The Early Bird Gets the… Best College Graduates? Korn Ferry Executive Survey Shows Best Time to Recruit Grads is the Autumn of the Candidate’s Senior Year
-- Nearly Half Believe Grads are Not as Motivated as Those Who
Graduated a Decade Ago –-
-- Drive and Passion Beat Grades as Top Reason to Hire --
-- One-Third of Respondents Say Their Companies Don’t Require Degrees for Professionals –-
Editor’s Note: Survey Results at Bottom of Release
In the survey of nearly 1,500 professionals and executives, 64 percent said the autumn of a college student’s senior year is the best time to recruit top candidates. Zero percent said that waiting until after graduation is the optimum time to seek out the best candidates.
“In our experience, students who know what they want to do and are
driven to pursue their career goals while still in school make the
strongest employees,” said
The survey showed that while the majority of respondents (61 percent) feel drive and passion are the top attributes they look for in college candidates (grades and university they attended came in last), only 42 percent say grads have the skills they need to succeed on their first job, and 42 percent also believe that compared to a decade ago, today’s college graduates are not as motivated to succeed on the job.
“Ten years ago, we were on the cusp of a major recession and graduate hiring was much slower, so it stands to reason that graduates back then had to fight much harder to succeed,” said Blumberg. “With today’s unemployment rate the lowest it’s been in years, it’s a candidate’s market, so employers need to work quickly and effectively to capture the best talent.”
The largest percentage of respondents (38 percent) say that social media (e.g. LinkedIn) is the best way to engage college candidates, followed by in-person networking at 28 percent. When asked why candidates would choose one job over another, the largest percentage (35 percent) said it’s because they like the people with whom they meet as part of the recruiting process.
“It’s critical that companies make the recruiting experience as positive as possible for candidates,” said Blumberg. “A big part of creating that inviting environment is training hiring managers and others in the organization on how to best communicate the organization’s employer brand and the positive culture of the company.”
College Degrees Not Always Required
The survey also reflected a growing trend when it comes to hiring professionals. One-third of respondents say that holding a college degree is not a firm pre-requisite when hiring professionals within their organization.
“Companies across a wide range of industries are now not requiring professionals to have college degrees,” said Blumberg. “While college helps teach skills and critical thinking for many people, several organizations realize that there are smart, driven, talented people who do not have degrees but who are valuable assets.”
About the survey
Korn Ferry Futurestep fielded the survey in May through July of 2017. It garnered 1,427 responses. Percentages are rounded to the nearest decimal. Totals may not equal 100 percent.
When is the best time to conduct college recruiting?
|After the students graduate||0 percent|
|The autumn of the students’ senior year||64 percent|
|A couple months before the students graduate||15 percent|
|The students’ junior year||21 percent|
Is a college degree a firm pre-requisite for hiring professionals in your organization?
To what extent do you agree with this statement: Recent college graduates have the needed skills to succeed as they enter their first professional job.
|Strongly agree||5 percent|
|Agree somewhat||37 percent|
|Neither agree nor disagree||19 percent|
|Disagree somewhat||28 percent|
|Strongly disagree||10 percent|
Compared to 10 years ago, how would you assess the motivation of today’s college graduate to succeed on the job?
|Much more motivated||18 percent|
|Somewhat more motivated||16 percent|
|About the same motivation level||24 percent|
|Somewhat less motivated||32 percent|
|Much less motivated||10 percent|
What top attribute do you look for when hiring a new college graduate?
|University they attended||1 percent|
|Previous experience||11 percent|
|Drive / passion||61 percent|
|Fit with our culture||22 percent|
Compared to one year ago, is your company planning on hiring:
|More new college grads||22 percent|
|Fewer new college grads||32 percent|
|The same amount of college grads||45 percent|
Does your organization have a college internship program?
If your organization has a college internship program, what is the primary reason?
|To help identify the best students to hire upon graduation||88 percent|
|To get work done inexpensively||6 percent|
|To help with one-off projects||6 percent|
Does your organization have a formal on-the-job training program for college graduates who are in their first professional job?
What are you doing to engage college candidates?
|On-campus information sessions||23 percent|
|In-person networking/social events||28 percent|
|Online social events (e.g. webinars)||2 percent|
|Social media (e.g. Linked-In, Twitter)||38 percent|
|Host conferences||4 percent|
What is the top reason graduates would choose one employer over another?
|Reputation of the company||25 percent|
The people with whom they meet as part of the recruiting process
|The work they’ll be doing||30 percent|
What would most incentivize you to make initial contact with acandidate when college recruiting?
|A referral from someone you know||22 percent|
|Their persistence/enthusiasm||17 percent|
|Video resume||1 percent|
|Online (e.g. LinkedIn) resume||4 percent|
|Social media activity||1 percent|
|Previous work experience at my organization||4 percent|
|Examples that highlight leadership, drive for excellence||51 percent|
More information on Futurestep can be found at www.kornferry.com/futurestep.