Around May and June every year, the job market gains access to brand new university and college graduates that are excited to join the workforce. Employers are eager to hire these new potential-filled graduates and the competition to grab their attention can be fierce.
Recent grads are a huge potential talent source—you just need to know how to tap into that candidate pool effectively. New graduates can bring new perspectives to an organization, as well as fill entry-level positions. They’re also very enthusiastic about learning new skills and taking on interesting projects, so they’re perfect if you’re looking to train a new generation of employees who can help your company move forward.
Is your company’s hiring strategy optimized for hiring new graduates? Read on for 5 powerful tips that will transform your recruitment plan and help you get talented recent grads to join your team!
Develop a tech-driven recent grad hiring strategy
To say that new grads from Gen Z are tech-savvy is an understatement. Many of them have taken college courses online for the past two years during the pandemic, so their understanding and use of technology come as second nature.
If you want to hire from the Gen Z talent pool, you need to meet them where they are: online. Get on social media, communicate via SMS, interview through video chats, and use as many digital channels as possible to get noticed. Building a strong multi-channel employer brand requires some effort, but it can position your company as a top employer that new graduates actively search for when they leave college.
If you’re really looking to make an impression, consider branching out into influencer marketing and even new platforms like TikTok. New graduates value social proof, so if they see others sharing content about working at your organization on the internet, they’re more likely to pay attention and consider applying for a job with you.
You should also make tech an attractive part of your employment offer to recent graduates. By showing off the shiny new technology your company uses, you’ll attract Gen Z and Millennial job seekers who want to get their hands on the latest industry hardware and software. This is especially important if you want to recruit new graduates in competitive tech-driven areas like IT, Manufacturing and Data Security.
Expand your college network to attract recent grads
There are over 200 universities and another 200+ colleges and higher education institutions in Canada. How many of them are among your contacts? Go beyond the obvious big-name universities and make your presence known in as many local higher education schools, trade schools and training institutions as possible.
Of course, many universities have pages on their website specifically dedicated to employers looking to partner with them for recruitment opportunities. Make sure you take advantage of this and reach out to universities to form a long-term partnership that benefits both recent grads and your company! Partnerships like these can take many forms. For example, you can work with educational institutions to establish:
- Co-op programs
- Paid and unpaid internship opportunities
- General awareness (campus career counsellors who refer your organization by word of mouth)
- On-site job fairs
Even if you notice that a school doesn’t openly advertise student hiring opportunities and partnerships, it doesn’t mean they aren’t open to working with your organization. Reach out and forge new contacts within these universities and colleges. By building a genuine network with university careers staff or even professors, you’ll have access to great performing new grads and you’ll start building a good name for your company while you’re at it.
Lower job requirements to get new grads interested
Lots of companies advertise for entry-level positions but ask for several years of experience in their job vacancy descriptions. Make sure you avoid doing this if you’re serious about attracting and hiring new graduates.
When looking to hire recent grads, write your job descriptions so that they don’t rule out applicants who have little-to-no professional experience. If you’re scaring young or inexperienced candidates away with long lists of job requirements, then your company will have a very hard time hiring university graduates in today’s highly competitive job market.
Instead of focusing on hands-on experience that is directly relevant to the job, consider how a candidate’s soft skills, transferable knowledge, internships, volunteer work and education can contribute to the position.
More often than not, recent grads simply don’t have much (or any) work experience and that’s completely fine! What they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm and willingness to grow professionally. You can help them along in their career by offering on-the-job training and upskilling opportunities. This also benefits your company massively as you’ll soon have well-trained employees who are keen to try out their new skills and show you their worth.
You can read more about writing effective job descriptions in our article, How to Recruit Qualified Candidates.
Align your recruitment strategy with the academic calendar to hire new grads
Most final-year university students are unlikely to be looking for jobs during their mid-terms! To get the most out of your recruitment campaigns, you must time them properly. Spending company dollars to find recent graduates right in the middle of exam time is probably not money well spent.
Try launching your recruitment strategy when the end of the academic year is approaching. Not too late that all the other big employers beat you to the best new grads, but not too early that students aren’t thinking about their post-university work opportunities yet. Aim for that sweet spot in between that will give you access to new grads at just the right time!
If you’re unsure when the right time to start targeting recent grads is, your network of university and college careers departments can come in handy. They’ve been in the business of finding jobs for their students for years, so they’ll be able to give you some valuable insights into timing your push for the top new grads coming out of their institution.
Adjust your incentives to what Gen Z and Millennials want
Employee expectations have changed drastically over the last two years, and this is especially true for Gen Z and Millennial job candidates. With an increasingly competitive job market and a shortage of professionals for in-demand positions, your approach to new graduate recruitment must appeal to what top candidates value in a job.
While new grads look for some expected qualities in a job, like a competitive salary, job security and a healthy work/life balance, they also actively search for organizations that offer the following to their employees:
- The ability to work from home or remotely
- Flexible work hours (such as the four-day workweek)
- Career advancement and upskilling opportunities
- Corporate social responsibility commitments
- A positive company culture
Gen Z and Millennials also place a lot of importance on flexibility in the workplace. Adapting their work schedule to their lifestyle ranks highly on the list of attractive work perks, as does generous paid vacation leave and the possibility of accumulating overtime credits to exchange for extra time off.
By offering several of these qualities to recent grads, your company will stand out as a top employer that places trust in new employees and wants them to succeed and feel happy at work.
So, there you have our insider take on hiring new grads! For more eye-opening insights that will transform how your organization approaches recruitment, check out our other blog posts where we dish out plenty of valuable advice from our human resources and staffing experts.