Hiring a “Green” Grad

A reader writes…

Dear, Anita,
Unlike so many employers that are looking for people with a certain level of experience, I took a gamble and recently hired someone straight out of college (knowing in my gut she would be a good fit). Aside from teaching her the basics about our company, can you suggest ways for me to help her feel comfortable and more acclimated in the business world?

Dear, “Mother Hen,”

I’m sure many of my readers wish more hiring managers would be like you and go with their “gut” in the hiring process. I always say you should follow your instincts, and I think it’s great that you’re giving this person the opportunity. Moreover, I think it’s wonderful that you are actively thinking of ways to help ease her into her work environment.

As a recent college grad, she will certainly be able to apply certain skills right away, such as following directions, learning new things, and staying on schedule. It’s the other “stuff” that will be new to her and that will benefit from your guidance. From meetings and conference calls, to dealing with different management styles and decision-makers, a lot of her learning will simply have to come from experience and a little trial and error.

Here are a few coaching tips that may come in handy:

  • Give her a tour of the office. Aside from pointing out the restroom, break room, and cafeteria, what I mean here is… introduce her to key departments or resources she can turn to for help. If her job requires that she interact with key contacts – then arrange time in her schedule (and in theirs) so they can meet and get to know one another.
  • Make it clear, from the very beginning, that no question is a “dumb question.” It is critical that she feel comfortable as she gets established.
  • Build time into her schedule for any available training. This is your chance to teach her things correctly out the gate while at the same time, give her the tools she needs to develop her own work style and approach.
  • Let her be your shadow for the first few days. Ask her to join you in meetings, listen to phone calls, and participate in group discussions. This involvement will help identify how to handle certain situations, and it will also reveal a lot about the company culture (appropriate phone etiquette, how meetings are run, the overall pace of the office, etc.).
  • Be clear about her job duties. While it’s great that you’re playing the part of “Mother Hen,” as her manager, you need to establish expectations right away, and make sure she understands her accountability.
  • Make her feel empowered. She may initially think of you as her security blanket, but by actively showing encouragement and praise for good work (all while layering on more for her to accomplish), she will gain confidence and feel more and more in control of her responsibilities.

Calling all New Hires! What are some other ways that managers helped guide you along at the beginning of your career?

Managers… Any other techniques you’d like to share?


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mcapriola
    May 09, 2011 @ 10:40:35

    Some outfits, especially since we’re in a buyer’s market since 2008, want only experienced help. They assume there’s a lot of people with experience who lost their jobs when the economy tanked. “Now hiring: Waitstaff, Bussers, Dishwashers; Must have 2 or more years experience.” Dishwashers! Sheesh. A ten-year-old can wash dishes. 😀



  2. ter
    Mar 12, 2011 @ 20:58:06

    This article is about dealing with someone inexperienced. What I have learned about experience is: it has little value today. I have 45 years of it, but it means nothing in today’s job market. When I first entered the job market 45 years ago the main phrase bellowed by those hiring was: X number of years experience is needed to be considered for this position. I had just graduated high school. That was the experience I had to offer. Needless to say, it took some time to find a job. Now, all these years later and I am in the market again with a wealth of experience to offer and no takers. So let’s not get so excited about………………experience. What most employers want today is someone young and cheap.



  3. Vao Totua
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 11:56:25

    I wish all the employers or hiring managers are that way, but not most of them don’t want to have train new employees and I believe we are judged prior to being even noticed.



  4. chris brown
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 10:23:11

    what i have in life and work experience,makes up for a new&young college grad.



  5. John Alo
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 09:55:55

    Excellent mentoring of new employee fresh out of college! Out with the “Old and In with the New” is the way to go in today’s jobs. Too many employees that have been with the company a long time but doesn’t produce or perform like the use to when they first started! They call it; “Neanderthal”! It’s good to hire fresh out of college graduates in the 2000 and above! Lot of technological advances in college and Professor’s gear you towards the new modern technological world we live in today! I am 2008 BSPA degree graduate from Indiana University Bloomington! Today’s College graduates are far more advance than graduates with 1987 Degrees right? As a Manager are you going to hire a 2008 graduate or a 1987 graduate in today’s competitive job markets? Exactly! You would hire me! The 2008 Graduate! Very good! However, I have both the experience and the new 2008 BSPA degree! I went to college later in my tenure and accomplished my educational goals and endeavors! Now I am going for my career goals to accomplish this goal in a economic recession is very difficult. Because we have more competition with other graduates and the job markets are flooded with fresh out of college graduates! Therefore, the competition is great right now! So the answer to your question is yes! Fresh out of college graduates are going to get the jobs more than older graduates back in the 1980’s. Inexperience graduate is always good too because they have a fresh perspective on life and in the working environment to apply their acquired education and knowledge! This is good for any employer! I feel that it is a good idea, however, most high-end jobs want both the degree and the experience! I mean, how are we suppose to get the experience if you don’t give us the job to acquire the experience? Hello! It’s a double-edge sword! So we can’t get the high-end jobs until we acquire the experience, and this example this lucky graduates is now getting the experience and in 5 years will be able to move-up the corporate ladder or apply for high-end career move! The competition is great out there! You have to be geared and very competitive for that job or you will not be considered in today’s job markets in the private, state, federal and local sectors.

    Thank You,
    John Alo
    BSPA Environmental Management
    Logistics Warehouse Operations



  6. lawrence tompkins
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 09:45:22

    if the person has true desire to work there with you do it. Its not every day you have a person that might like there job,work business.



  7. Patty Smith
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 08:30:28

    I truely wish that more managers felt this way. I am a graduate with a business degree but not much experience in the way of company management although I have ran my own contracting paint busines for 6 years and supervised. I think the advise is outstanding as well.



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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