Graduation season is in full swing. As a hiring manager, that means you’ll have a whole new crop of recent graduates looking to impress you with their resumes. But it also means you’ll have a whole new crop of talented candidates your organization needs to impress or risk losing to the competition.
In the past, large organizations have had the advantage when it comes to recruiting top talent, but data from the recently released Accenture Strategy 2015 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study suggests recent graduates are looking for something entirely different. Today, only 15 percent of recent graduates are interested in working for a large organization, while 45 percent express interest in working at a mid-size or small company. Clearly, smaller is better for 2015 graduates.
So, what do you do if you’re a hiring manager or HR professional at a large organization? You need to make your organization feel smaller during the hiring process, so recent graduates don’t feel like they’ll be just another rung in the corporate ladder.
Here are 3 strategies that will help you compete for the most talented recent graduates on the job market:1. Increase responsibility at the entry-level
The vast majority of recent graduates have put a lot of thought into their career path. In fact, Accenture Strategy’s study shows that 82 percent of them considered the job market before even choosing a major. But it’s not just that they’ve thought their career path through, 80 percent also feel like their education prepared them well for work — and that means they’ll want to get started right away.
One of the more attractive things about entry-level roles at smaller organizations is that they typically offer recent graduates more responsibility and more opportunities to put what they’ve learned to good use. If your organization wants to capture the best talent, make sure it’s offering recent graduates entry-level positions that are more than just glorified internships. Remember, recent graduates have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours earning their degrees, and they want to apply that knowledge to make an impact in their career.
In today’s competitive job market, large organizations can’t afford to make the mistake of not offering engaging, challenging work to recent graduates. Consider increasing the responsibilities of your entry-level positions from the start or, at the very least, providing recent graduates with a “road map” to increased responsibility and professional growth.
2. Create and highlight a “smaller feel” for your organization
When it comes to the organizations they choose, recent graduates care more about finding a company they enjoy working for than about money. In fact, 60 percent of graduates prioritize working for an organization with a good social environment over a high salary, which can be an issue for larger organizations.
Traditionally, the larger the organization, the more rigid and strict the organizational culture tends to be. But if you’re looking for an easy way to make your organization feel smaller, think about highlighting different professionals at your organization on your website. Talk about what makes them special, how they impact the organization and what they’re like both as professionals and outside the office. Share images and stories from company events, and make sure to personalize the details so that employees from every level of the organization are represented.
3. Be an organization that cares about professional development
Recent graduates believe that professional development and continuing education are the stepping stones to career advancement, and they want you to feel the same. A staggering 77 percent of recent graduates expect their employers to provide on-the-job training and professional development opportunities, but only 50 percent report receiving it. This is an area where larger organizations can excel.
Larger organizations are in the unique position of being able to draw from a deep pool of institutional and industry-based knowledge. Leverage this knowledge pool to attract talented, recent graduates who are are seeking out opportunities for professional development. Make an effort to develop training programs that prepare recent graduates for the challenges they will find on the job, and put them in a position to succeed in their careers.
4. Think small to score big talent
Just because you’re a large organization doesn’t mean you have to recruit like one. As graduation season progresses, consider how you can incorporate these three “small company” approaches into your organization’s hiring strategy, to attract the big talent from the recent graduate pool and turn those recent graduates into successful, long term employees.
Is your organization doing what it takes to capture the best new talent on the market? What other approaches are there for making your organization “feel smaller” to recent graduates?