What to Expect from Your Newly Hired College Graduate

By Lorena Roberts on December 25, 2018

Whether you decided to hire the intern who blew your socks off as a full-time employee or you recruited a new graduate from a nearby university, being the first to employ a recent college graduate is a bit different from hiring a seasoned adult. There are many changes that college graduates have to get used to following graduation: a new schedule, less flexible expectations, an actual paycheck, and working among adults that are older and have more experience are just a few of the adjustments that recent graduates have to make.

It’s not a given that your freshly graduated new hire is going to be a pain in the rear. This list isn’t to say that they’re going to be tough to handle, fail to meet your expectations, or poorly communicate/collaborate with others. It’s only to say that “after college” is a time of transition, and that transition might include coming to work for you.

via Pexels.com

Think back to your college days — what was your schedule like? Did you purposefully sign up for courses that met in the late mornings/early afternoons because you didn’t want to have to get up early? Did you make sure you didn’t have an early class on Mondays or Fridays? Did you specifically level out your classes to make sure you weren’t in multiple “hard” classes one semester and “easy” classes the next? Did you even stay an extra semester so you could do summer school and get your parents to continue supporting you, claiming you weren’t able to pay for your own rent and gas? Being in college definitely has it’s perks, eh?

Being a college student, in a way, puts you in complete control of your schedule. And even then, if you don’t feel like showing up for your 10 a.m. Tuesday morning English class, no one’s going to come to your dorm room and scold you if you don’t go. You are completely in control of your own destiny while you’re in college. And while it’s not recommended that you skip all of your classes after spring break, there are many safety nets like advisors and professors that will do what they can to ensure you’re successful.

But once a college graduate gets an “adult” job, there aren’t as many safety nets, so they have to learn how to adjust to being responsible for themselves. For some college graduates, this isn’t a terribly hard adjustment. But for others, making it to an office job by 8 a.m. on a Monday morning might be the toughest thing they do all week. They might not succeed in collaborating with others, and you might have expectations that they don’t meet right off the bat.

Instead of being blindsided by the situations that can arise after hiring a new college graduate, here are some things you can expect to see or experience before they actually happen:

Infographic by Lorena Roberts

1. You may need some tardy slips.

Getting to work on-time might be simple for some recent college grads… but for others, it can be extremely tough to show up on time. Hiring a recent college graduate doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be late for their first day of work, but there might be a few more slip-ups every now and then that you might experience with them in comparison to the actual adults who already work for you. Sure, everybody runs late every now and then. Even grown adults will have days where their kids oversleep or they wake up a flat tire. But with recent college graduates, you might notice a difference in how they handle being late as well.

In college, you don’t have to email your professor to let them know you aren’t coming to class — you just simply don’t show up. But once you get a job, it’s expected that you communicate with your superior if you’re going to be late or you won’t be at work. A “no call, no show” is completely unacceptable in the real world.

This isn’t to say that the college graduate you’ve just hired is going to be late without calling ahead. It’s only to mention that there’s a possibility they won’t handle their tardiness the way you’d expect, so you might have to overly explain your expectations at first.

2. You might have to give extra explanations.

Speaking of over-explaining, a new employee who is fresh out of college doesn’t have the experience that your other employees do have, so when you give them assignments, they might not exactly be clear on your expectations.

You can anticipate that they’ll handle it one of two ways: 1) either ask a ton of questions or 2) do what they think you want and hope for the best. A recent college graduate who enters the workforce just might need a little extra hand-holding in the beginning until they get off the ground – until they get some confidence.

You can cut out some back-and-forth by ensuring your expectations are laid out from the beginning. If you assign your new hire a project, make sure the due date is stated obviously. If you’re expecting your new hire to collaborate with other employees, make sure they know exactly who you expect them to collaborate with.

When it comes to assigning projects to new hires who are recent college graduates, you have to make sure you’ve stated everything explicitly. Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of your time going over the work they’ve completed and asking for more. Not only is this a waste of your time, it’s a waste of theirs as well.

