New college grads are encountering a stronger job market than in recent years. But employers are having difficulty finding recruits with the skills they need. A recent survey by PayScale put writing and presentation skills at the top of employers’ concerns. Many college grads have trouble concisely and clearly communicating a message to a specific audience, a skill required throughout the business world.
Among soft skills, 60% of employers said new college grads don’t have the requisite critical-thinking skills. In fact, a study by ManpowerGroup found that one out of five jobs isn’t filled because employers can’t find a recruit with adequate soft skills.
But in the long run new talent can bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to your company. Every year more baby boomers retire and more millennials enter the workforce. How do you identify the right kind of recruits and help them develop their skills?
Look for Experience
While academic experience is important to later success, hiring managers should seek out candidates have a greater depth of real-world experience. One survey of experts found that college grads who land internships, work a job, or volunteer tend to be more successful.
Those with more experience outside of the classroom tend to have stronger communication skills and operate more independently. They’re also more likely to be team players who will be comfortable collaborating with their colleagues.
Don’t let small mistakes slide. Look for polished, error-free cover letters and resumes. While you can help employees improve, correcting a lifetime of bad habits will be an uphill battle. Developing basic communication skills on the job isn’t going to work. Be choosy about which candidates you let in the door.
Put in the extra time and effort to interview employees more than once. Ask them random questions that will throw them off course and see how they respond. Have recruits do a test run with a team to see how they work. A thorough investigation will help you identify the strongest candidate.
Once you have the right person for the job, ensure that you keep them. While they may have held a job before, they’re still newbies to the world of work. Offer regular professional development and consistent feedback on how to improve. Don't forget to praise them for excellent work as well.
Another major issue is offering a clear path to move up. Demonstrate that with hard work and improvement, new employees can thrive in your company. Our Employee Engagement Report found that lack of career opportunities was a major reason why 75% of employees think that their employers aren’t providing adequate professional support.
A major factor in retention is picking people who fit with your company’s organizational culture and then supporting them. Bringing in new college grads who are excited about your company will energize your team and pay dividends in the long term.