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 California State University, Fullerton



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Recruiters' Perspective

Why do employers hire college graduates?

In a 2007 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), recruiters identified the benefits of hiring college graduates. Ninety percent of respondents, believed that new college graduates are enthusiastic and motivated, and more than three-quarters of respondents also said that the ability to mold future leaders and the fresh ideas new grads offer are key to what makes new college hires attractive.

Recruiters Say the Benefits of Hiring New College Graduates Include:

  • Enthusiasm and motivation
  • The opportunity to mold future leaders of our organization
  • Fresh new ideas
  • Cutting-edge skills

Recruiters Want the Total Package

What do employers want when they set out to fill a job vacancy?

They want a well-rounded person with a college degree, but that alone is not enough. Employers want much more. Whether they are hiring for a part-time, full-time job, or an internship, employers want the "total package."

They are looking for a candidate who not only possess the requisite skills and experience to be qualified for the position, but one who also possesses the job-ready traits to be successful in the position. Job-ready is used to describe a candidate who possesses immediate applicable and transferable skills.

Employers Want These Skills "Job-Ready" Skills:

  • Communication skills (verbal and written)
  • Honesty/integrity
  • Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
  • Motivation/initiative
  • Strong work ethic
  • Teamwork skills (works well with others)
  • Computer skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Detail-oriented
  • Organizational skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Self-confidence
  • Friendly/outgoing personality
  • Well-mannered/polite
  • Creativity

What Counts Most?

Employers rate the top distinguishing attributes in equal candidates:

  1. Has held an Internship
  2. Has been involved in extracurricular activities (clubs, student government, sports, etc.)
  3. High GPA (3.0 or above)
  4. Major
  5. Has volunteer experience

What Candidates Lack

Employers note that communication skills, which is seen among the most prized attributes, are what new college graduates lack the most. Many employers specifically cited writing skills as being weak (some even pointed to poor composition of e-mails). Others noted a lack of verbal, listening, and presentation skills among new college graduate candidates — translating into poor interview performance.

The second largest group of employers pointed to a lack of skills related to how new hires conduct themselves in the workplace. They reported that new college graduates come up short in terms of their professionalism and business acumen; they said that new graduates are unable to work on their own, lack leadership and problem-solving skills, and are unwilling to pay their dues.