Question: Hello, I’m the recruitment officer at a growing medium-sized company in Cairo. With the ever-growing talent pool in Egypt, and the fresh additions that enter the job market every year, we’ve decided to tap into the new talent pool, and hire a number of fresh graduates for various roles. Since most of them don’t have any “real” job experience, I was wondering what advice you can give on choosing the perfect candidate and making a sound hiring decision. Thanks, Tanya.
Hi Tanya, fresh graduates are a great addition to any company. Not only are they excited and motivated by the prospect of their new careers, but they are also up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies, and can bring in new ideas and a fresh perspective.
However, choosing the right hire is not a simple task. Hiring fresh graduates is different than hiring an experienced professional, and with little to no experience, some recruiters find it very difficult to discern whether or not the candidate would be a fit. In fact, there are a few mistakes hiring managers make when hiring fresh graduates, and it is important to know what they are, and how to avoid them.
Here is a list of the top 3 mistakes we feel you need to avoid when looking for your new hire:
1. Judging the book by its cover
Do you remember your first job interview after graduation? A job interview is a nerve-wrecking process, and probably the first time graduates truly have to market and sell themselves. When hiring, be very aware of this. Many fresh graduates don’t perform their best during an interview and have trouble fully conveying their skills and abilities. Their potential may not shine through, and it can prove difficult to truly assess their aptness.
What we suggest is trying to make the job interview as comfortable as possible for them. Most recruiters make their hiring decision within the first few minutes of an interview. It is exceedingly important to avoid this, especially with young graduates. Instead, take your time, have both formal and informal conversations with them, walk them around the office and show them the workplace, and offer them coffee or a quick snack if possible. In general, help them feel more ‘at ease’ and in their element, so they can fully deliver. You may even want to consider having more than one interview, in variating styles, as well as assigning them a task or two to complete, so you can better judge their abilities and potential hidden by their nervousness.
2. Failing to highlight the incentives
Some of the most important job attributes that fresh graduates value today don’t include the salary factor. According to the Bayt.com ‘Fresh Graduates in the Middle East and North Africa’ survey conducted in July 2016, over half of the respondents do not expect a salary higher than USD 750 in their first job. Generally speaking, the salary expectations of fresh graduates are lower than the average market rate, and they value other benefits, such as alternative working arrangements, training and growth opportunities, employee wellness programs, flexible working hours, and a work culture that is well suited to them. If your company offers these incentives, make sure to highlight them during the job interview or screening process to show the graduate that your company is a great place for them to start their career.
3. Undervaluing their abilities and potential
Once you’ve hired a candidate, you are invested in them. There is no reason to undervalue their abilities and to not encourage and push them to work at their full potential. These young minds will shape the future of your company. Therefore, it is important not to belittle them or their experiences. Instead, use them to your advantage, encourage their participation in brainstorming sessions, value their input, and take their ideas into serious consideration. Fresh graduates are very eager to learn and are determined to prove themselves able in their new careers. You have the ability to train and mold them, transforming them into your future top-achievers and the true fit within your company.
Overall, fresh graduates can be a great asset and bring a fresh perspective to your teams. Some companies remain hesitant in regard to hiring candidates with little to no experience. We recommend internships as an alternative starting point. Interns can also be trained and monitored. However, keep in mind that most interns aspire for a full-time position. Make sure that they are treated as regular team member, recognized, and motivated in order for them to perform their best and remain loyal to their employers.
This article originally appeared in Bayt.com.
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