It might not be the most intuitive decision to hire fresh graduates, but employers should know it can reap surprising long-term benefits. Award-winning advertising veteran Rudi Leung weighs in on why.
With purse strings tightening and business priorities changing the world over, many companies have made the decision to postpone hiring decisions during this time of uncertainty. For fresh grads with no real job experience to speak of, this is devastating news, to say the least.
The number of job vacancies for university graduates has more than halved, with recruitment website JobsDB reporting a 55% decrease in graduate job vacancies between January and April compared to the year prior, according to the South China Morning Post.
As competition heats up for entry-level jobs worldwide, many recruiters are decidedly bypassing the applications of fresh grads in favour of hiring more experienced – and therefore more “reliable” – candidates.
One entrepreneur going against the status quo, however, is Rudi Leung. An award-winning creative with over 28 years of experience in the advertising space, Rudi is a staunch believer in hiring fresh graduates. In fact, his boutique creative agency, Hungry Digital, has made it a point to hire at least one fresh grad every year as a means of ensuring that they’re always bringing in new blood and fresh perspectives.
Here, Rudi shares his top reasons as to why companies should be looking to hire fresh graduates.
1. Fresh Graduates Make for Valuable Investments
Hiring fresh graduates has often been deemed a risky move on account of their perceived unpredictability. Drawing from his own experience, Rudi explains, “A fresh graduate I hired less than a year ago has just told me that she wants to go back to school this year. When you hire someone that has already worked for a little while, the likelihood of them wanting to go back to school is definitely lower. From an HR perspective, candidates with experience in the corporate world are much more predictable, and probably easier to manage.”
Another potential drawback from hiring fresh graduates is that, after you’re done investing your time and resources into training them up, a big company may very well swoop in and make an attempt to poach your newly honed top talent. It’s for these reasons, in particular, that many HR representatives prefer not to take a gamble on hiring inexperienced fresh grads.
Despite this, Rudi has made it company policy to hire at least one fresh graduate at his agency every year. From his experience, the process of training fresh graduates can be incredibly rewarding, as you have the potential to nurture and develop new talent that may very well become your next star employee. What’s more is that even if they do eventually transition to a bigger company, their performance in their new role can act as free advertising for your company, helping your firm’s reputation to grow.
2. They’re More Tech-Savvy
It’s no secret that technology plays an extremely important role in the workplace. It makes your business more innovative, more efficient, and more competitive. And, what better way to integrate technology into the workplace than by hiring fresh graduates, or, in other words, the digital natives themselves?
“While a lot of teachers might be experienced in teaching, they may not necessarily be computer literate. Some even struggle to handle a Zoom call,” Rudi laughs. In comparison, the new generation of graduates is far more at home with the newest features and functionalities. After all, they’ve grown up in the digital age and are therefore more likely to keep up with the latest technological trends than, perhaps, their more seasoned colleagues.
3. They’re Good at Self-learning
In an increasingly competitive world where more and more people are graduating from prestigious universities, young people often equip themselves with a vast range of technical skills, from Photoshop and video editing to social media and coding, as a way to stand out from the crowd.
“Most young people I work with are getting better at self-learning, and they’re for sure ten times better than my generation,” Rudi observes. The accessibility of information – thanks to the Internet – means that “the more you’re willing to learn, the more you can learn”. Given that young people tend to be more tech-savvy and are able to leverage resources available on the Internet, this makes them not only great learners but also excellent employees.
4. Fresh Graduates Bring in New Perspectives
If you want your company to keep up with current trends and stay innovative, the best way to ensure that is to introduce fresh minds to your team.
“The longer you work in the same industry, the more easily you become jaded and follow the status quo. After all, people don’t want to fail so they just tend to follow whatever has always worked for them,” Rudi explains. On the contrary, fresh graduates who are still new to the industry will question the way things work and bring in newer (and sometimes better) perspectives that experienced workers may not easily identify or be willing to test out.
To further illustrate his point, Rudi reveals that even during times when his company wasn’t actively looking for new joiners, he would still continue to interview fresh graduate applicants. “I see value in talking with them because I can see what the younger generation is thinking and learn from them,” Rudi explains.
5. They Keep Your Industry Alive and Flowing
In times of uncertainty, it is easy to get carried away by immediate financial concerns and forget about your business’s social responsibility. Here, Rudi takes the time to remind businesses not to forget about bringing in new blood to keep the industry running in the long-term.
“I believe that as an industry practitioner, we have the responsibility to keep the industry flowing – not just by making money but also taking care of the industry’s next generation,” he explains.
Often, it’s easy to assume that fresh graduates are less attractive employees due to their inexperience. However, that’s not necessarily true. In fact, fresh graduates bring new perspectives and diverse skills to the table that could potentially be invaluable for your business in the long-term – and it would be a shame for businesses to miss out on those innovative ideas.
If you liked this article, check out the second part of our two-part feature on 5 Job Search Tips for Fresh Graduates in 2020.