Graduation season is upon us, and colleges and universities across the country are awarding diplomas to the Class of 2013 – just over 1.7 million new entrants to the job force. These new graduates come with some great perks for small business owners as potential employees: lower salary costs, familiarity with technology (including the Internet and social media platforms), entrenched multitasking abilities, and a greater willingness to take risks just to name a few. The question for small business owners is how they can attract the best members of this graduating class to their job openings.
Why Hire College Graduates?
Small businesses have a distinct and often underemphasized advantage over their much larger rivals in that give new employees a chance to come in and immediately feel that they’re a valued part of the company. In a recent Businessweek article, RecruitLoop co-founder Paul Slezak was quoted as saying that graduates often “don’t realize they are missing out on the wonderful breadth and depth of opportunities that smaller businesses expose them to… In a big firm, often they simply become a number and never really get the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in any particular role.” A savvy small business can use this to their advantage when trying to snare an applicant.
How can you get these attractive candidates into the interview room to begin with though? One key may be going to them rather than waiting for them to come to you. By engaging potential hires on their own turf – whether that’s a social network or a college campus – you build your brand and put a face on your company for them to remember when they enter the workforce. Tom Gimbel of the LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing firm, suggested in a recent Entrepeneur interview that targeting regional colleges and universities with good programs in your industry and building relationships with those departments is a great way to get your business in front of students, and make your company one that they will want to work for upon graduation.
No matter how you get them hired, the important thing to remember is that you are making an investment with any new hire you make. If you hire college graduates, you are filling not only an immediate need within your company, but your potential managers as well. The immediate and future success of your company hinges on those you employ, and by taking advantage of what a recent graduate can offer, you’re ensuring your company’s viability and stability in the future. As San Francisco State University professor Dr. John Sullivan points out: “whichever firm hires a new grad, it literally has a chance to keep them forever. Meaning that if this firm treats them well, they may remain at this firm throughout their entire career.”