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Recruiting Recent Grads: What The Class Of 2015 Wants In Their First Job

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Photo Credit: Zlatko Unger via Compfight cc

With the end of the spring semester fast approaching, employers and recruiters alike are preparing for the moment when the hordes of graduating college seniors flood the job market. Many are already weeding through resumes, looking for grads who have what it takes to make it in the workforce. And who can blame them?

Recent college graduates can bring a lot of value to a company. These workforce newbies often have had access to state-of-the-art resources and technology, exposure to the latest practices and ideas, and an enthusiasm only those new to the workforce can bring. What’s more, recent grads are often cheaper to hire than an industry veteran, even with all the training and development the company will need to invest in.

So what are today’s graduates looking for in a job? The answer might surprise you.

With the economy appearing to be slowly but steadily recovering from the recession (with perhaps the exception of the oil and gas industries), soon-to-be college grads are increasingly hopeful about their job prospects after graduation, according to the most recent Way to WorkTM survey. In fact, 79 percent of those polled say they are confident they’ll be able to find a job within five months of graduation day.

This relatively optimistic attitude regarding job prospects is perhaps a result of more realistic expectations. While a similar survey of recent grads conducted in 2012 found that almost a quarter of all respondents said they’d be willing to leave a job after only three months if they discovered they didn’t like it, this year’s college graduates value finding a job with stability over landing their “dream job.” Adecco Staffing USA, the company that conducted both surveys, says that this shift is likely a result of having lived through and witnessed the effects of the recession.

If you’re an employer or recruiter looking to snap up the best of this year’s recent grads, here’s what you need to know about the Class of 2015:

  • Utilize online job boards
    31 percent of college students said they use online job boards like,, etc. the most during their job search, and employers not utilizing these sites are missing out. But it’s not enough to just post a basic job description up on an online job board. Recent grads want to get a real feel for both the position and the company from the job posting. Taking the time to craft a detailed and complete job description that accurately and completely describes the skills and experience you’re looking for in an applicant will yield much better candidates than a generic job description.
  • Emphasize the potential for career advancement and growth
    36 percent of new grads surveyed rate an opportunity for growth as the factor that is most important for a first professional job. If your company offers a training or professional development program, or frequently promotes from within, make sure you bring it up during the interview process. Recent college graduates are more likely to take a job if they believe they’ll have an opportunity to grow within the company.
  • Talk about employee retention
    70 percent of recent grads surveyed said they would prefer a “safe, stable job without a high level of emotional investment or passion” than one with “lots of emotional investment and passion that lacks security or stability.” What’s more, the majority of recent grads also say they want to stay at their first professional job for at least 2 to 3 years, and not become a victim to the revolving door of employee turnover that recent college graduates are famous for.  If you’ve been with your company for several years, make sure you talk about why you’ve stayed so long.


The Class of 2015 has a lot to offer the workforce, and can provide employers with an exceptional ROI when it comes to job-based skills versus salary expectations. But this group is looking for more than just a job – they want a position within a strong company that will be around for a long time to come and can offer them some level of security and stability. With their expectations more rooted in reality than many of the previous years of graduates, appealing to these grads may actually be a more feasible task, provided that employers make their job positions accessible by utilizing online job boards and emphasizing opportunities for long-term growth and advancement.

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