The job market often isn’t very friendly for recent college graduates looking for entry-level positions. But businesses shouldn’t overlook this vital segment of workers, especially since they often bring a fresh perspective and up-to-date technical skills to the table. Even if there’s a gap between where they are and where they should be, the right leadership and training can transform them into star players. Here’s what you need to know as you consider bringing young millennials onto your workforce.
Why the Hangup in Hiring Millennials?
There are two primary reasons millennials find the job market so difficult. The first is that because baby boomers frequently choose to work past retirement age, there are fewer positions to fill. Millennials must compete with more experienced workers for fewer open positions. Despite their lack of experience, however, college grads often have comparable or even better knowledge of new developments in the industry than their baby boomer counterparts since they have spent the last few years in the classroom.
Second, many employers cite lack of job preparedness among college grads as a reason for passing them over. Soft skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, being a team player, problem solving, and critical thinking sometimes fail to be developed as college students build technical skills or pursue a liberal arts education.
How to Confidently Hire Millennials
Even if there is a deficit in job preparedness among college grads, that doesn’t mean they won’t be good workers. Here are three things to look for as you consider hiring millennials for your team:
- Trainability—Young workers with solid hard skills and a trainable spirit can be excellent additions to your workforce. With the right leadership, they will assimilate quickly and pick up the soft skills they need.
- Willingness to Work—While this can be a bit trickier to identify during an interview, you can find clues about a candidate’s work ethic on his resume. Look for a professional writing course, speaking experience, community service hours, and internships. All of these items show that the candidate has made an effort to gain the broader experience and skills needed in the workplace.
- Business Knowledge—College students can gain knowledge of office etiquette and skills in several different ways. Look for summer job experience, internships, a business course, or membership in their college business association.
Many employers believe they must choose between hard and soft skills in the hiring process. But that’s a false choice. With the right training and leadership, recent college graduates can make excellent members of your team. Colleges and businesses should work together to provide college students and graduates with both the technical skills and the experience they need to transition seamlessly into the office environment.