Following the ceremonial toss of mortarboards, many new college grads will be heading off to put their education to good use in small businesses. CareerBuilder research reports that 55 percent of small business owners plan to hire recent college graduates in 2016, with 47 percent of small business employers making job offers to students before they even graduate.
Further good news for those who will soon need to pay back their student loans: 31 percent of employers who plan to hire recent college grads will offer higher starting salaries than they did last year, and one in five will offer $50,000 or more.
Job applicants who feel their salary offers are too low may want to speak up, as 68 percent of small business employers said they are willing to negotiate salary when extending a job offer to a recent college graduate.
For the small business owners who do not plan to take on newly minted diploma holders this year, the reason generally has more to do with the direction of the business itself rather than the merit of the graduates. Of those who don’t plan to hire recent college grads, 64 percent say it’s because their organization isn’t expanding headcount, whereas only 25 percent say they need more experienced workers.
Still, employers realize that a degree does not always mean someone is fully prepared for challenges on the job. When asked to name which skills they think recent college graduates lack for the workplace, these items topped the list:
- Interpersonal or people skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Written communication
- Oral communication
- Creative thinking
While many of these deficiencies will improve over time, small business owners can take immediate steps to aid in onboarding recent college graduates. Consider the following strategies:
- Provide a handbook. Clear, written guidelines serve as an easy reference regarding dress code, absences, acceptable technology usage, behavioral expectations, and other essential matters.
- Assign a mentor. This action gives newcomers role models they can emulate as well as people to whom they can turn with questions.
- Offer input. Millennials tend to thrive on immediate feedback. Praising a well-written report encourages repeat behavior, and privately discussing shortcomings helps ensure quick resolutions.
- Promote life-long learning. Your new hires need to realize quickly that the end of college did not mean the end of pursuing knowledge. Address educational gaps through appropriate supplementary training, and encourage them to be thoughtful workers who add to their value through the questions they ask and the new challenges they whole-heartedly pursue.
Want more advice and resources for building your small business? Learn about the essential elements of a standout recruitment strategy.