A young candidate fresh out of university sits in front of you. You can see the eagerness in their face and you feel inclined to give them a chance because as everyone knows the youth is the future right? However, every business owner knows that hiring a recent university graduate can be risky and challenging, especially if it’s their first experience in the corporate world.

While some employers try to avoid hiring recent graduates, preferring to look for older applicants with more professional experience, many businesses today are starting to change their tune and take chances on younger and less proven workers.

In this week’s blog post we talk about graduates and explore the potential benefits and disadvantages that come along with this hiring decision.

Benefits

  • Lower salary costs – most are willing to work for significantly less salary than “experienced hires”

  • New ideas — they bring a fresh perspective and numerous new ideas that they’ve acquired from innovative thinkers at university and professors that continually challenge them to think differently. Furthermore, as they are new to the workforce there is no need to unlearn old ways or bad habits that experienced hires may carry with them.

  • Succession planning — it is difficult to hire first-level managers externally because no matter how strong their management skills are, they are unfamiliar with the team and the corporate culture. Consistently hiring entry-level college hires allows you to promote the best into supervisory and management positions within a few years.

Disadvantages

  • Lack of experience – Recent graduates will have no proven track record to demonstrate whether they are capable to handle the position you need to fill, and compared to those who have been in the workforce for a while, graduates have limited to no knowledge and experience in the field.

  • Use of valuable resources – they must be supervised, which can be time consuming of senior employees needed elsewhere in other projects. Furthermore, on-the-job training can lead to crucial errors that may affect business process outcomes.

  • Wavering commitment – on the flip side, fresh graduates are at the time of their life where they can explore their ‘options’. If their hearts are not into it, they will leave.  Disappointingly that would mean wasting all the time, energy, and money invested on training and equipment.

Hiring Decisions

There are numerous pros and cons to hiring both younger and older employees. But there is no need to limit your organisation for either type of candidate when you can create a diverse workplace that can function with both types of employees. While a recent graduate may not have much professional experience, remember there is also much potential for the long term, and in the war for talent, you have the opportunity to recruit a star today before your competitors can.

Here are some ideas to help you if you want to hire young professionals:

  • Balance your expectations – Temper your expectations on how much professional experience they have. More important in these situations are educational history, passion and potential.

  • Reference checks – just because the candidate may be young, doesn’t mean they don’t have references for behavioural competencies and character from their university and other communities they may be involved in.

  • Emphasize a growth culture at your organisation – The worry that a fresh grad may be a waste of time and resources (since they could change their mind about a position after a period of time) can be negated. You can do this by making sure these candidates feel included, involved and heard. Help them to see opportunities for advancement. To enhance retention, offer room from professional growth.

What are your thoughts on hiring fresh graduates? Do you have any tips for hiring – and retaining them?

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