Rise Performance Group

4 Tips to Attract Top Young Talent

By Christina Krenek

For recent college graduates and young professionals, the transition from campus life to the workplace can be intimidating and possibly the biggest change in their life so far. For companies, recruiting top young talent and hiring recent college graduates can be very beneficial! A study from Reagan Consulting analyzed a number of “Successful Young Producers” who are predominantly college educated 20-something-year-olds. The study identified the ideal traits for young successful new-hires. These “Successful Young Producers” are quick to adapt to new concepts and environments, and have high energy, sociability and decisiveness.

Although surprisingly, an article from Forbes titled, “Why We Need To Take 20-Somethings Seriously,” presents research stating that half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed with low wage service jobs. Moving back home, taking unpaid internships or working as bartenders and baristas, have become popular post-college trends in today’s economy.

But the article argues that being in your 20s is actually the ideal age for developing and establishing a successful career. During this age, the brain is still developing, which means 20-somethings can adapt quicker to new concepts and environments. Those are great qualities for job positions that need coaching and training. According to the article, Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist specializing in adult development says, “What people do in their 20s wires who’ll they’ll be as adults.”

Think about it, some of the top CEOs started in their 20s. For example, there’s Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Tom O’Shaugnessy of LivingSocial, Pete Cashmore of Mashable.com and many more. Young age should not be a reason not to hire someone!

CareerBliss.com, a popular career website, also recently presented a list of The Happiest Companies for Young Professionals. CareerBliss conducted over 220,000 employee-generated reviews in the past year that asked young professionals to rate the company they work for. The purpose of the study was to give recent college graduates and young professionals an idea of the type of organizations that are best for starting a new career. Here are the top five companies that made the list:

  1. GE Energy
  2. Nordstrom
  3. Fluor
  4. United Space Alliance
  5. AstraZeneca

With GE Energy at the top spot, the company’s vice president of Human Resources says, “I believe strongly that people want to work at GE Energy because being here means working with highly motivated, highly talented colleagues–and that brings out the best work in each of us.”

These companies reached the top of the list because of their talented, motivated and respected workplace environments. So what does this mean for your organization?

In order to reap the benefits of hiring recent college graduates, organizations need these 4 traits to attract and retain top young talent:

  • Challenging Assignments.
    Talented young professionals and recent college graduates want challenging projects so they can utilize their skills as well as grow and develop. It’s also important for young employees to feel as if they are contributing to the company in a meaningful way and adding value to the team.
  • Opportunity.
    One of the main factors young employees look for when accepting a job offer is the opportunities they will gain through the job position and organization. Young employees are constantly learning and enhancing their skills, especially if it’s their first job post-college. Give young employees the opportunity to share fresh ideas and include them in company decisions. Other desired opportunities include leadership, advancement within the company, training certifications and travel.
  • Job-Fit.
    Adjusting to corporate culture is a big step for young professionals, so it’s extremely important that individuals fit the workplace environment. They want to feel comfortable with the people they will be working with on a day-to-day basis and share similar values and beliefs. Employee assessments will help reveal who will be a good fit within the team and the organization.
  • Value.
    Ultimately, employees of all ages want to be valued and respected. A spokesman from Nordstorm, No. 2 on the list of happiest companies for young professionals, says “We encourage fun and camaraderie, and we have a longstanding tradition of recognizing hard work and strong performance.”

What’s your experience with hiring recent college graduates and retaining top young talent? What was your first job like as a young professional?

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