Pros and Cons of Hiring Recent Grads

Talk to any hiring manager, and you’ll probably hear about how difficult it is to find the right talent. Talk to any recent grad, and they’ll probably tell you how difficult it is to land a job with little to no experience in their field. So why don’t these worlds collide more often? Several reasons. Sure, job fairs connect eager young workers with recruiters all the time—but how many of them stand out from the crowd and actually get hired? Many are left empty-handed, settling for slinging coffee at Starbucks, while positions at great companies go unfilled. Of course, there are some legitimate reasons not all of these grads land jobs, but there’s also a lot of general uncertainty about hiring new grads.  If you’re on the fence about hiring new grads, that’s understandable—there’s a lot to think about when making a hiring decision. But could it pay to take another look at these fresh new resumes? Here are some of the pros and cons of hiring new grads.

Pro: New Energy, Enthusiasm, and Ideas

Though every new employee brings in their own energy and ideas, it’s hard to match new grads for their energy and enthusiasm. Sure, they may not always have the best ideas, but a lot of the best business innovations can be cultivated through creative thought and enthusiasm—a mix many new grads bring to the table. And that energy? It tends to make new grads eager to learn and soak up new knowledge.

Pro: The Latest Skills

Sure, people with more experience have sharply honed skills—but they’re not always the most current skills. This is especially relevant in industries like accounting or radiology where learning how to use the latest programs and technological advancements is mandatory for success. Students trained in recent university programs should have up-to-date skills—a boon that allows them to hit the ground running.

Pro: Lower Cost

Of course, you should always pay people fairly, so they can make a living while they work for you. However, a new grad is not going to command the same salary as someone with 5 years of experience under their belt. In lean organizations, hiring new grads who are just starting out can save big money.

Con: They’re Inexperienced

There are currently 79.8 million millennials in the United States, yet many of these individuals have had difficulty finding work because they just don’t have enough experience. This can be a dealbreaker, or just a minor inconvenience, depending on the situation. While it obviously depends on the position as to how important a lack of experience is, it’s often more important to have engagement, ability, and a cultural fit over years of experience. It’s also important to remember that just because they don’t have any direct work experience in the field, that doesn’t mean they have no experience at all. Internships and school projects can go a long way toward preparing students for the workforce.

Con: Responsibility Limitations

Because new grads are inexperienced, there is a limit as to how much responsibility you can realistically give them. You wouldn’t put a kid fresh out of college in a role managing a large team of developers, nor would you want to expect them to singlehandedly take over the company’s marketing and expect success. In order to avoid disaster related to inexperience, you need to be realistic about how much responsibility you can give a new grad.

Con: They’re Casting a Wide Net

Since there are so many new graduates each year, competition is fierce for open positions. Most applicants have to cast a wide net, and may not be as concerned with finding the right fit as just finding a job, any job. New grads who accept a position may do so to make ends meet and address looming loan payments until they can land their dream job—which doesn’t bode well for retention rates.

Keep an Open Mind

When you’re interviewing new graduates, keep an open mind. They may not be as polished as more experienced candidates, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good fit for the position. Data reveals that first impressions of candidates are powerful—in fact, 63% of hiring decisions are made in the first 4.3 minutes of an interview. Give them a chance, and consider trying some less orthodox interviewing methods to help reveal their strengths. Hiring recent grads for your latest opening may or may not be the right choice for your organization, but remember: keep an open mind. The perfect candidate might still be waiting on their diploma in the mail.

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