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What do employers expect from college graduates?


You are applying for an entry-level job position that requires two years of experience. The expectations may seem unrealistic. However, employers have well thought of it. They look for graduates who have has the right skills and experience in the form of internships, part-time jobs and summer gigs. It shows their commitment and dedication towards work.

A new overview uncovered that just around half of directors felt college students were ready for regular work. On the other hand, 87% of school graduates felt they were prepared to enter the labour force. These radically various numbers show that there is a bay between the assumptions for bosses and college students. This inconsistency presents difficulties for ongoing graduates looking for occupations and for organizations that wish to employ youthful specialists.

“Employers are loath to hire candidates who haven’t already proven they can do the job, due to risk of a bad hire or higher churn,” said Ryan Craig, co-founder and managing director of University Ventures, an investment firm focused on the higher education sector.

They expect college students to have a fair knowledge of the working of a job. In addition to that, employers have other expectations that play a significant role in hiring. They include:

1 . Writing Skills

Even if you are not specialising in writing or fields that require you to write, you are expected to write well. Every job position requires an individual to draft emails, complaints, suggestions, basic information, etc.

When PayScale surveyed nearly 64,000 managers for its 2016 survey, 44% of them said recent college graduates lacked proficiency in writing.

Students must take up courses to improve their writing skills. The workplace requires one to have necessary writing skills even for meetings.

This skill becomes more important as a majority of recruiters are uncertain about the economy due to the pandemic. Several meetings take place over text.

2 . Adaptability

As per a report by The Hindustan Times, 45 per cent of respondents prioritise ‘adaptability’ as the most important skill universities should look at to inculcate in their students.

Owing to Covid19, the workplace has undergone rapid changes. Many changes are still taking place. Employees who are unable to adapt to changes are not fit for the work culture anymore.

The generation of current college students is known for being stubborn and not handling changes well. Thus, employers hesitate while hiring them.

Students must be allowed with the necessary training to prove themselves otherwise.

3 . Motivation

Motivation is referred to as a compensating quality against the lack of experience of college students.

Employers expect the students to stay motivated throughout the day and reflect it in their productivity.

Qualities such as ambition, dedication and a drive to learn and acquire new skills play a significant role in deciding if the employer would hire the student.

4 . High Grades

Some students assume that they do not have to score high in college anymore. It is wrong to do so. Higher grades directly indicate that the student has studied the concepts thoroughly and has a brief idea of them.

Graduates should know that hiring managers are looking at their GPAs. Furthermore, many managers are using verification background checks to verify college degrees, attendance dates, and GPAs.

5 . Problem-solving abilities

Problem-solving abilities and critical thinking are two of the most important skills that any prospective employee must possess.

Hiring managers look for employees who have these skills. They determine this by asking questions like “Tell me about a major challenge that you suffered and how you overcame it”

Every individual would have a different answer to a question like this. Thus, the answer must be creative and accurate.

New college grads must be ready to have answers to all the questions like these.

6 . Teamwork and Collaboration

Growing up, students would usually refuse to work with people they didn’t like. The teacher would warn them by saying that this behaviour would not be acceptable when they start working.

The teacher was right. Companies look for employees who are excellent with teamwork. They perform well under it and contribute equally.

Collaborations usually take place in any organization to reduce the heavy load of work and share each other’s ideas professionally.

Therefore, college students must show their willingness towards teamwork.

Apart from these skills, employers also expect college students to have a knack for other soft skills like time management, positive attitude, initiative, communication, etc.

Room for Improvement

College students can do so much to stand up to the expectations of their future employers.

According to a scholar, Potential is the ability to be successful in a role that goes beyond a person’s current responsibilities. Potential is about what’s ahead and how the person will perform in the future.

Students still have the chance to showcase their potential in the best possible manner.

The institution itself can play an important role. Every college has a training and placement cell. The TPO can ensure proper training with the right skills for the students.

A well-working through which this can be done is :

Tie-ups with Corporate Training providers

Corporate training providers have programmes that are designed to help college students become job-ready.

While colleges may be making their efforts to upskill their students, the industry has perceived huge skill gaps among individuals which can be effectively tackled by organizations like these.

They offer programmes that help a student gain a robust understanding of workplace skills, technological orientations, self-development, and higher cognitive skills that will help them match with their employer’s expectations.


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