What to look for when hiring a college graduate
Academic institutions are a significant source of talent for employers seeking new hires. However, companies must look closely at a college graduate's overall work readiness in determining if that person is the right fit for their team.
According to a 2016 Payscale survey, a wide gap exists between what employers want and the skills new college grads believe they possess. For example, 87 percent of student respondents felt "well prepared" for their first job, a statement that only half of the surveyed hiring managers agreed with. While college students offer a smaller dataset than an employee with years of work and life experience, going beyond the resume will ensure a business makes the best hiring selection.
The first, obvious predictor of career success is the training students received in their four or more years of studying toward a degree. Most background screenings verify a graduate's educational credentials - including certifications and exam performance - with some companies using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that require certain GPA thresholds to get an interview.
Beyond GPA, companies should screen young candidates for the type of leadership potential that points to future contributions in a work environment. A student with a leadership role in college, be it as student council president or head of the campus book club, will likely have that highlighted in their resume. An academic advisor may be able to elaborate on the grad's contributions to a group or position, confirming (or invalidating) the initiative, trustworthiness and follow through that employers prize in an applicant. Reviewing even part-time job or internship performance could further show off a candidate's experience in organized, task-focused efforts.
Standard background screenings will vet a first-time hire's consumer record, revealing vital information about that person's general dependability. A basic credit screening is also going to be particularly important for any position that involves finance.
In any hiring scenario, companies should always check an applicant's criminal background. Meanwhile, a college-aged candidate's driving record serves as an indicator of responsibility and readiness to enter the full-time working world.
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