Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

3 tips for recruiting recent college grads

By Maurice Fernandes, Manager of Employment Brand & Social Media at Ceridian.

As the generations making up the majority of today’s workforce begin to shift, so must the recruiting strategies of employers. Staying up to date on emerging staffing trends helps ensure businesses are positioning themselves as attractive companies to work for. And today more than ever, it’s so important that organizations are able to effectively tap into the talent pool of recent college graduates.

In a recently conducted survey of 2016 U.S. college graduates, Accenture Strategy gathered data and findings that offer essential insight on how employers can better position themselves in the job market and improve their initiatives to attract and retain top candidates. Below are some tips employers should use based on the research findings.

Make learning a priority

Nearly 80 percent of this year’s college grads said that they researched and considered the job market before choosing their major, which can perhaps help explain why 77 percent feel that their education properly prepared them for their professional career. However, just because they graduated does not mean they want their education to end.

According to the study, 80 percent of respondents expect to receive formal training from their employers. However, considering that only 54 percent of college graduates in 2014 and 2015 actually got it from the companies they worked for, more companies should make sure this is something they are offering.

Tip: Call out your People development programs!  If you have formal mentoring, tuition reimbursement perks, or a Buddy system as part of your onboarding make sure you include information on those programs when you engage with College/University students.

Personalize the experience

One of the key findings from the research was that this group of individuals is particularly passionate – and they want to work in roles that will make them feel valued and like they are able to produce meaningful work. The majority of participants indicated that they are not interested in working for large companies because they desire the kind of personal experiences that are associated with the culture of startups and smaller firms.

This is why it is helpful if employers take a candidate-centric approach to recruitment. Communicating how this role will benefit them in particular, as well as tailoring the benefits and compensation packages around what they find most important, can help to show potential employees that they won’t just be another face in the company; they will play a pivotal role in driving the success of the organization and their needs will be both acknowledged and met.

Tip: Look at your career site.  Do you make it easy for College/University students to find career opportunities tailored to their experiences?  One quick fix is to create section specifically for New Grads.  You can create content specific to College/University grads and have former College/University hires share their experiences of working at your company.  Another quick fix is to highlight within your job descriptions why the role is important to your company.

Give them opportunities to grow

This generation of workers can be a bit restless, which has fueled the rise of the job hopping trend. In addition, there is currently a talent shortage that has intensified the competitiveness of the recruitment landscape. To make themselves more attractive to recent college grads, and improve retention rates, it is highly recommended that employers provide what Accenture called an “internal gig experience.” This involves giving employees opportunities to advance their careers, change roles and responsibilities within the organization and rotate through different project-based work. In doing so, workers are less likely to become bored or complacent and more inclined to be engaged and committed to their employer for the long term.

Monster contributor Dona DeZube recently pointed out that there are a number of ways companies can do this. For example, during the recruitment process, explain to potential hires the career path outlook for a certain role within the organization. For existing workers, inquire about which projects they are most interested in.

“Moving to a new division each six months over a two- to four-year period provides novelty, challenge and growth opportunities,” ProjectManagementHacks.com Founder Bruce Harpham said, according to the source. “For the best results, ask the employee about their preferences for new assignments rather than simply moving them around.”

Tip: Make it easy for College/University hires to job hop within your organization.  Don’t just focus on the traditional ladder approach to career growth (e.g. Developer 1, Developer 2, Lead Developer, etc.).  Highlight how successful employees can make moves within your company (think lattice vs. ladder).  Have employees share their experiences about taking roles within other parts of the organization!

Understanding the expectations of recent college graduates entering the workforce can significantly help employers improve their brand and achieve greater recruitment success. And while there are a handful of specific preferences that this group of individuals has about businesses, at the end of the day, the best way to ensure they are providing current and future workers with the experiences they desire is to facilitate ongoing communication with them.

Moe New Grad PhotoMaurice Fernandes is the Manager of Employment Brand & Social Media at Ceridian and is responsible for developing and promoting Ceridian’s employment brand across various social media channels, events, and campus recruitment activities across North America.

 Maurice is passionate about building best in class talent attraction strategies, HR technologies, recruitment marketing, employment branding, and social media. Maurice has had the privilege of speaking about recruitment topics at numerous conferences, and through media outlets such as the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, the Canadian HR Reporter, and Post Media. You can follow or connect with Maurice on Twitter @MoeRecruits.

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