With a deluge of 20-somethings graduating from college, you hiring managers are likely seeing a stack of new résumés on your desks. Before you discount recent grads as unqualified and inexperienced, take another look. There are plenty of reasons why recent graduates make great employees in the right position.
1. They're eager to learn. Even if their résumés have more white space than text, young people are ready to learn what you want to teach them. If they don't know how to do something, they'll take the initiative to learn it.
2. They're tech savvy. They've got social media down pat. So could they learn a CRM software? No problem. You might actually save money on tech support if you hire from the generation that doesn't remember a world before Internet.
3. They're cheap. You can dicker all day with highly qualified job candidates, but you can't always guarantee that they're worth the salary they're requesting. Grads come with a lower price tag, and you can always build them into model employees with time.
4. They're inspired by Steve Jobs. Innovation is the new grad's middle name. After all, he grew up with Steve Jobs as inspiration to make something completely different from what was already out there. And if that kid works for you? You might just have some new ideas that lead to skyrocketing sales.
5. They look at things in a different light. And sometimes that's exactly what your company needs: fresh perspective. Having someone so eager to help your company grow can be a valuable asset for business.
6. They're adaptive. You know you need to be flexible to roll with the changes happening in your industry. Today's graduates are used to adapting and changing constantly, and they'll help your brand do so too.
7. They're team players. Collaboration comes easy to this generation, and that is a valuable asset if you frequently have teams working on projects. Whether he needs to lead the team or just contribute, he'll have the skills he needs.
Choosing the Right Grad for the Job
Now that you're convinced that a new grad is the way to go, you just have to weed your way through the applications and choose the right one. Ben Martinez, the human resources director of HireVue, says to find the right candidate, you've got to look beyond the résumé. "A piece of paper tells a terrible story, especially a short story, as is most common with a recent grad that is likely to have little experience," he says. "Invest some time in getting to learn more about these applicants. Even an extra five minutes looking at their social media sites might tell you a lot more about them than a résumé ever would."
Martinez also suggests breaking out of the traditional "cookie cutter" interview questions, such as "where do you see yourself in five years?" He says: "Asking for their perspective on real-time organizational challenges or trends in your industry is far more likely to give you meaningful insight into the candidate and help you make a smarter hire for your team. Similarly, ask questions aimed to uncover work ethic, qualities that no degree can teach. Qualities like tenacity, persistence and on-your-feet thinking are ageless virtues, especially in today's economy."
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.