After a precipitous dip in 2020, new college graduate hiring jumped up 7.2% in 2021, indicating an improved job outlook and ongoing recovery from the global health crisis. Approaching the 2022 graduate hiring season, there’s reason to believe recruiting will follow this course as new trends start to
emerge – including these ten:
1. Transparent hiring processes – Following the horror stories of their predecessors, the next wave of candidates is coming into the job market expecting better. They want the chance to see and be seen. They want to know that their story gets heard. From the initial point of contact on, new
grads want frequent communication and updates from recruiters – for better or worse.
2. A more personalized experience – Likewise, this class will demand to be treated as individuals. They don’t want to be lumped together and lost somewhere inside an ATS. They want to engage with people, process, and products that recognize and respond as human beings (even if it’s actually a chatbot doing the talking). So, ditch the form letter emails and auto-rejections.
3. Behaviors go a long way – The days of hardline requirements are gone because there is no *perfect* candidate. Graduates don’t want to fit neatly into a box, and even those who do, aren’t necessarily the right person for the job. Employers have to rethink recruiting to account for behaviors as well as qualifications, which means soft skills and personality traits – not just
one to three years of relevant experience.
4. Location, location, location – Graduates will require a firm answer on an employer’s location policy, and many are looking for the ability to work from anywhere. Not just at home or near a home office, but anywhere. They want the option to travel and see the world without having to use their vacation days.
5. Non-competitive offers need not apply – This is a candidate’s market, even at the graduate level. These job seekers will be looking for companies able to offer packages that go well beyond a base salary and basic healthcare. Other benefits to consider are earned wage access; expanded time off for volunteerism, bereavement, parental leave; commuting or home office
reimbursement; and tuition debt assistance.
6. Get with the (titles) – The impact of the global health crisis continues to influence the workforce. As a result, there’s been a shift in job titles from 2020 to 2021 – one likely to remain in flux. The difference so far? In 2020, LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report underscored data science, behavioral health, and engineering. In 2021, their research focused on roles related to the broader medical field, digital transformation, and remote work. Keep a close watch on where the needs lie.
7. Online…everything – From interviews and onboarding to training and development, recent grads assume everything can be done online. And why wouldn’t they? Whether on-site, hybrid, or fully remote, the entire recruiting lifecycle into the employee journey should be able to happen online. That doesn’t mean it has to happen online, but there should be an option. Flexibility is so hot right now.
8. Employers of choice will be value-driven – While there will always be an allure to big brands, graduates and early career entrants will be looking to support employers who are willing to define their values publicly. They want to align with companies willing to take a stance on social and political issues. It’s important to these job seekers that they know what causes and missions
their employer will back.
9. Continued significance of D&I – The road to building diverse and inclusive organizations is long, and it starts with talent acquisition. Those entering the workforce have witnessed the call for D&I first-hand and want to join organizations that both talk the talk and walk the walk. Employers need to clearly state how they promote D&I across the organization – and what this commitment looks like in action.
10. Increased emphasis on equity and belonging – Putting up a rainbow logo in June doesn’t promise a sense of belonging once an offer letter gets accepted, nor does it guarantee equal treatment or equal pay. Early career entrants want to see the D&I and the E&B. That might mean building a more accessible careers site, creating better office accommodations for neurodiverse workers, or publishing regular pay audits. Efforts should be more than visible. They should be meaningful, too.
Attracting those just entering the workforce takes more than attending a career fair. These grads have wants, needs, and expectations. Savvy employers will seek to understand these candidates early, engage often, and work together to drive successful outcomes for all.