What New College Grads Look For

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.

While we’d all like to think we have a good handle on what’s happening in the job market, for many of us, it’s been quite some time since our college graduation – and what eventful years they have been! Even for entry level professionals, the last 3-5 years have seen many changes for college grads, most of them described by the media as “bleak”.

According to a May Heldrich survey just one-fifth of recent graduates of four-year colleges and universities said their generation will have more success than the generation before them. Almost 60 percent said they will have less financial success than the previous generation. So with the majority of grads thinking the future may not be so bright, what ARE they looking for in a job?

Well to start with, they want real, honest communication during the recruiting process. How do you do this? AfterCollege.com suggests dropping the boring corporate speak and making recruiters available to speak with them outside of business hours.

Today’s students and recent grads are seeking authentic feedback and interactions with employers, regardless of whether this happens in-person or virtually.

This fits in with what millenials or recent college grads are looking for in a job. What tops the GradStaff list? Trust. Not money – in fact, compensation falls at the bottom of the list just ahead of  “career path”.

  • Trust- After several years of watching governments and corporations lie and cheat, college grads often choose to work at a company where they can trust their employers.
  • Security- Not surprisingly, college grads saddled with rising student loan debt are looking for a company who can provide them consistent security.
  • Structure/Freedom balance- This generation understands more than ever how truly mobile work can be. They require a battle plan and clear direction.
  • Work/Life Balance- This might seem like the same thing as the above but it isn’t. For them, the focus is on delivering a quality work product and then using their time as they see fit.
  • Feedback/Communication- Grads want to know what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. frequent course corrections can be very good for an entry level worker.
  • Recognition- Yup, you knew this one was coming. You must recognize all your employees but for college grad this is a pretty big want.
  • Ability to make an impact- We all want to save the world but this latest generation really wants to make an impact. They need to see that the work they’re doing affects their world positively. Keep this in mind when building your recruitment marketing.
  • Mentoring- This is similar to the need for feedback (a productive loop that will only improve your employee relations in my opinion) but can cross hiring manager and departmental lines.
  • Fair compensation- Now we get to it. The money. As so many astute analysts in our industry have pointed out, this is not at the top of the list AND it doesn’t even refer to competitive or stellar compensation, simply fair. Simply put, college grads want to be paid for the work they do.
  • Career path- What happens next? If your new hires don’t see a career path in front of them or any place to get promoted within your organization, you can say goodbye right now.

For all the talk about generational woes and perceived frustration with Generation Y, the above seems like a sensible list. What do you think? Are college grads asking for too much in a still shaky job market?

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
Google+ Profile