Tips for hiring and retaining college graduates

As the summer approaches, many college graduates begin to realize that they’re adults now and there isn’t much time to celebrate their achievements because now they have to start looking for jobs, not just part-time positions like they had in high school. Now these young people are looking to capitalize on their education by finding jobs in their fields to jumpstart their careers.

Graduation is a great time of year for business owners because it’s a prime recruitment opportunity. With so many new graduates joining the workforce, companies can easily find talented individuals who have the skills to fill key positions, particularly those at the the entry level.

A huge aspect of managing your small business or mid-sized enterprise is knowing how to recruit. What’s more, you need to develop your employee retention skills so that you’re not constantly combating turnover by hiring new staff members every few weeks. To help you achieve those objectives, here are a few tips on how to attract and hold on to recent college graduates.

Don’t look for unpaid interns
After graduation, few workers will jump at the chance to intern at a company. Former college students likely interned while in school and are ready to be brought on as full-time employees. What’s more, they probably don’t want to accept a position if there’s no guarantee that it’ll lead to a paying job.

The best way to recruit college students is offer full-time jobs. The word “internship” will likely cause many potential candidates to skip over your listing and look openings at other companies. Remember that graduates need to earn money quickly to pay back their loans, so they likely won’t work for free.

To that end, you should offer compensation if you’re determined to recruit interns. You don’t have to offer a full salary to attract top talent, either. Consider paying minimum wage because recent graduates might accept the meager earnings since they can list the internships on their resumes.

Develop a great job description
For recruitment, few tools are as beneficial as a well-written job description. The resource tells candidates exactly what they can expect from your company and what they’ll have to do at work each day, making it important to be clear and concise about the position.

When targeting recent graduates, you should avoid buzzwords and industry slang, according to Simply Hired. Terms and phrases that make sense to experienced professionals might seem like utter nonsense to someone who just left school, so you should use straightforward language that anyone can understand.

Additionally, the source explains that you have to include specific details and can’t use vague terminology. Recent graduates want to know if their skills line up with your needs and what their odds are at landing the jobs. By including general language, you’ll likely miss out on a few candidates because they don’t know what the position entails or what you want from a new employee.

Talk to professors
What recent graduates lack in professional experience, they make up for in education. While an applicant may never have worked in an office before, he or she might have the requisite skills to be your next great employee. The best way to find students who would be strong workers is to ask their professors, according to Jeff Kear, owner of Wedding Workbook Pro.

“The position we were hiring for required excellent writing skills – the one skill that’s difficult to teach – and we thought English and philosophy majors would have written quite a bit for their studies,” Kear told CBS Moneywatch. “We spoke with a philosophy professor at Regis University here in Denver and she referred her best student to us. As a serial entrepreneur, I will easily admit that the referral has become one of the best hires I’ve ever made.”

Reach out to professors at local universities and ask them if they’ve had students who have demonstrated high-level skills over the course of their studies. Don’t limit yourself to nearby schools, however, as some graduates may want to relocate now that they’re not in school. Develop a vast network of professors around the country so you can find talented candidates from every state to strengthen your staff.

Offer advancement
In many cases, your business will be the first of many to employee a graduate. A worker can bounce around for years trying different jobs and then deciding to go after other opportunities. Some people might be trying to find a true career and others may just think they can do better by working elsewhere. In any case, retaining employees is crucial to the long-term success of your business because it’s better to have veteran staff members than regularly train new hires. Additionally, graduates have their entire careers ahead of them, so if you can hold on to youthful workers, you’ll be in a good position to combat turnover.

To enhance retention, offer room from professional growth. Simply Hired explains that development is important to recent graduates, so they may stick with companies that invest in their futures. For instance, if you offer training and promote from within, young staff members might remain on your team because they know that they can ascend to new positions and hone their skills.

You have to have clear paths for promotions. Create a basic outline of what employees need to do in order to move from one position to the next to ensure that workers understand why they’re being promoted.

Don’t be stingy
Recent graduates understand that their incomes won’t be that high on day one, but they expect to be paid fairly, especially as their time at a company wears on. If you want to attract and retain young workers, you need to pay somewhere between $30,000 to $35,000 per year. Between loans and expenses, graduates might not be able to accept positions that pay less than that. Additionally, you need to consistently raise those salaries. Job performances usually increase over time, so you have to increase compensation to match the higher levels of output.

How do you recruit and retain recent graduates?

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Chelsea Segal

Chelsea Segal

Chelsea Segal is the CEO of Targetwise. TARGETWISE empowers agencies, brands + marketers with results-oriented solutions that grow, nurture + maintain a social ecosphere.

Neutralizing all digital channels, we accelerate performance by applying data driven optimizationin real-time across a superior blend of mobile, video,display and email inventory. Converting the right people at the right time, we drive brand solutions, while securing optimal impact, engagement + results.
Chelsea Segal