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Jobs for New Graduates: 8 Best Things New Graduates Look for

by Victoria Mckee

Each year, around 1.1 million college graduates enter the “real world,” aka the labor force. As recent graduates begin their journey to launch their careers, they are also exploring what potential employers can offer before applying to jobs for new graduates or accepting offers. It’s why employers need to step up and cater to the needs of the new generation of workers.

jobs for new graduates

For example, one LinkedIn study found that recent graduates focus on where jobs can take them. Besides paying the bills, recent graduates are thinking long-term and considering how their first jobs are steppingstones for their overall career path.

Most of the recent graduates today come from Generation Z, so they have many different attitudes and expectations towards employment, which you must take into account for. A report from Deloitte assessed the impact of Gen Z on the labor market and discovered that today’s generation looks for employers more aware of the external environment. That means that beyond leadership development and skill-building, Gen Z wants ethically and socially conscious employers.

The question is: How does that look in the workplace, and what can you do, as an employer, to better entice new graduates and talents to apply for open positions in the company?

Read on as we share what Gen Z looks for in employers before applying for jobs for new graduates.

Jobs for New Graduates: What New Graduates Look for in Employers

These are the things new graduates are looking for in employers today, so you have an idea of what to improve on in the organization:

Career Development

three people sitting in front of table laughing together

Many new graduates are launching their careers, looking for opportunities for skill-building and mentorship in their field. Employers emphasizing career and leadership development training will significantly appeal to new graduates wanting more support to begin their careers.

To offer this, we recommend implementing internal apprenticeship programs, leadership development meetings, and certification programs. Employers demonstrating their commitment to career growth will most likely stand out, appealing to new graduates.

After all, no one would want to be stuck in the same role for years! New grads want to take on bigger tasks and more responsibility to grow and develop in an organization.

You can do this by allowing new hires to try new things now and then. It will give them growth and variety, creating a more productive work environment. We also recommend making any advancement opportunities clear, understanding their goals and the company’s, and seeing how new graduates can fit into the puzzle appropriately.

Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a priority for new grads, no matter where you’re from! A LinkedIn survey showed that work-life balance topped their list, with 56% of new grads prioritizing and valuing personal and career life balance when looking at potential employers.

Work-life balance has been a continuous discussion topic and is even more relevant today because remote workers struggle to achieve appropriate work-life balance without a physical office. Up to 70% of remote workers in the United States have experienced challenges juggling their personal lives and career.

New graduates most likely anticipate the added stress and challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the stress of transitioning from being out of school and heading towards the labor force. Employers that show consideration through a better work-life balance through PTO policies, mental health and wellness services, and flexible scheduling can catch the favorable attention of new graduates.

A Flexible Work Environment

Flexible scheduling policies are another significant factor that new graduates want and look for. This arrangement helps new graduates feel more of a sense of personal control over their environment as they have time and space to meet personal needs beyond their jobs.

The benefits of flexible scheduling include decreased turnover, better workplace morale, and improved work-life balance.

A survey showed that 80% of workers reject an offer that doesn’t offer flexible scheduling. Moreover, 53% of those surveyed noted that the ability to choose their job location is more important than the company’s prestige.

New graduates can adjust to working in flexible environments and schedules, suiting them best with appropriate tools and support.

It’s essential to allow for more work flexibility and variety in tasks and projects assigned and provide necessary training. But this doesn’t mean making their assignments easy, as graduates want to learn! Give them appropriate opportunities without overloading them.

Healthy Work Culture

Company culture is another top priority for many new graduates. They are looking beyond the colorful office walls and break rooms filled with snacks! Now, they want employers to foster cultures supporting their careers intangible, long-term ways.

Opportunities for growth are a must-have among new graduates, besides a work-life balance, competitive compensation, and promotion opportunities. New graduates want a culture valuing early-level talent by rewarding, recognizing, and fostering hard work.

Gen Z is more future-focused, so a culture actively promoting their growth aligns with what they are looking for.

Furthermore, did you know that new graduates favor small businesses over larger companies? That’s because of the fear of not fitting in within the company culture, involving areas like diversity, friendliness, respect, creativity, and supportive leadership.

Because of that, employers should be proactive. For example, display fundraisers, company events, and other things that make your company unique. New graduates and job seekers will have a gist of what the organization is like, encouraging them to apply.

Benefits (That Actually Benefit Them!)

Beyond the competitive salary, new graduates are also looking for good benefits packages aligning with their current life circumstances and career. Employers that take the time to provide the appropriate benefits aligning with Gen Z’s needs will go a long way to attract top talents!

Some of the perks new graduates look for include flexible work schedules, student loan repayments, and relaxed dress codes, among other opportunities for professional development. Such benefits are tailored to new graduates transitioning from school, looking for flexibility, skill-building opportunities, and student loan debt assistance.

