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Recruitment and retention of fresh college graduates


Human resource according to Breaugh (2009) is the most important resource for the success of a firm. While the older and experienced human resource is important for a firm, continuous replenishing of staff members through fresh graduates in critical for the continuous success and progression of a firm. However, and as argued by Turban, Campion & Eyring (1995), fresh graduates are inexperienced in the corporate world and therefore, they have the potential to costs a firm both economically and socially regarding brand image. As a result, human resource managers have a role to absorb and train new and fresh-graduates staff members. This process, coupled with the expectations of fresh graduates can causes new employees to quit especially when these expectations are not meet. This paper therefore seeks to discuss various strategies that can be use by human resource managers to recruit and retain fresh graduates with the objective of recruiting the best match for the vacancy and helping to grow talent through the employment period.

As college graduates graduate, they are soon confronted by the requirement to have a sufficient income and thus, they have to cut short their graduation celebrations. Employment is the most suitable option therefore; they have to look for jobs, not just part-time jobs as in earlier years in high school, but full time jobs (Turban et al., 1995; Yakubovich & Lup, 2006). The search for a job is driven and capitalized on their educational qualifications and thus, specific to a given field. Given the high number of graduates at any graduation season, employers need to ‘filter’ through the numbers so as to find talented persons who have the right skills to fit the open positions. To do this, employers need to know how to attract talent and recruit and below are some of these strategies.

Don’t offer unpaid internship positions

The urge for a company to tap into the human available human resource through unpaid internships is very high especially with the high supply of labor after graduations. However, very few individuals are looking for an internship opportunity. Many interns while in college and after graduation, they are ready to take up full-time employment. In addition, the majority of fresh graduates are unwilling to take up a position when there is no guarantee that the same will lead to a paying opportunity in the short-term (Breaugh, 2009). According to Kiger (2007), the inclusion of the word ‘internship’ in a job description is likely to cause potential applicants to skip the ad and look for openings in other companies. In addition, the fact that many fresh graduates are looking to start independent living and pay their education loans is a major drive to not consider non-paying jobs.

In case internship is the only employment opportunity the company can offer, then it is advisable that the company should offer compensations (Turban et al., 1995). One option is to pay a minimum wage for the internship as there is the possibility of fresh graduates accepting the offer as they can list internships on their resume.

A clear and succinct job description

A well written job description is one of the most effective and beneficial tools in recruitment. A well written job description tells prospective employees what exactly is required of them and can they can expect in return on a day to day basis (Kiger, 2007). One of the recommendations from Rynes, Bretz & Gerhart (1991) is to avoid buzzwords and industry slang when targeting fresh graduates because, even through such terms might make sense to the experienced individual, to fresh graduates might be utterly useless. Straightforward language that is understood by everyone should be used instead.

In addition, a job description should include the specific details, and to do this, it is important to be up-to-date with current academic courses and offers in a given field. Fresh graduates are looking for careers that a fit for their academic qualifies therefore, targeting specific academic qualifications succinctly are sure to attract the right match for an opening. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (2008), potential applicants for a job opening will first consider the relevance of the opening to their academic credentials and the majority will only proceed to apply if they consider it relevant with high chances of getting the position.

Contact referees and professors

One of the primary requirements in hiring for an open position is experience, but for the fresh graduates, where they fall short in professional experience make up for in education. Thus, even though a job applicant might not have the required experience, they might have the skills required to be a great and resourceful employee (Yakubovich & Lup, 2006). To ascertain this, one of the options available is to contact the applicant’s referees or his/her professors, for example, for newspaper columnist position that requires excellent writing skills, the human resource manager can contact the applicant’s professors to establish his/her writing skills.

This strategy can be used by human resource managers to search for and attract the best talent available where the human resource department approaches and inquiries from professors or departments the best students in a graduation class for a given areas then recruiting them to join their company after graduation.

Offering advancement

Once a fresh graduate has secured an employment, the next desire is to develop their talent and careers. In addition, others might consider working in company A not resourceful and thus consider moving to a more resourceful or satisfying job. This is a threat to human resource development is a company as, the success of a company is more guaranteed when staff is made up of veterans and youthful talent. While the veterans adsorb new recruits, youthful talent is highly innovative and productive (Kiger, 2007). To ensure once recruitment is a success employees don’t quit, retention strategies are crucial and advancements is one of the best options (Breaugh, 2009; Kiger, 2007).

Advancement programs whether internal or external allow for employees to develop professionally and thus, they are able to remain in the company. Through advancement programs, fresh graduates know that they have an opportunity to improve their stills and thus land new and better position when they open thus; they remain in the company for longer. However, this has to be coupled with clear promotion paths and a basic outline of when an individual needs so as to move from one position to another through the corporate ladder.


Breaugh, James A. (2009). Recruiting and Attracting Talent: A Guide to Understanding and Managing the Recruitment Process, SHRM Foundation.

Kiger, P. J. (2007). Burnishing your employment brand. Workforce Management, 86(18): 39-45.

Rynes, S. L., Bretz, R. D., & Gerhart, B. (1991). The importance of recruitment in job choice: A different way of looking. Personnel Psychology, 44(3): 487-521.

Society for Human Resource Management. (2008). The employer brand: A strategic tool to attract, recruit and retain talent. SHRM Staffing Research.

Turban, D. B., Campion, J. E., & Eyring, A. R. (1995). Factors related to job acceptance decisions of college recruits. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 47, 193-213.

Yakubovich, V., & Lup, D. (2006). Stages of the recruitment process and the referrer’s performance effect. Organizational Science, 17(6): 710-723.

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