3. Offer multiple opportunities for them to receive training.

Because they’re straight out of school, there will be things about a workplace that they don’t know — especially the things that are specific to your company. If you’re going to hire a recent college graduate with little to no experience, be ready to provide them with training opportunities.

You’re investing in someone — someone you want to improve the overall quality of your team. So don’t be afraid to go out of your way to give them experiences. You’ll appreciate what you’ve done for yourself and your team later on down the road.

If you don’t feel that you have the resources to invest in training for your new hire, there are other ways you can ensure a recent college graduate gets the knowledge they need. You could offer a mentor (more on this later) or invest in an online training program that will cover the basics. You, the employer/manager/superior should not be wasting time training your new hire. Look for multiple opportunities that will allow them to gain the knowledge they need to be successful in their new workplace.

4. Expect a higher level of enthusiasm.

Hiring someone straight out of college means you probably have someone on your hands who is ecstatic that they have a job — especially if you’re paying them well and it’s full-time. Finding a job after college can be challenging for some students, so if they’ve landed a job with your company, they’re likely going to be extremely excited.

Get ready to have a youngster who has a lot of enthusiasm for your company and their job. Give them ample opportunities to shine and show how happy they are to be in their current position. You’ll be able to spark some enthusiasm in your other employees as well. Hiring a new employee might be just the right energy your team has been waiting for. It’s exciting to get a new member of the team!

With more excitement and enthusiasm may come a faster work pace, and a demand for more assignments. Get ready to have a new hire who is much more productive than your other employees because they aren’t burned out. Take advantage of the work they’re willing to put in during the first few months. Give them assignments when they ask, detail your expectations for each of the projects, and praise them when they turn in work that they’re proud of .. that your company can also be proud of.

via pexels.com

5. You’ll have to put effort into ensuring your new hire feels welcome.

Whether it’s a “get to know you” happy hour, or a company luncheon, give your employees opportunities to get to know each other. Working full-time straight out of college sounds awesome in theory, but it can be an incredibly lonely place. Being without your friends, sometimes relocating away from your family, unmarried, with no kids… it can all lead to dedicating all your free-time to your job, which is a very lonely place after 5 p.m. If you host opportunities for them to truly become part of the team, the transition into a full-time job will be much easier. And you’ll appreciate how much more comfortable your team will feel after bringing in someone straight out of school.

Consider assigning your new hire to a “mentor” on the team or in the department. This can be the person assigned to show them how things are run, what the protocols are, or how to handle various situations. This will cut out many of the resources you might dump into an online training about the workplace. As long as you have an employee willing to have a “shadow” for a few days, this is the perfect way to incorporate camaraderie on your team.

You can think of hiring a new college graduate as investing in an employee who will improve your company and your team. Right off the bat, a recent college graduate isn’t going to be the best employee, more than likely. They’re going to ask thousands of questions, mess up multiple times, and probably fail to meet your expectations more than once. But there’s nothing like hiring someone straight out of college, who has fresh, new ideas, innovative ways of doing things, and a unique perspective on the world.

College graduates (and their parents) are easily stressed about how they’re going to find a job. With the amount of loans accumulated by college students across the country continues to grow, the hunt for a good job holds a lot of pressure for graduating students. Parents of college students are crossing their fingers because they don’t want to have to keep paying rent and gas for their son or daughter. There’s pressure all the way around to find a good job, so once they’ve landed one, they’ll likely to be ready to get right to work.

However, it may come with a few hiccups. They may handle things differently than your other, seasoned, adult employees. You should be ready for these hiccups. Instead of holding them against your new hire, embrace the positive things that come out of hiring someone who’s fresh out of college. Remember that you’ll be their main source of support — so encourage attending training, mentorships, and foster a positive environment that rewards employees for their good work. Being the first employer to hire a recent college grad comes with so many opportunities to establish a successful workplace, but it also comes with some curveballs that you, as the employer, need to be ready for.

By Lorena Roberts

Uloop Writer
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Lorena graduated from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville last December with a BA in Honors Psychology. After some serious soul-searching, she's decided to pursue a Master's in teaching in order to teach middle school math! In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her Whippet mix, Gio, at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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