How to recruit a new college graduate

As Generation Z floods the workforce, companies need to put their best foot forward to attain top talent. Here's how.

How to recruit a new college graduate

Generation Z--individuals born between 1995 and 2010--are beginning to take over the workforce. The approximately 61 million Gen Zers in the US, now a larger population than Gen X and two-thirds the size of baby boomers, the new generation is also projected to outnumber millennials, according to a recent LinkedIn report.

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The people who make up Gen Z are either digital natives or spent the majority of their cognitive lives among technology. The majority (73%) rated their technology literacy as good or excellent, which can be extremely appealing for companies hoping to execute digital transformation initiatives.

As older generations reach retirement, attracting this new population--who has a more updated skillset and knowledge base--is vital for organizations. However, when recruiting young hires, companies shouldn't focus only on the technical skills, said Liesl Bernard, CEO of executive search and staffing firm CannabizTeam.

"[Companies] need to take their time, and make sure that they are going after people with the right skillsets," said Bernard. "But companies also need to recruit for culture fit, and find people that can grow the goals of the company."

Finding the right candidates can be difficult, but there are specific places organizations can look and strategies they can use to attract the right talent.

Where to look for college grad talent

Here are three places for recruiters and HR managers to begin their search for new college graduates to hire:

1. Online

"The first place to start is Indeed," said Brittany Hale, senior enterprise recruiter at recruiting agency Mondo. "Indeed is one of those job boards that young people flock to." For users, it's free to post their resumes, making the site especially appealing to recent graduates, she said.

For companies, Indeed and similar sites have different subscriptions based on the organization's hiring needs, Hale added. "Even if you're a small company or just need someone who's fresh out of college and wants one person on your team, you can contact a certain number of people for X amount of dollars, and it's nothing too astronomical," she said.

With 15% of job seekers landing jobs via social media, the internet is a no-brainer for recruiting. Whether using Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, or other online job posting sites, these resources are go-tos for new talent.

2. Career fairs

University career fairs are great opportunities to make in-person connections with young talent, said Bernard, and can be easily coordinated through the bursar's office at each college.

Just as the students do, companies can simply sign up to attend the career fair, Hale said. Making initial connections online is great, but the chance to talk and discuss job positions in person can give businesses insight into a candidate's personality.

"For companies to be competitive, they must articulate their culture and their opportunities for growth within the organization," said Bernard. Career fairs are a prime location for communicating such topics.

3. Boot camps

For companies seeking tech talent in particular, coding and other tech-related boot camps are invaluable resources, Hale said. If a candidate is coming straight out of a boot camp, then they may have that tech knowledge and expertise fresh in their mind, she added.

How to appeal to recent grads


With nearly half (46%) of Gen Z employees working as freelancers, flexibility is a clear priority for young professionals. "A lot of younger people are looking for flexibility and the ability to have a bit more autonomy," said Bernard.

"Even one day remote can make everyone's life so much easier," Hale added. Giving new hires the option to work remotely every once in a while can make huge difference, especially with commuters, she said.

Travel can also be appealing to young people, said Bernard. The flexibility and opportunity to travel around the country or internationally is especially attractive to Gen Z, and can really help companies stand out if a candidate has multiple offers, she added.


While the recruiting process is important and deserves time and thought, leaving candidates waiting for months on a decision helps only gives them more time to accept another offer. Hale said keeping interviews down to one or two rounds is ideal: "They're a recent grad. That should be really enough for you to decide if they're a good fit for your team."

For more tips on how to recruit the best hires for your company, check out this TechRepublic article.

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Image: iStockphoto/dusanpetkovic