They are neophytes in the professional world and more often than not, their lack of experience presents a challenge for organisations who are looking to hire young talent. Because fresh graduates cannot be assessed on the basis of pedigree relating previous work experience, they are often considered a hiring risk. One which could swing positively or otherwise.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, not less than 1.8 million fresh graduates leave our tertiary institutions in search of job opportunities in the labour market despite the fact that very few of such opportunities are available. However, it is ironic that organisations have a hard time finding the right fit among the numerous candidates that apply for jobs with them.
Nevertheless, there are ways to identify fresh graduates who stand out from the pack and will bring value to any organisation that takes the pain to do due diligence in recruiting them.
Based on our over 14 years’ experience in graduate assessment, Workforce Group has been able to distill some key competencies that separate high performing fresh graduates from the rest. Here are a few attributes that will help organisations hire the best of them:
Problem Solving Skills: Organisations hire because they are looking to solve specific problems. The best fresh graduates are those who can demonstrate that they are not job seekers but problem solvers.
Excellent Oral and Written Communication skills: One of the easiest ways to identify a graduate who’s suited for the corporate world is how well they are able to communicate. This can be easily determined by conducting an assessment that tests their verbal and written competencies. The best fresh graduates express themselves clearly in oral and written communication.
Leadership Potential: New graduates may not have the requisite experience in the business world, but they can give employers a hint of how well they will do in a leadership role if they have led in any form during their undergraduate days. Captaining the football team to victory, holding a political post in their department or heading a community initiative all help to give organisations a sneak peek into their leadership potential.
Ability to Manage Time Effectively: One of the downsides associated with youth is the tendency to not priortise tasks and projects in order of importance. Young people are often seen as time wasters, therefore, a fresh graduate can differentiate himself from others by demonstrating good time management skills. A candidate that consistently completes tasks to a quality state during the recruitment process already sends a message that he values time – an attribute any organisation would appreciate.
Ability to take Initiative: If one out of ten candidates who are applying for a particular role goes ahead to source for additional information beyond what is provided during assessment while others limit themselves to what was given, that individual has displayed initiative and stands a better chance of being called in for an interview. The best fresh graduates show uncommon initiative.
Team Play: Topnotch fresh graduates are great team players. They aren’t people who will disrupt the flow or work pattern of an existing team, rather, they will enhance the productivity of the team. Those who can show proof that they have worked successfully in a team are likely to be great additions to the organisation.
Proficiency in Digital Technology: It’s a computer-based/digital world. One that is thought to be somewhat too fast-paced for the older generation and more suited to young, upwardly mobile ones. While this belief may not be backed by empirical evidence, the narrative that millennials and the Generation Z love tech and all its appurtenances holds true. This means that fresh graduates can leverage their “innate” technological inclination to bring something different to the table. Nevertheless, care must be taken not to mistake activity on social media for digital proficiency.