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Employee Engagement | 2 minute read

Discovering Top Talent Among Recent Grads

May 31, 2013

As May comes to a close, there are hundreds of thousands of students walking the stage to receive their diplomas. This is one of the most exciting times of their lives, but when the next day comes, most of them think, “What now?” The market is extremely competitive, and these recent grads have student debt to pay off and aspirations of landing their “dream job” – but these aren’t their only motivations.Many of them have the drive to become the next generation of leaders. Don’t underestimate the power of recent grads turning into top performers. While hiring managers may be concerned with entry-level candidates, these recent grads are determined to impress their employers and climb the career ladder. Not all of them have what it takes, so here are some tips to secure your company’s future superstars:

Ask about extracurriculars. When candidates have attended a university and achieved a 4.0 GPA, that’s impressive. But, when they work part-time, have an industry-related internship, play intramural sports and hold leadership positions in student organizations, that is “gold.” This involvement shows strong dedication to developing their social skills and their networking abilities, and demonstrates effective time management.

“But, what are you really looking to do?” I talk to candidates all the time who just graduated college and have no idea what they want to do. They’re now armed with a degree in liberal arts or business management but don’t have any long-term goals. As a recruiter or hiring manager, honing in on candidates’ talents and where they see themselves in the next 10 years is key.

“What do you value in a potential employer?” The answer to this question can be a deal-breaker for me. I get excited when candidates ask about long-term opportunities, community service initiatives and other company involvement, like committees and task forces. If a candidate asks about the working hours or leaving early on certain weekdays, they’re not a fit. I’ve even heard, “Do they fire you if you don’t meet your goals?” Use this question to see what’s most important to the candidates.

Watch out! Some recent grad candidates have surprised me with creative tactics to secure positions. The candidates who stood out sent handwritten thank you letters, created websites with links to their resume and social media pages and followed up within 24 hours. When recent grads conduct their interview process in this manner, it shows professionalism and willingness to “do what it takes” to close the opportunity.

Next time you speak with an entry-level candidate, focus on these items and their potential instead of their lack of experience in your industry. They may surprise you and could end up being your next No. 1 employee!

About WilsonHCG

WilsonHCG is an award-winning, global leader in total talent solutions. Operating as a strategic partner, it helps some of the world’s most admired brands build comprehensive talent functions. With a global presence spanning more than 65 countries and six continents, WilsonHCG provides a full suite of configurable talent services including recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, contingent talent solutions and talent consulting. TALENT.™ It’s more than a solution, it’s who we are.