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7 Career Competencies to Look for in New Graduates

7 Career Competencies To Look For In New Graduates

Graduation season is a chance to bring diversity, fresh perspectives, and new skills into your organization. Whether you hire a handful of summer interns or hundreds of young professionals each year, Talent Acquisition teams face a major challenge:

With little or no professional experience, most new grads don’t know if they’ll enjoy the work, or even what they’re looking for in an employer. In 3-6 months, will they love us or leave us?

Sure, you could budget for higher-than-average turnover and prepare to re-fill these roles again next quarter. Or, you could save your company a huge expense by cracking the code on new grads.

First, be sure to keep up with trends on each new generation. Then, since you can’t evaluate this talent pool’s past experience, you’ll have to look for other success indicators, like career competencies.

Career competencies will differ depending on the job, but if you want to know what most new grads will need to succeed, you’re in luck. Our research team analyzed competencies across 300 entry-level jobs and identified the 7 most important competencies for young professionals.

1. Relationship Management

Many new grads will have spent their last four years networking with others on campus, but how this this translate to the professional world? If your candidates have a natural knack for building relationships, they’ll have no trouble connecting with people who will help them succeed in their new role.

2. Making Sound Decisions

Being able to to make sound and confident decisions is an important skill in any job. A good hire is someone who will weigh options, consider others’ feedback, and come to a conclusion relatively quickly. What you don’t want is someone who jumps into action without thinking, or someone who overthinks to the point of paralysis.

3. Communicating Effectively

After countless presentations and group projects, you hope that new grads leave school as A+ communicators. But that’s not always the case. Your ideal candidate can express thoughts and ideas clearly, without dominating conversations, and is insightful enough to adjust the content and delivery so that messages are well-received.

4. Work Organization

Carrying a class load does require good organization skills. In fact, many new grads are expert time-managers. But, is this the same style of organization you expect at your company? It’s possible that new grads are so detail focused and task oriented, they’re unable to see the big picture or how they contribute to your company’s mission.

5. Influencing

Great employees can’t accomplish great things alone. They have to be able to mobilize others. So, in addition to expressing their ideas, your ideal candidate is someone who inspires action. Look for new grads who are assertive, sociable, and comfortable following up with others. Too much ‘go with the flow’ could cap a new hire’s potential.

6. Resilience

Some new grads are naturally equipped to respond to challenges with composure, optimism, and hardiness. Others are not. Starting a career is a test of reliance, and you want to hire people who can move through setbacks. Resilient employees will also model healthy stress management strategies for others in your organization.

7. Delivering Results

Delivering results is the hallmark of a good contributor. This is someone who has high work intensity and high follow through, someone who understands objectives and will execute projects in an orderly fashion, and someone who has both practical and innovative sides to their rationale.

If these are competencies you want to hire for in your organization, talent assessments and video interviews are two great ways to learn about your candidates. Then, when you’re ready to bring finalists in, here tips for great culture fit interviews.

Remember, fresh-out-of-school grads may be going through a formal hiring process for the first time, and they don’t know what to expect. It’s your job to help them get to know your people, your culture, and the expectations of the job.

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