Hiring for Diversity, pt3: New College Grads

It’s tempting to look for candidates with lots of experience for your open positions. But at this time of year, and through the fall, consider looking for new college grads. Not just because I have a daughter who just graduated, but because new grads offer you an opportunity to steer people without a lot of experience into great employees.

New grads have a huge advantage over experienced people: They don’t know the problem you need solved can’t be solved. They’ve been trained through 4 years of university that all problems can be solved before the end of the semester. They will bring that optimism to work.

Many new grads have worked somewhere, but even those who worked as interns or coops may not have had real professional experience. Back when I was a manager inside organizations, I was able to help new grads find their professionalism.

I have had some trying times as a manager. There was the new developer who thought he could come to work the way he went to school: after 1pm. We had several discussions about core hours. There was the new tester who thought he knew everything, but really didn’t know much about test techniques. I suspect that I was that arrogant when I started, so I had a fair amount of sympathy for him and gave him feedback about how he appeared to me.

I found these experiences, the helping people find their approach to work and their passion rewarding as a manager. I stay in touch with many of them now, many years after they and I moved on.

So, hire experienced people. But don’t forget about people with “no” experience. They may well find new and innovative approaches to your product development. Not because they’ve been trained in the newest techniques, but because they don’t know they can’t do something.

3 Replies to “Hiring for Diversity, pt3: New College Grads”

  1. I could not agree more.
    I once managed a team made up for the most part by testers who were new graduates when we brought them on. Sure there were a couple of bad habits to work out, but they didn’t come burdened with the ‘that’s not my responsibility’ shtick and the wonderful thing was that once they got a feel for how deep software testing really is (which took no time at all), they worked with a passion and enthusiasm that I have seldom seen elsewhere.

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