SmartRecruiters Blog

What NOT to Say to Recent Grads in a Job Interview

Graduation season is here! Bright eyed and fresh faced students leave the fuzzy comfort of academia for the harsh light of the real world. Soon, recent grads all around the world will be readying their resumes, shining their shoes and practicing their interview questions. Generation Y is famous for being confident, sometimes too confident, but here are some things that most recent grads don’t want to hear in a job interview.

“We block social media sites in the office.”

Recent grads are always connected. Social media has become such an integral part of their lives, that most of them could not imagine not being able to access social media at work. social media bannedGranted, you do not want your new employees spending all of their time on Facebook instead of working, but a study by Vivian L. Kim proposes that employees who are allowed to surf the web for small periods during the day are more productive, since employees feel refreshed and less stressed due to the break. Besides, think of the benefits of having someone to help set up your company’s social media presence.

“We have a strict dress code policy.”

What? You mean I can’t wear pajama pants and flip-flops to work every day? Granted, dress code policies will vary greatly based on industry and geographic locations, but most recent grads aren’t looking forward to donning a suit and tie every day (and the ones that are looking forward to wearing suits don’t need to be told about a dress code). Being able to dress freely is more than just a demonstration of fashion sense; it’s also a form of self-expression. If you are comfortable in your skin, you do better work. However, recent grads will need to get over the fact that you can’t roll into the office in pajama pants, a hoodie and flip-flops, since it isn’t biology class anymore.

“I’m not sure if you have enough experience.”

Many recent grads may be interviewing for their first professional job or even their first job period. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re not willing to take guidance and work hard to figure it out. Sometimes, hiring someone with less experience can even mean a more open mind, since they have little else to go on. In fact, recent grads are less likely to have bad work habits that you have to “un-train” from previous work experience. Also (as @Y_U_NOOO points out), how is a recent grad supposed to gain the experience needed for a job, if no one will hire them so they can gain experience?

“Your role in the company may be small.”

Millennials get a bad rap for wanting to move up the ladder too quickly without paying their dues, but many of them just want to feel like they are making a difference. Recent grads don’t just want to feel like a cog in the corporate wheel , but rather like their voices are being heard and that they are part of the decision making process. Get your recent grad involved, they might even just have a fresh idea or two that can help the company.

“We don’t socialize much in the office.”

Seeing that recent grads just left the very social atmosphere of school, they are used to socializing, working with teams and having a bit of fun while doing their work. foozballProviding an open, fun atmosphere for your employees can help reduce stress levels and help facilitate partnerships and better working relationships. Get creative! We have a Foosball table in the SmartRecruiters office, as well as eat lunch together almost every day. Organize a happy hour or office outing to encourage employee bonding.

“We give annual reviews.” 

Since this is most likely their first working experience, recent grads are very eager for feedback on how they are doing and their job role. Many will want an almost constant stream of feedback, and will be frustrated if they have to wait a year or even half a year to hear from their managers about how they are doing. You can blame it on a lifetime of helicopter parenting, and while it may be difficult for managers who are used to employees who need less attention, it is not a necessarily a bad thing. Providing more frequent feedback can ensure that both the company and the employees are getting the most out of the working relationship.

Recent grads will be taking over the working world by storm in the coming months. As important as it is for them to be prepared for the job, it is equally important that companies are prepared to know how to attract and hire this valuable source of ambitious, driven and fresh talent.

Brandi Cole is the new social media intern at SmartRecruiters. She is finishing her Master’s of Digital Marketing at Hult International Business School and is a social media lover, tech nerd, political junkie and networker bee. Photo Credits The M&M Team,, Y U NO Twitter.


Brandi Cole

Brandi Cole is the new social media intern at SmartRecruiters. She is finishing her Master’s of Digital Marketing at Hult International Business School and is a social media lover, tech nerd, political junkie and networker bee.