First, the good news: Corporations are on track to hire more recent college grads this year — up 5% versus last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers — making 2017 the eighth year in a row that companies have increased their entry-level college hiring.
But that’s not to say that many hiring managers are particularly happy about that fact.
According to a survey cited in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal — “Where College Seniors Are Falling Short” — more than 60% of employers feel that today’s recent college graduates are ill prepared for the professional job market, unfamiliar with the companies and industries they seek to enter and even falling down on simple steps like sending thank-you notes after interviews. A third of all applications for entry-level roles today come from unqualified candidates, the survey found.
“The mismatch extends to hard skills, too. Engineering, business and computer science majors are in highest demand, with at least two-thirds of employers seeking graduates in those fields, according to NACE. But fewer than half of the students surveyed by iCIMS majored in those subjects. College seniors feel good about their prospects: more than 90% of the students surveyed by iCIMS reported feeling confident about their interview skills. They also expect to earn over $53,000 in their first job, compared with average salary of $45,000 that recruiters expect to pay for those positions.”
Hiring: A New Reality
If you ask me, there are unrealistic expectations on both sides of this problem: Grads who expect too much from prospective employers (in terms of both compensation and hand-holding as they progress through their careers), and companies are expecting college students to jump in on day one with all of the skills that an experienced hire would have.
Both sides need to get real.
The truth is, traditional corporate hiring is misaligned with how Millennials discover products, services, and people. This is a generation that values personal growth, guidance, purpose and flexibility, in their day-to-day lives as well as their work, and corporate America isn’t yet offering that to them. Trouble is, there are currently more than 75 million members of the Millennial generation living in the U.S., making it the largest living generation.
This is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon.
We at iSelect see the challenges of hiring a lot at the companies we invest in. These are small, high-growth, startup companies, the very definition of Millennial-friendly workplaces. And yet even they struggle to find qualified, affordable employees as they scale up and staff their businesses. Grads either don’t have the skills that these companies need, or they are looking for something that these employers cannot offer their hires.
One of these companies, Better Weekdays, has stepped up in an effort to reduce friction in the job search and campus recruiting process for students, colleges, and employers, with interactive, mobile enabled, marketing and communications platform provides tools and services, including self/career assessment and personalized job-matching. These tools allow students to discover relevant job opportunities, corporations to market their opportunities effectively, and university career centers to leverage data and analytics to improve graduates’ job outcomes.
It’s all about inbound recruiting. Rather than trying to reach out to as wide a range of potential candidates as possible, in the hope that at least one of them will make for a good hire, Better Weekdays’ philosophy is to help employers develop “pools” of interested, promising candidates ahead of time. This allows businesses to more quickly identify the most relevant and interested candidates, and minimizing the time spent searching through reams of less-than-optimal candidates. Better Weekdays has even streamlined this process in a product it calls The Whether, which automates the way companies attract, engage and hire students as part of a hands-off hiring journey.