If you plan on recruiting college grads in the coming months, you’ve likely considered setting your sights on the latest crop of recent or upcoming talent to hit your industry’s workforce. In a survey conducted by SHRM, 39% of those in talent acquisition include on-campus recruiting as a tool to source candidates – and for good reason.

Whether your company is a startup or even a global business, fresh grads bring a lot of value to an organization. But, it’s understandable if you are a little apprehensive. You may be concerned about what they can bring to the table. In reality, recent graduates are eager to learn, tech-savvy, and come with valuable soft skills. If you don’t know where the best graduates are coming from in your industry, a quick online search can show you university rankings by state and field of study. As you dive into college recruiting this spring, here’s what you need to know:

Have you considered #recruiting a recent college grad? Discover the benefits and what to look for in @IQTalent’s latest blog: Click To Tweet

Coach them, but don’t underestimate them

You have the potential to be a recent graduate’s first impression of today’s workforce. Give them a good one! When considering their lack of experience, try to see yourself as a coach. Recruiting college grads is a journey, so coach them through it. Be patient with them as they go through the hiring process.

However, avoid viewing entry-level employees as unskilled employees. A study from the Rockefeller Foundation found 52% of recent graduates are too skilled for their current job. If you put an overqualified graduate in a role doing ‘grunt work,’ they will likely become unhappy and start looking for other opportunities. Give them room to flourish and see what they are capable of with a little coaching here and there. The most valuable recruiting tip to note about recruiting college grads is this: where recent college grads lack in experience, they make up for in education. Recent graduates may not have the experience in the field you are looking for, but they do have the most up-to-date education in their field. In other words, they might know and understand new technologies and skills your current team might not. Utilize this.


Seek soft skills

A lack of work experience shouldn’t always deter you from a candidate. Soft skills like time management, critical thinking, leadership, and effective communication are beneficial to any position. Ask candidates for real-life examples of how they applied those skills successfully in a non-professional job, volunteer setting or through extracurricular activities. Once hired, give your entry-level employees direction on how to best apply those skills to their new roles.

Don’t limit your soft skills search to recent graduates. In a study by Wonderlic, 93% of employers said soft skills are either an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions.

Of course, soft skills can be challenging to quantify and test compared to more technical skills. This doesn’t take away from their importance. The most successful teams are the ones that seamlessly communicate, collaborate, navigate through conflicts, and work toward goals together.

You have the potential to be a recent graduate’s first impression of today’s workforce. Give them a good one!

Not sure how to interview for soft skills? Ask candidates for examples that prove these traits:

  • Organization
  • Teamwork
  • Conflict resolution
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability

Heading to campus? Be careful who you send

Recruiting college grads is a task that must be approached with an adaptable hiring team. College students, in general, are likely excited to jump head first into the workforce and start their professional careers. They will seek out career fair booths that excite them. The team you send will act as the face of your organization. Their attitude, demeanor, and enthusiasm will reflect the type of culture and environment within your office. Imagine you are about to graduate, would you approach a booth with company representatives that look bored or tell you to go to the company website to answer their questions? Send the people who are energetic, outgoing, and ready to share your company’s story.

Your company reps should have an elevator pitch that includes:

  • Company mission
  • Key benefits of working at your company
  • A glimpse of the culture
  • Departments with open positions
  • Community involvement (if applicable)
52% of recent graduates are too skilled for their current job. Find out what to look for during #CampusRecruiting to find highly-skilled talent for your organization! Click To Tweet

Be clear about the process

Transparency when recruiting college grads is as crucial as it is difficult, but it needs a 100% effort if you want to successfully acquire the best new talent in your industry. Your strategy could very well be the candidate’s first time going through an in-depth hiring process for a full-time job or internship. It’s imperative that students understand the steps involved in the selection and hiring process. Communication is vital during this process. They need to know what they can expect and when they can expect responses and updates. Every candidate you have been in contact with should know where they stand at all times during the process.

If you met them at a career fair, follow up with them. Encourage all candidates who showed interest to apply. If applicable, emphasize that your organization will work with candidates to find open positions within your company that would be a good fit.


Help them visualize a day in the office

If your college grads don’t know what to expect, you can expect high turnover. During interviews with upcoming or recent graduates, introduce them to employees with similar backgrounds. Give them a tour of the office and show them where their potential department would be. Discuss day-to-day operations and expectations. This will not only give them a better idea of what working for your company would look like, but it also shows them that you personally have given thought to where they would fit within your company.

Campus recruiting can be an arduous process that can leave both recruiters and candidates exhausted. But with the right hires, the benefits of recruiting students are tenfold. Ready to find the right candidates fast? Learn how you can get started with IQTalent!