I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a student say, “But no one will hire me.” My initial response is (and perhaps yours is as well), “Would you hire you?”
I recently read an article about a little known secret as to why recent college graduates are not hired. Well, in my mind, it’s no secret at all. The (non) secret is simply this…recent college graduates are not hired because they often have no measurable, demonstrated work ethic. In other words, everything they’ve accomplished, to this point, has not required the ideal level of focus, concern, or effort to strive for something significant. Therefore, the assumption is that the ability to overcome obstacles and the resilience to bounce back and realize a goal was never fully developed. Essentially, these graduates were (obviously) smart and educated but did not evince that they had what it takes to do the job on which the future of an organization depends.
So, how can students overcome that predicament? Well, they need to be willing go above and beyond what is expected of them. Doing merely enough to get by just doesn’t get it anymore. And this takes effort and planning. Companies routinely require their associates to do more with less and to demonstrate initiative versus waiting to be told what to do. Students need to challenge themselves to provide meaningful contributions in the areas of student leadership, community involvement, and real internships.
And, let’s think about this— we work very hard to get students to understand the S.T.A.R. response to behavioral interview questions. So, what happens in the interview? Where does it fall apart? The student mentally checks off the Situation, Task, Action, and Result. However, what does not get communicated is “what’s in it for the employer” or the “benefit statement.” And isn’t that the most important thing for students to share with a potential employer?
All this leads to an understanding that if the student can communicate, to the employer, that they can provide “something of value” then the chances the student will receive an offer is greatly increased…right? All it takes is not connecting a few dots to help keep the recent graduate on the world of work sidelines.
Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales