How to tell if your graduates are ready for the world of work

  January 23, 2017

One of the most frustrating things for employers when it comes to hiring graduates is that when they begin their careers very few grads are actually deemed ready for this step. Having spent their entire lives in the academic environment, being directed by others, graduates rarely come into the world of of work ready to deal with the realities of what this entails.

As a result employers are left thinking that their graduate population are a wasted investment, or that they are lazy and unfocussed, when in reality they just haven't been prepared appropriately for this transition.

The remedy for this challenge involves changes that span as far back as secondary school where more emphasis needs to be placed on developing the skills needed to succeed in the workplace. But this isn't a quick fix by any means, so in lieu of a dramatic change in the educational system, what can businesses do to ensure that when they do hire graduates, they get the most from these young recruits?

What's the solution?

The key is to try and find those graduates who are ready for work, and they do exist; they're just harder to identify because unlike more seasoned employees they won't necessarily have the experience or industry knowledge to showcase their readiness.

While typical questions for an experienced employee might focus on past experience, and specific examples of work, the focus when hiring graduates should be on their potential. The key to understanding a graduate's readiness for work is assessing the core skills needed to excel in any job – things such as team-working, communication skills, decision making and the ability to follow others while also sticking to their own convictions. For young millennials who have very little real work experience to recommend them, their attitude and values, and making sure these match up with the company they work with will be essential in achieving success for both the individual and the organisation.

The truth is that loyal, hard-working and engaged employees aren't recruited, they are developed. So once you've identified those graduates who demonstrate potential and are ready for the world of work, the next task is to provide an environment that helps them achieve that potential, by providing on-going support, guidance and opportunities.