3 Things to Help Hold on to Recent College Graduates

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In many ways, recent college graduates are the perfect candidates to hire. They’re young, fresh, and willing to learn.

However, they also come with a problem: Most recent grads don’t stay with an organization very long.

A new study by America Employed found that 77 percent of franchises surveyed said they expected new graduates to leave within a year. This can be frustrating to hiring managers, who have to continuously find new talent, as well as being costly for the organization (they’re constantly having to onboard and train, and high turnover hurts productivity).

Before simply asking how to hold on to recent grads, however, first think about what could be motivating them to leave:

1. It wasn’t the right field for them

Recent grads are just starting out, and they’re still trying to find their direction and where they fit into the workforce. Chances are, they’re feeling so much pressure to find a job they don’t always think about whether or not it’s truly right for them. Then, after working it for a few months, they realize their mistake and move on.

The solution: Use clear language when recruiting. If the company truly isn’t a good fit for recent grads, they will leave for another opportunity — it’s inevitable. However, companies can avoid this by being straightforward in the job description and hiring process.

2. Clearly communicating what the job involves

Letting them know what the job entails, and what kind of skills are required, will ensure the grad has a good idea of the job before they take it. In addition, companies can work with career counselors at colleges to ensure they’re recruiting the right candidates who have the proper degrees and interests in the industry. This will cut down on turnover from candidates who feel the company isn’t a good fit.

They feel like one in the crowd. Recent grads are Millennials, and Millennials are all about personalization. If they feel like an unknown number in a corporation, chances are they won’t stick around long.

The solution: Give them a mentor. Utilizing mentorship programs can help motivate recent graduates to stay, simply because they become more invested in the organization. They have more of a personal connection to the company and they feel the company has a personal connection to them.

Their mentor can help them learn about the organization and what their job entails and answer any questions they may have. In addition, because recent grads are just starting out, they will appreciate a mentor who can help with their career path.

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3. They’re bored

The America Employed survey found many Millennials are taking jobs for which they are overqualified. Because of that, they get bored after a short time and move on to find a position better fitting to their skill set.

The solution: Assign work recent grads will find challenging or interesting. Keep them motivated and interested by assigning them work that aligns with their passions and skills. It seems simple, but too often companies don’t consider who is the best fit for what, instead focusing on simply getting things done.

Consider conducting interviews or surveys to find out where employee interests lie, and assign projects accordingly. While it will never be perfect (it’s impossible to give everyone work they will enjoy 100 percent of the time), assigning work that aligns with employee interest will help recent grads to stay motivated and keep them from searching out other opportunities.

The reality is that nothing will guarantee a recent grad will stay with a company. They’re young, they’re fresh … and they move on quickly.

However, by making smart hiring decisions early and taking advantage of these tips, you can maximize a recent graduate’s time with your organization.

What do you think? What are some other ways to hold on to recent grads?

Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.

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1 Comment on “3 Things to Help Hold on to Recent College Graduates

  1. I think this is true not just for millennials, but those who are in thier 30’s as well. Most people in their 30’s either have settled for the job they have, or looking for a better fit. Those that are not looking have probably already completed a degree and have the job they want. All too often especially for this age group life got in the way of bettering themselves till now.

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