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A Guide To Recruiting New Grads

Recent grads may not have a wealth of experience under their belt, but they are the future of the workforce. This group of emerging talent has a lot to offer your company. That is — if you can recruit and retain these new grads.

This article covers what factors new college graduates care about and how you can adjust your recruitment strategy to attract top-tier talent. 

What do new grads care about?

While new grads weigh several factors carefully in their job search, research shows that they care about these three factors:

  1. Employer Branding 
  2. Ease of Hiring 
  3. Career Development 

Employer branding for new grads

Younger candidates won’t be satisfied with only an impressive salary or cool perks. A study by Monster revealed that 3 in 10 college grads want to see a company’s commitment to diversity before applying. In addition, this same study showed that 91% of college grads are looking for companies that encourage conversations about mental wellness at work. 

To attract new grads to your company, showcase benefits such as mental health days, the option to work remotely, and that your organization values diversity. You might do this by highlighting their future colleagues and fostering relationships right from the start. 

Tips for improving employer branding

  • Make the candidate experience a learning experience: Let candidates see what it would be like to work at your company. Invite them to talk to potential future colleagues to get a better idea of what their role would involve. 
  • Create a careers page that converts: Your careers page should be simple to navigate and leverage social media for ease of sharing. Consider including written or video testimonials from current employees discussing the workplace culture. Additionally, showcase the diversity in your organization.

Ease of hiring for new grads

According to SHRM, 60% of applicants quit their job applications halfway through due to the length or difficulty of the application. New grads that do complete their applications can also disappear during the interview process. With 74% of recruiters saying they were ghosted by younger talent, you can do more to keep talent engaged all the way to the offer stage. 

Tips for improving the hiring process

  • Speed up applications: Streamline the application process for new applicants. It should take less than 2 minutes to apply to your job postings. 
  • Use social channels to distribute jobs: To find younger talent, you need to go to where they are. Leverage social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok to share links to job postings. Automate interview scheduling: Don’t rely on manual phone calls or emails from recruiters. Instantly scheduling interviews online reduces the chance of losing applicants to faster-moving companies. 

Career development

The US Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that more than 50% of new grads left their first job in under a year. Young people are still experimenting and trying to find the right fit; you have a better chance of retaining them if you make it clear that there are opportunities at your company beyond the role they initially take. 

Tips for improving retention of new grads

  • Communicate a clear path for career development: Younger hires can feel disengaged in their roles. From their first day, outline a clear path for career development, and help them meet these goals over time. 
  • Use new hire surveys: Surveys give new grads the opportunity to reflect on their role and provide feedback on their experience with your company. If they aren’t feeling engaged, let them know that it’s okay to feel unfulfilled in a position, but they could have a future at your company in another department. This way, you open up the world of internal recruitment and keep great talent in the organization. 
  • Promote internal mobility: Before turning to new hires to fill roles, allow existing employees – including newly hired graduates – to move between roles. It allows employees to advance their skills and give them opportunities to grow, and enhances your employer brand over time through positive reviews and word of mouth.


As you can see, attracting and keeping new grads in your organization takes effort. You need to showcase the benefits of working for your company and strengthen your employer brand to attract young talent. 

Make your application process simple and allow new grads to apply via social media platforms. To improve retention of new grads, create a clear path for career development that fosters conversation and openness. 

SmartRecruiters can help your organization hire new grads by: 

  • Using our talent acquisition platform to streamline your applicant tracking process and send out automated interview scheduling requests
  • Using our recruitment marketing platform to connect with talent wherever they are (social media, job boards, forums)
  • Digitizing job offers and creating a seamless journey from application to onboarding

Take the first step towards hiring success by requesting a demo of SmartRecruiters talent acquisition software. 

Jackson Hille

Senior Marketing Manager at SmartRecruiters