Your Duty to Your Graduate Hires

Megan Speet

Duty To Grads

When you decide your business is ready to take on a graduate (or team of), you’re not just strategising or making plans for the business; you’re also making a big commitment.

Graduates don’t, in most cases, have a plethora of working experiences to draw upon when making our decision, nor do they necessarily have tons of knowledge which is going to benefit them from day one. For the most part, what we’re looking for when hiring at a
graduate level comes down to attitude and raw skills.

And with raw skills come weaknesses, too.

As a business leader, when you hire a grad you’re not just taking on another head, but a challenge; you’re committing to developing, training and nurturing this person, to get the best out of them and see them do well.

Which is why it’s important to give them time when onboarding. Identifying any concerns, weaknesses, skill gaps or whatever other term you’d like to use from the off is key in order to facilitate their success. And – whether graduate or no – it can be insightful to delve deeper into these ‘gaps’ and understand what else they’re can tell you about your new hire.

For instance:

“They take too long to complete their work – they work too slowly”

Your graduate hire has just started, and they’re taking too long to complete tasks. Not ideal. It would be easy to start thinking of them as unproductive, slow, or unable to respond positively to the pressure of deadlines – but, let’s tip it on its head.

This person is likely a perfectionist, meaning you know you’ll be able to count on them to get things right first time when time really is of the essence. They’re thorough in their approach and rarely make mistakes or errors. All hugely positive traits to possess.

Give them ample training on working processes; give them tips and tricks to complete things more quickly and efficiently. Give them time to work out their best way of working, and give them the opportunity to speed up and improve along the way. Just because they’re ‘slow’ now, doesn’t mean they always will be.

“They don’t ask enough questions, which results in mistakes being made”

It’s a problem, granted; being unafraid to ask questions is something we do look for at interview stage on behalf of most of our clients. Asking questions shows curiosity, capacity to learn and many other great attributes. However, someone who’s not willing or able to do so is almost certainly someone who is able to take the initiative in equal measure.

This tenacity is something which can be honed; used correctly, properly, the initiative itself is something which can’t be taught – better it be this way round than the other…

“They lack presentation/public speaking skills”

First things first, let me ask – why wasn’t this identified at interview stage? If presentation skills are crucial to the job this person is doing, you should know about their abilities (or lack thereof) beforehand.

Fear not – presentation skills really do come with practice and experience. Don’t write off your new hire based on this alone – train them, lead by example and you’ll have them ready to get in front of clients in no time.

“They lack creativity”

Everyone’s brain works differently – if someone isn’t showcasing their creativity, it could simply be that they’ve not yet had the chance to or been put in a position which gets the creative juices flowing for them. Alternatively, their brain could simply work on a different wavelength – those who don’t consider themselves creative per se are often logical by nature, problem solvers.

Play to your employee’s strengths – ensure they’re working in an environment which encourages creativity and give them ample opportunity to express it in many ways.

The short and short is this: when you hire at graduate level, it’s down to you to identify their skills, weaknesses and everything in between, in order to expose their full potential.

Hiring a graduate is no small task – it’s an arduous process which doesn’t end once they’ve signed the contract. But, for every moment of challenge, you’ll be rewarded ten-fold as they flourish under your guidance. Grads require dedication from you, the business
leader – or at the very least, dedication from their manager and/or team. Hiring at entry-level is an investment of time, patience, effort and understanding; your duty is to them. To see them do well, to nurture them to succeed.

We ensure the longevity of our clients’ graduate and entry-level hires through years of honing our own in-depth interview processes, which get into the nitty-gritty of who the candidates are and what they might be capable of. Get in touch to find out more about how our diligent, proprietary qualification and recruitment processes have helped clients of all shapes and sizes hire exceptional grads, up and down the country.