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How to Compete for College Hires

When it comes to staffing entry level positions, soon-to-be college graduates usually fit the bill on several levels: They’re affordable, since they’re looking for any opportunity that can help them launch a long term career. They’re proven and tested, since they’ve just completed four years of determined study, requiring diligence, native intelligence, and follow-though. And they represent a potential long term relationship; if both parties treat each other with respect, this initial position could become an in-house promotion, and then another, and another.

So how can you position yourself as an attractive option for applicants with newly minted degrees? Here are a few ways to scoop up these candidates before your competitors get to them.

Take branding seriously.

New graduates don’t have much life experience, so most of their career decisions are based on scenarios inspired by TV, rumors, and their own imagined visions of the future. They want to work for companies that might look impressive on a resume, and they want employers who can provide experience that can be leveraged into future opportunities. What these things actually mean, nobody knows. But these are the magical factors that can boost a company’s appeal in the eyes of talented young candidates. Frame your company to fit this image, and project that image into the world using all the tools at your disposal, including social media.

Don’t neglect salary.

Ambitious, inexperienced candidates will happily work for exposure, glamour, the prospect of future opportunity, a chance at fame, a chance to help others, personal fulfillment, and a host of other factors that don’t immediately appear to include money. But look again. Scratch the surface, and these dreamy candidates are also practical adults who have no intention of working for less than their skills are worth. They may accept a lowball salary offer at first, but they’ll leave as soon as they find something better.

Move quickly.

Once you’ve attracted a pool of resumes, move quickly to narrow the pool, schedule interviews (two rounds at the most), and make your decision. Don’t drag your feet or allow critical paper work to get caught in bureaucratic bottlenecks or put on hold until key personnel return from vacation. Younger candidates make fast decisions, and if you hope to bring them onboard, you’ll need to keep up. If you leave them waiting by the phone, prepare to lose them.

Focus on your workplace culture.

Attracting candidates will only represent half of your battle. Once they’re on board, you’ll need to put some effort into retention. New graduates won’t put up with a toxic company culture, at least not for long. Shape your workplace into a respectful environment that rewards teamwork and attention to detail.

For more on how to attract the recent college graduates that can help your company grow, reach out to the staffing team at PSU.

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