September 2019
Dare to hire a recent graduate?

Of course you do!

Have you also had to choose between two candidates in a recruitment process in which the more experienced one triumphed over the recent graduate?

Many employers take for granted that recent graduates do not have what it takes to handle the complex tasks in companies and their lack of work experience thus puts a stop to their development because the experienced candidates consistently get chosen instead.

But when you awake from your preconception that recent graduates are missing required competencies, you will discover a world full of engagement and skill. Let’s hypothesise that you do hire a recent graduate as your next employee and have look at what capabilities a graduate will contribute with:

1. Their motivation shines through

Recently graduated candidates have waited many years to be able to throw down the books and get their hands dirty with actual business work, and they possess motivation and a drive which over the years will have decreased in your seasoned employees and veterans.

At the same time, graduates are open to the idea of learning new things and develop their skills further so that they can fit into the job. In this way, recent graduates quickly become an investment for the company due to them being hard-working, willing to run fast and to put in the extra effort when needed.

2. Take advantage of new competencies

Maybe your new employee only just recently graduated university, but they are most likely neither stupid nor lazy. Graduates are used to being held responsible for their own learning, so assign them some responsibility and tell them what you expect from their task solution.

Put their fresh energy to good use and take advantage of the fact that many academics bring a lot of tools for learning and analysis methods with them that will quickly compensate for work experience. The new competencies can therefore be deployed in a range of different contexts and their tasks need not match the candidate’s profile 100% before she or he is qualified to solve it.

3. Update yourself on the newest trends

Recent graduates think in new ways and bring the most up to date knowledge in their fields with them straight from the theory books. Take advantage of the fact that they know the most recent trends and use that knowledge. It could be that new knowledge and new tools have been added since your experienced employees were trained. Today we seldomly avoid digitisation and this is an area where recent graduates – who have grown up with and been educated in the internet and its possibilities – prevail.

4. ”Usually” will be a put to shame

Your daily routines and systems will be placed under scrutiny because your new employee asks questions and challenges the existing to learn more about an area. The result will be that your routines get looked at from another perspective and through constructive criticism and questions, the routines get optimised and developed which will definitely open your eyes to new approaches, possibilities and competencies as well as to how your organisation could grow in the future.

5. Shape your dream employee

Graduates have not yet locked themselves up in routines and therefore you have the possibility of shaping the new employee so that she or he fits perfectly into the position in question and into your company.

Educate and train her or him so that she or he can handle the exact type of tasks you want them to. At the same time, graduates are hungry for experiencing, developing and contributing and have not yet assumed bad habits or “usually” as described above.

Companies have overslept for way too long and need to wake up and see the huge drive and competencies that graduates possess. It is a shame that many opt out of hiring them because it is believed that they are lacking in skill. That is definitely not the case and often companies will benefit from looking at the situation from a fresh perspective.

The companies we have worked with during the years are often impressed by the capabilities and commitment exhibited by graduate candidates. These candidates are trained to learn new things but at the same time they hold some broad academic competencies in terms of method, analysis and approach that help them solve tasks. Besides this their titles as “graduates” give them a can-do spirit hard to compete with.

Lately we have even come to the point where we see graduates play a part in Executive Search processes. The reason behind this is that it becomes increasingly important for Boards to look into and discuss the question of who is going to be the next top manager – or maybe even the next next top manager! For this reason, we see Talent Development connect with Executive Search to form a strategic alliance with great influence on the future of the organisation. These types of newfound alliances give clients a chance to base their recruitment efforts across different levels on the same long-term business strategy.

Tanja Nørrelund Jensen – INAC Denmark

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