6 Things to look for when hiring graduates - other than education

“All graduate CVs look alike”, “Hiring graduates is like taking a shot in the dark” - this is some of the feedback associated with graduate recruiting. With an oversupply of graduates looking for work it is difficult to discern which is the right graduate to hire based on education alone.

Here are a couple of other things to look at when deciding which candidate is best suited for your business:


Additional short courses 

Willingness to do extra skills development in a relevant area shows commitment and a genuine interest in the subject matter. This attitude will serve you as the employer well, in that you can rest assured the candidate has a true commitment to building a successful career in a particular subject field.


Computer / software skills

It cannot be assumed that a graduate has any business computer skills like Microsoft Office or Excel. Many students still rely mainly on pen and paper and lack general computer skills. Ask the graduate to indicate which computer software programs they are familiar with. It is advisable to ask a graduate to do a test as part of the interview process.


Transferable skills

In this digital age new jobs and skills have become more prevalent, such as learning designers, content creators, SEO specialists, UX and UI specialists and data information officers. Not all of these new jobs require formal higher education training.  As a recruitment agent specialising in graduates it is our job to assist employers to find graduates with transferable skills to fill these roles. For example, you could hire a qualified teacher who has some HTML experience to fill a learning designer role, or a social worker might fill a customer service job which requires a high level of empathy. 


Workplace readiness training

Many university careers departments offer workplace readiness training to their graduates and apart from this, there are a number of institutes in South Africa that offer this training for a fee. Training usually includes communication skills, customer service, social awareness and basic computer modules.


Soft skills

Many underprivileged students have soft skills like resilience and grit, having to master their studies while facing enormous challenges at home or financially. These soft skills are worth considering when interviewing a graduate with a less-than-perfect transcript, as often these candidates make for more committed employees. Read: Soft skills make graduates more employable. 


Part-time, volunteer and work experience 

An important differentiator is when the candidate started gaining work readiness skills and in what role or industry. For example, a veterinary graduate might start working as a volunteer at an animal shelter during his/her studies demonstrating a passion for the vocation.  A graduate might have started a small business to generate income while studying, demonstrating entrepreneurial thinking. 


Hiring the right graduate for your business does not have to be a gamble. There are many factors that help in the decision making process, and by taking these into consideration, you can make a better calculated decision and recruit the best graduate to add value to your business. 

At RecruitAGraduate we make hiring graduates easy. We assess graduates based on their CV’s, including the factors described above. We interview the applicants to ensure that their communication skills are of the highest calibre. In addition we offer various checks, on-line skills and psychometric testing if required. Load a job today.

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