Seven Tips to Recruit the Class of 2016
By: Dona DeZube
Is your company looking to attract new grads?
According to Accenture Strategy’s 4th annual College Graduate Employment Study, recent graduates are three times as likely to prefer to work for a small or medium-sized company.
Drilling down into those expectations reveals a desire for workplace options that employers of any size can offer college graduates.
“Graduates are hungry for a culture with opportunities for rapid advancement and the ability to actually love the work that they do,” says Accenture Strategy Managing Director Katherine LaVelle.
LaVelle says employers will need to provide an employee experience that offers the flexibility to participate in project-based work, allowing for “on-the-job learning and the opportunity to work across different roles with a small-team feel.”
Understanding what graduates want and how your organization can deliver those opportunities has an additional benefit of boosting your employer brand.
Here are seven tips to successfully recruit the class of 2016.
Provide More Choices to New Hires
As the head of recruiting for an organization that hires 14,000 people a year, Jill Larsen, senior vice president of talent acquisition and people planning at Cisco, competes for talent every day, facing off against the nimble, startup culture of growing companies.
“It is possible for large enterprise companies to create agility in employment and talent attraction,” Larsen says. “Probably the fastest way is to harness the many cultures that exist in large companies.” She suggests these four tactics for winning the talent race against growing companies:
Share employee stories about growth in your recruiting materials and on social media. Larsen suggests using storytelling as a means to showcase the startup aspects of your company culture. Author Carmine Gallo points out that many large companies effectively share employee stories – which can also help unite multiple workplace cultures after a merger or acquisition.
Look at benefit offerings through the lens of a 20-something. Do recent grads value the current slate of benefits or would they prefer something more novel, like student loan payoffs? Why not ask them directly?
Ask how grads view your employer brand. Following up on candidates’ experiences is a quick way to engage new grads, especially those who didn’t choose you or who you didn’t select. Those folks help to build perceptions of your company and there’s a lot to learn from them.
Make talent mobility a priority. How well are you retaining your new grads and rotating them? How many of your interns are you converting with offers in your internship programs — before they head back to campus? “These are areas we focus on to ensure that our new grads not only join us, but they stay and continue to learn and develop their skills,” Larsen says.
Here’s how other recruiting experts weighed in on engaging 2016 college grads:
Move early on employment trends. Nannina Angioni, a labor and employment attorney and partner of the Los Angeles-based law firm Kaedian LLP, says smaller, emerging companies move early on progressive employment trends.
“Larger companies have traditionally been bulkier at the HR level and more reticent to change their ways until they have no choice in the matter – an attitude that is not attractive to younger workers,” she says. “By having workplace policies in place that reflect the needs and desires of a very diverse Millennial workforce, larger companies could begin to approximate their more nimble and edgier competitors in the startup lane."
Recruit new graduates into recently established product groups or newly opened offices. If those options won’t work, offer customized rotational programs, says Bruce Harpham, founder, ProjectManagementHacks.com.
“Moving to a new division each six months over a two- to four-year period provides novelty, challenge and growth opportunities,” Harpham says. “For the best results, ask the employee about their preferences for new assignments rather than simply moving them around.”
Chase the people who want to work for you, not the ones who don’t embrace your culture. “Your average tenure for new grads will be much higher if you find people who want to work for your brand and who like the stability of a larger company,” says Kristen Zierau, director, Clarke Caniff, Detroit. “If you have to change your culture for a handful of people, you’re going to wake up one day and not know who you are anymore.”