A Graduate’s Biggest Challenge

And how you, the hiring manager, can help

It’s that time of year again – a new batch of college graduates, their hopes high, spills out from the nation’s campuses. They are eager to join the workforce, but as they start interviewing for a position, many of them encounter a seemingly insurmountable obstacle – a catch-22, if you will. The problem is, most employers want someone with experience. They would rather not be stuck with a newbie, full of book knowledge, who needs to be re-educated in the ways of the real world and may possibly need his/her nose wiped, too. Understandable, I’d say.

For a graduate, though, getting hired is the only way to get that precious experience. Yet they can’t be hired for the lack of thereof.

The best way for college graduates to completely bypass this catch-22 is to get the necessary experience while in college – part-time jobs, internships, even volunteer work will help them improve their resumes. Those wise youngsters are, without doubt, the best candidates for any company. But as for the rest – whatever talent may be in that new graduates pool (and there’s plenty), its entry into the country’s economy gets delayed. And by not offering the inexperienced candidates a chance companies may be throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water.

Taking a chance on someone with no experience is a long-term endeavor but it can be rewarding for a company (if a true talent is discovered), and doesn’t have to be financially taxing. Internship programs can help cover some hiring needs and give job seekers an opportunity to get experience and at the same time prove their worth to the potential employer. Everybody wins.

For a perspective on new graduates’ situation, read this Forbes.com article by Jacquelyn Smith that covers job-seeking recommendations from several experts, including yours truly.