Written by Tom Gimbel, President and CEO of LaSalle Network
People who say college grads feel entitled or aren’t willing to put in the work haven’t hired the right college grad…meaning right for the company, its culture, the people and the job itself. Consider the following tips when looking at a pool of applicants that recently crossed the stage:
Skills can be taught, personality cannot. At LaSalle, we look for candidates that are hard-working, intelligent, determined, fun-loving and genuinely nice people. We’ve found these candidates fit best in our culture and thrive in the organization. Every company’s culture is different. So it’s important to identify the personality traits employees share and look for those in candidates.
Ask “unconventional” questions during the interview. Ask a question that may not pertain to a typical job interview and see how the candidate responds. These questions are meant to catch the candidate off guard and gauge how they handle uncomfortable situations. When you get a candidate that’s defensive and questions why you’re asking the question, it’s a red flag. Candidates that are willing to answer demonstrate flexibility, openness and the ability to think on their feet…all necessary skills in today’s workplace. More and more companies are using alternative interviewing techniques to screen candidates. This is a preview of how they might act when there’s an unexpected situation with a client or coworkers and helps decrease hiring mistakes by ensuring candidates fit with and understand the company culture.
Consider long-term growth opportunities. Any employee can be a star performer. Key words can be. Do you see traits in the candidate that can produce an accelerator in two, four, six years? It’s not all about skills and education. It’s about what drives them, their ability to self-evaluate, their sense of right and wrong, and ultimately their willingness to challenge the status quo. Their skills may not be anywhere near developed, but can they develop? Consider what’s on their resume as indicators of what they can help the company accomplish in the future.
Successfully retraining college graduates:
It’s more cost effective to invest in hiring and training fresh grads who fit the company culture than it is to deal with the amount of emotional and financial damage that hiring someone with the right skillset but wrong attitude or values will cause. It’s best to focus on developing the skill sets of workers than to constantly be recruiting people from the outside.
Invest in them. Most employees want to continue to develop their skills while learning new ones. Offering training sessions and having employees attend webinars and conferences will feed their desire to learn while augmenting their skill sets. At the same time, push employees to achieve their potential. Trusting them with new and challenging tasks demonstrates confidence in their abilities and the new skills they have acquired.
Get employees involved. Employees want to know that they are more than just a number and that their thoughts and opinions matter. Involving staff in important decisions not only demonstrates that their opinion is valued, but it also allows them to evolve as a professional. At LaSalle, we have a seven-person staff council that meets once per month to discuss company best practices, as well as their suggestions for improving the company. We also frequently bring lower-level employees into management meetings to expose them to higher-level discussions involving the future of the company.
Offer a rotational program. At LaSalle, we have a Rotational Training Program for new hires. The program provides an opportunity to work in each of our business units and in different offices for a set amount of months. The goal is to expose new hires to every aspect of the business, helping them grow professionally. It also helps the company and the new hire determine where they fit best for the long-term.
Tom Gimbel is the President and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing firm based in Chicago. Founded in 1998, LaSalle has served thousands of clients and candidates, placing job seekers in temporary, temporary-to-permanent and permanent positions. LaSalle Network was an Inner City 100 winner in 2011 and 2013. LaSalle Network has also been listed on Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America list for the past seven years, named by Staffing Industry Analysts’ as a top five “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” from 2011 through 2013, and among the “Fastest Growing Staffing Firms” in 2012 and 2013.