Good Pay

Of course, this is something all types of employees and job seekers are after. After all, money and finances matter, especially in our economic climate with new graduates facing rising living costs and student debt.

New graduates want to be paid competitively and fairly. If you don’t measure up to graduates’ expectations and pay them fairly, you’ll struggle to attract and retain top talents.

Swift Recruitment Process

This is one of the most important things you need to focus on when attracting new graduates! Like many people, new graduates want and expect candidate-friendly recruitment processes. It should be hassle-free and less bureaucratic.

Who would want to wait for months before finding out if they got a job offer or not? By then, new graduates would have already accepted another job offer and started working with a competitor.

That’s why your organization must offer streamlined, responsive, and technology-enabled recruitment processes. Not only can you get fresh, top talents faster, but you’ll set yourself apart from the rest, which attracts job seekers.

Dedication to Greater Causes

Philanthropy and corporate social responsibility are growing trends in Gen Z workers, so expect new graduates to share the same wants.

An inspiring and purposeful organization can attract top talent as it isn’t only about competitive salaries but the possibility of becoming part of something bigger than what they are.

And no, this isn’t just about donating and volunteering. Ethics, inspiration, and innovation are equally important under the same umbrella. So it’s essential to consider the way your work and organization can serve the community and industry.

Showcase the company’s efforts on how they make positive change for new graduates to know how you’ll work to make the community, industry, and the world a better place.

What Should You Do as an Employer?

Now that you know what Gen Z looks for when applying for jobs for new graduates, the next question is: What can you do to make the assessment and recruitment process more efficient for your audience?

person using macbook pro on table

Besides the tips mentioned in each factor, one thing you can start with is by improving your recruitment process. Here are some tips to get the recruitment and assessment right to get top talents for the long term.

Identify exactly what your organization needs

For starters, you must first understand what success looks like to your organization. What specific behaviors, cognitive abilities, and personality traits have a new graduate fit the role, team, and company successfully?

While many companies may already follow this tip, you’ll be surprised by how many rushes the step without much consideration. If you get the answer wrong, it can cost your company a lot and result in higher turnover rates.

Having a defined success profile clearly stated in the job description will inform applicants about the attributes required before applying. It would be best if you also shared what else is required and expected of the successful candidate for that specific role.

Once you provide this, it eliminates many candidates’ significant grievance, which is the fear of wasting time in applying poor or inaccurate information. That won’t only waste time and effort but candidate experience and your company’s brand.

Take a more holistic view.

When you have a success profile, you can easily define competencies, cognitive abilities, drivers, and traits the right candidate requires. This will give you a benchmark against how to measure such factors.

Unfortunately, employers don’t usually have a success profile, and if they do, they don’t use it properly. Instead, they would merely assess applicants from a standard personality assessment, then categorize and sift them through academic achievements.

Assessments are valuable, but single assessments won’t give employers a holistic view of the most suitable candidates. You may end up hiring the wrong one and also alienate quality candidates who believe simple assessments limit them from fully demonstrating their capabilities.

It’s important to take a holistic view and choose the assessments you will conduct, gaining a fuller picture of your applicants. You can use assessments likeability tests, Situational Judgement Tests, and personality assessments.

Manage expectations

Graduates want and need an accurate overview of the organization and specific positions to fill. The application process will give employers the perfect opportunity to give candidates an idea of what it would be like working with them.

You can opt to provide a Realistic Job Preview, which shows the benefits and challenges of the role. It can also help manage candidates’ expectations. It saves both you and the candidates time and effort during the recruitment process

Pay fairly and competitively

person wearing black coat close-up photography

Salary and financial worries are one of the crucial graduate concerns, with salary being more crucial than ever to fresh graduates. In a candidate-led market, fresh graduates are looking around for better rewards and compensation.

If competitors have reviewed their compensation packages recently, the companies that haven’t will end up losing the best candidates. They will also struggle to keep good graduates if they discover even better rewards elsewhere.

That’s why it’s important to conduct research and gauge the pay levels accurately. Deep research on the average salary through tools that measure its competitiveness based on locations, organizations, and specific job roles. That way, you know you are paying people fairly and giving them something worth applying for without losing out.

Wrapping It Up

More and more new graduates are coming in from the new generation flooding the labor force. If you want to be a growing and successful company, it’s high time you do your job to attract new talents, harnessing their raw talent and skills. It would be best if you weren’t afraid to put yourself out there and let potential applicants see what your organization has to offer.

If you are offering jobs for new graduates, make sure you do your part and offer what they want and need to become valuable to the business. Good luck! We’ve got you covered here in our blog if you would like to learn more about recruitment and HR trends.

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