this time of year has become less of an exciting endeavor and more of an uphill battle. Post-recession, graduates are fighting to ensure their degree is worthwhile and locate a stable job in a slowly recovering economy.

A recent study by The National Bureau of Economic Research states that more and more, recent graduates with degrees are ending up in lower-skilled jobs that do not require a degree.

That being said, it is still better statistically to be a young graduate in the workforce than someone without an education. A recent article by The Atlantic revealed that the unemployment rate for Bachelor’s degree holders is 3.7%, compared with 8.1% for those who have no college degree or completed courses.


So what does this mean for talent management and staffing? There are a number of attributes to consider when looking at recent graduates for open positions vs. someone with more experience.

Recent graduates are coming into the professional world full-force. According to The New York Times, by 2014 Millennials will make up 36% of the workforce. And, contrary to what some believe, studies have shown that the majority of Millennials are not apathetic and are, in fact, highly ambitious.

Let’s compare the attributes of recent graduates to those of more seasoned professionals:

Recent Graduates

  • Enjoy praise over pay – 80% would rather receive feedback on a job well done
  • Motivated, eager, energetic, more likely to show up early and stay late
  • Enjoy collaboration and working as a team over solo work
  • Have more experience than we realize: Most have gained field knowledge in summer jobs, internships, tutoring, and volunteering, all of which come with a wealth of knowledge not to be undervalued
  • Flexibile, mobile, have the ability to pick up and go, open to new opportunities and locations
  • Can offer insight into new target audience: Millenials more relatable to generation that is online
  • Extremely comfortable with technology, all social media platforms (the average grad switches their attention between media platforms as many as 27 times per hour, according to Forbes)
  • Greater ability to multi-task as a result of constant technology plug-in

Experienced Professionals

  • More life experiences leading to more wisdom and know-how
  • Have a developed skill-set, can easily apply multitude of skills quickly in work environment
  • Less likely to require emotional motivators, more emotionally developed and stabilized
  • Require less hand-holding, reassurance, checking in, constant contact and feedback
  • Require less training, already know how to handle themselves in professional environment

So, whom do you choose?

When considering recent graduates, keep in mind the necessarily attributes your company desires. These attributes must apply to all candidates you consider: The job should go to those with the most talent, competency, applicable skill set, and culture fit. Allow recent grads to showcase their skills and capabilities but try not to write them off due to age or inexperience or, on the other hand, immediately favor them.

Remember: “Years of Experience” is not in and of itself a skill. It’s easy for biases to creep in, whether you’re more apt to look at recent grads or a more experienced professional for your newest job opening. Leverage all of these factors and remain consistent in your interviews regardless of age.

For more information, check out our Whitepaper on Balanced Perspectives: Hiring a Multigenerational Workforce.

Happy Hiring!

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