3 Reasons College Graduates Will Be Your Next CEOs

When placing candidates in executive level positions, I tend towards veterans or ‘seasoned’ players. As college graduations occur daily this season, I thought I’d take a moment and make a case—or at the least—give HR managers some thoughts about taking a chance on those fresh out of school.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of college graduates? Overly ambitious, right? Capitalize on that! While many executive search firms and recruiters place expertise ahead of attitude, you could be costing your business human capital (not to mention overlooking star talent). As the job market still teeters, college graduates will be the first to dive head-in.

I previously outlined some hiring techniques to give employers advice when something feels ‘off’ in the workplace. One of the most important aspects I zeroed in on was corporate fit. Sometimes potential candidates can be inculcated with a particular company’s values or governing structure. Quite simply, they find it hard to adapt. If there’s one particular value that college grads have been taught, it is adaptability. It seems like such a simple concept, but you’d be surprised if you’ve worked with someone incapable of seeing things in a different light.

I’m going to frame three ideas in the context of hiring college grads because there are excellent points to be made:

  • Are you willing to be a mentor to college grads? In plain terms, they may not have the seasoned skills of a 30-year veteran, but they have raw talent that you can cultivate. Michelangelo started out with soft clay when creating ‘David,’ right? Check out that masterpiece! (Of course he was a master himself.)
  • Are you as a company or manager willing to let them explore new technologies and avenues? With the pace of workplace technology rising at an exponential rate, it can feel overwhelming when driving revenue with new equipment and software. Don’t let it. College grads have been working with tablets, smartphones and software that boggle even the most experienced of CEOs. Give them the chance to work smartly, and you won’t have to work as hardly.
  • Are you giving the newest crop of workers your expectations? If you find a candidate has the right attitude, talent and motivation, let them know where you’d like to see them succeed. Having a plan for building their skill sets and seeing them shine will give them incentive to navigate new pathways. Even if the monetary compensation isn’t what they dreamed it would be right out of college, building their self-esteem by guiding them in the right direction is invaluable.

So, what should you take away from this? Broaden your horizons to include those new to the workforce (or fresh from college). They are adaptable and motivated to see your company succeed, especially in these economic times. They will have knowledge of technology and see avenues you might not have noticed without a fresh pair of eyes. And let’s face it: Times are changing. Change with them.

To read more, check out the original version of this article that appeared on, “Does Your Company Stifle or Nurture Ambition?’


Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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