We’ve all been there: the dilemma of needing experience for an entry-level job. Post-graduation, this can be a problem for young people in search of their first professional role. When even "starter jobs" require some degree of experience, the question often arises: Just where do you get it?
Well, what if more companies focused on the benefits of hiring new grads, rather than demanding the prerequisite of hard-to-find experience? Lower salary costs are hardly the only upside for employers. There are other reasons a business should consider a hiring strategy that includes recruiting grads new to the world of work.
So what are they? As the class of 2017 begins its job hunt in earnest, let's take a look at five of them.
1. Graduates are ambitious and enthusiastic
Graduation is liberating. Students who have worked hard to earn a certification or degree within their fields are eager to begin their professional career. They want to make an impression and they want to succeed. And because great entry-level opportunities can be competitive, a sense of gratitude may accompany a new hire’s desire to do well within their role. This can reveal itself in a strong commitment to the job from the beginning, not to mention an enthusiasm to learn, succeed — and make leadership proud.
2. Graduates are adaptable and agile
As we gain experience across jobs, we acquire insights and skills that we can contribute to our workplaces. But there’s a flip side: Sometimes we become set in our ways and focused on how we did things in the past, at a previous employer. Because new graduates have had fewer jobs and, therefore, less professional experience, they’re usually adaptable and eager to learn. This means organizations can train new graduates to learn their ethos, methods and best practices without the risk of ingrained habits getting in the way.
3. Graduates know how to navigate tech
While a graduate may have little previous professional experience, they’ve likely spent a lot of time adopting and mastering new technologies — for instance, more than 98% of millennials ages 18-24 own a smartphone — making their ability to navigate functionalities second nature (and highly valuable to employers). Besides that, many will have received an education that exposed them to the latest software, hardware and applications. This could also prove valuable by giving newly hired graduates the opportunity to share those tech skills with their teammates and gain experience as collaborators.
4. You’re more likely to attain diversity
Diversity is an important element behind success. Research shows that, when a company embraces diversity, it can become more innovative and competitive. Other studies have measured the positive impact diversity has on performance, demonstrating that great things happen when teams consisting of unique backgrounds, experiences, and cultures come together.
With graduating classes becoming more and more diverse, organizations have a prime opportunity to recruit talent from all walks of life. And if Pew Research Center’s projections are on target, both colleges and workplaces can expect to see diversity numbers continue to climb: the class of 2025 is expected to be the biggest and most diverse ever.
5. It’s a great opportunity to nurture long-term talent
By humanizing the candidate experience and looking beyond formal qualifications and past experiences on a resume, organizations can focus on identifying a candidate’s potential and their commitment to performance, development, and advancement — all of which are extremely valuable qualities.
And why not go further? Strategically hiring with leadership potential in mind gives you the opportunity to scout talent with long-term potential. While you cannot predict the future, you can recruit with particular qualities and growth trajectories in mind. Who knows — maybe you’ll hire somebody who will one day lead your company!
Of course, there are risks associated with hiring graduates who have less professional experience than other candidates — and life is easier when you can recruit employees who already have a clear idea of what a role involves. But the benefits of recruiting new graduates are substantial and should not be overlooked.
From technical aptitude to adaptability, recent grads have characteristics that could prove valuable additions to your organization — while you in turn can provide them with the chance to gain invaluable industry experience. That's why recruiting tomorrow's talent today could be a win-win for both your candidate and your organization.