Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Caroline Schmidt. Her opinions are her own.
Thinking about hiring a graduate? It might seem like a leap of faith, but this could be the best decision you ever make for your business. Graduates bring a number of unique qualities to the table; current knowledge, inspiring determination and a youthful character, set to change the face of the world.
They are also a strong long-term business investment when it comes to crunching the numbers, able to work at an efficiency reflective of the fast-paced business world. Read on to find out exactly why you should be shaking hands on a job offer with your next graduate applicant instead.
1. Current knowledge
When a recent graduate arrives knocking on your door, they have stopped by essentially straight from the classroom. This can be intimidating to many companies, but the gamble is much lower when compared to the potential benefits. Graduates know all the latest industry principles, business models and success stories. How? They’ve been studying them intensely for the last few years.
Young people also tend to be more comfortable with new technology and the shifting workplace culture. They are self-motivated to continue to stay in the know and connect with fresh ideas, as they have learnt to do through their education. Even if your applicant isn’t equipped with all the tangible skills necessary, this gap can easily be crossed with internal training.
2. Positive attitude
The ‘change the world’ outlook that can tick off established professionals isn’t actually a barrier to success, but a gateway. An unfailingly positive outlook and real vision are character attributes that can’t be taught, especially when strictly pragmatic thinking is ingrained from years in the industry. Entrepreneurs aren’t born from sticking hard and fast to the set rules, but disrupting social norms and revolutionising our way of thinking.
Graduates also tend to be highly grateful for the opportunity. Finally, they have a job. This means that more often than not, they’re happy to take on the menial tasks as well and work hard to impress. An eager momentum can only ever be a good thing for the growth of your business.
3. Succession planning
There are plenty of opportunities out there. You have one shot to hire that graduate, with the chance to keep them on forever. Give the chance to a young professional and pave the way for a successful long-term career path. This is the best way to ensure loyalty and growth, as well as the sustainability of your business in the future.
Succession planning also counters a challenge faced by companies around the world for hiring entry level management. Taking on an external professional carries risks; you need to deal with their unfamiliarity, different work ethic and culture. By providing the opportunity for an internal promotion to graduates you can reward those who excel at your business and successfully fill a critical management position.
4. Embrace new change
Picture this. A building firm is looking to hire a new construction worker. Someone who has an understanding of the work, but also an open mind, willing to learn their tricks of the trade. The problem with hiring an experienced industry professional is that they are set in their ways. Often, with an unshakeable work ethic and standpoint. While this has obvious benefits, it can also place limitations on your business operations and stunt the growth of your company.
Instead, hire a graduate fresh from their apprenticeship training – somewhat of a blank canvas. Young professionals are more likely to keep an open mind and adapt to new situations, it’s what they’ve been doing in the classroom for years. In this new era of business, where turnovers and extreme competition require agile professionals, graduates are your best bet.
5. Natural communication skills
Attending networking events can be intimidating at the best of times, even for an established professional or otherwise. But to graduates? Certainly, it’s become the familiar. These ex-students have just walked out of a university degree or short course, where they met new people in a foreign situation most days of the week. Good communication underpins success in the workforce – it drives teamwork, motivation and technical efficiency.
Compare this to a mature-age professional, who was likely at their previous job for five to ten years. They’re comfortable and content in their routine and network of coworkers and clients. They rely on the coworkers they have known and trusted for a significant time and this can be a roadblock to overcome. While there certainly isn’t anything wrong with extensive experience, the easy attitude and natural communication handling of a graduate can lead to a smooth transition now and months down the track.
6. New perspective
A new approach is probably what kick-started your business, so it only makes sense that to stay afloat you’ll need a fresh perspective. Luckily, graduates aren’t in the mould just yet. They form their individual opinions based on academic experience and knowledge, not the principles ingrained by the industry. They also have a habit of looking at decade-long systems and asking the question, why?
This outside perspective is an invaluable asset no matter your company size. Reinventing efficiency, communications and management is a crucial step in projecting your business growth. The professional world is changing, be ready to lead these changes.
7. No office politics
Nobody enjoys drama in the office. Okay, maybe some of you do. But for most of us, it’s stressful, upsetting and just plain annoying. Unfortunately, it can seem to be inevitable. The great thing about hiring a new professional is that they’re not caught up in conversations by the water cooler – they never have been. Graduates won’t respond to the office politics in your business, and remain untainted by rumours or peer pressure. Essentially, they’re hired without any problematic excess baggage.
Hiring an experienced professional does have its benefits. They know how office politics work and understand how to deal with them, but is it in a way that reflects the values of your business? When a stellar industry reputation faces ruin, it can become a different ball game altogether. Taking on a graduate can eliminate the risk of clashes and negative competition – they aren’t looking to step on any toes.
8. Great with technology
When four out of every five millennials own a smartphone, it isn’t hard to work out which age group is likely to be the most comfortable with new technology and digital communication. The younger generation is eager to get their hands on the latest gadget, trial the newest software and understand the trending applications. This can make them a potentially highly valued member of your team in the bigger picture.
Millennials may be, in part, more responsive to these advancements because they have grown up with them. Technology directly affects their standard and style of living. If they aren’t able to pick up a new piece of technology and have it down pat in minutes then they’ll fall behind. This isn’t a scenario unique to graduates, it applies to businesses as well. A young professionals’ natural affinity with technology could be the only thing standing between you and success in the fast-paced digital world.