How to Hire New College Graduates

How to Hire (and keep!) New College Graduates

So your company is looking to hire fresh minds just out of school, but how do you actually attract these candidates? In a highly competitive job market, it’s essential to stand out amongst the crowd

When recruiting recent graduates, will they even recognize your business or will they say they’ve never heard of it? A good way to avoid the latter is to make sure your business is gaining awareness with local colleges. To help get you started, we’ve gathered some ways to gain students’ interest in your company and help them understand your company culture before they accept the job. 

Did you know the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 55% of recent college graduates will leave their company in the first year?

How to spark interest before they graduate

Create a relationship with universities with major focuses similar to your business

College campuses are often hosting as many events for students as possible. Are you taking advantage of these opportunities? Consider talking with a couple of local universities from whom you would like to prospect, and ask if there is a way you can get involved.

Attend  job fairs on campus

Stay active and involved in the college community when you want fresh hires. Colleges frequently host fairs which are a great opportunity to get in front of students and speak about your company.

Set up a speaking panel with employees

This can be a great opportunity for students to learn from your employees while also increasing exposure for your company. Panels give students a chance to ask questions, expand their horizons and even consider themselves in a role at your company. Students will be more likely to apply after hearing current employees speak about the opportunities and benefits they are experiencing with your company!

Create an Internship program

Internships are a great learning experience for both students and employers. College students will get a firsthand experience of your company culture and the work that you do each day. You will learn the type of new hires that will be a good fit for open roles. Internship allows you to see if the person is teachable and willing to learn. If so, you may want to consider extending an offer before graduation.

What to look for in a resume

Hiring isn’t always an easy task but it is necessary. The goal is to hire the best people you can find that will fit in with your company culture and values. We know that sorting through resumes can be draining, so we’ve laid out a few things to look for when hiring a college grad. Important to note: extensive work experience will typically not be what you are looking for. 

Rather than focusing solely on work experience, you can look for technical skills and transferable skills that they can provide. Technical skills can be tested and include things like, Graphic design, SEO, or Mathematics. Transferable skills are also commonly known as people skills. This includes attributes such as leadership, teamwork, time management. Keep in mind, technical skills can be taught and learned through time where as transferable skills may be harder to teach.

A few other points to consider are the applicant’s degree, extracurricular activities, internships, and letters of recommendation.


Will their studies help them in this role? If they need prior knowledge or experience with certain programs, will they have gotten this in school or should you plan to teach them? Check to make sure their degree could be a good fit, but don’t rule a candidate out for bringing something unique to the table either. 

Extracurricular Activities

These can be a good way to get a sense of who they are outside of work. See what they spend their time and energy on after office hours. 


Internships are typically the closest thing to work experience you will find. Having a couple of internships is great especially when they vary. Internships show that they have tried a few things and have gained some practical skills. Even if it isn’t exact to what you are looking for, it shows that they have dipped their toes in the water. 

Letters of Recommendation

Recommendations can be a great way to see who they are from a different lens. Letters of recommendation typically come from other professionals who will provide an honest opinion.

Tips for developing talent through training programs

New graduates often deal with the question of what’s next? Sometimes they don’t even know! It is helpful to develop programs that can lead younger generations to feel comfortable while they learn about your company and the industry. 

Establish a mentor program

Having an experienced employee to show them the way can be reassuring. By setting this relationship up for them, they will be more likely to ask questions and look for guidance. By providing the guidance you have the opportunity to “groom” a new employee with the best practices for your company. 

Rotational exposure program

This is an opportunity for a college grad to get exposure to a couple of different roles to truly see what they are interested in. This could take a few years but then you have confirmation where they fit best and where they produce the highest quality of work. They can then decide which role they would like to take on.

Recent grads are coming out of school with first-hand experience in the latest technologies and a fresh perspective on business.  Don’t expect them to land in your office or store-  be active in your search for graduates and continue getting your company name out there!

Quick Tips

Internship programs are useful for both employees and employers. Rather than having interns fetch coffee or make copies, engage college students in real life business problems and let them offer unique solutions. 

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