Should I… hire graduates?

When it comes to hiring graduates, there are several pros and cons. We weigh up the plusses and minuses of bringing in young talent.
Should I… hire graduates?
By Neil King
Wed 20 Nov 2013 12:55 PM

How can graduates benefit my business?

Young, ambitious, educated employees are always going to have an important role for start-ups. If they’re not starting their own businesses, that is. Many fresh graduates will want to make a name for themselves in the working world, putting energy and drive into their fledgling careers. Most will also be up on the latest technologies, meaning they can bring ideas and suggestions to the table. Plus, they can help you understand the younger market. Also, if they stick around, they can grow with the business and become an important part of the team.

There must be downsides, right?

Yes, there are plenty of pitfalls. Youth also brings with it inexperience, and no matter how long you interview a candidate for or how many internships they have had, you will never know their capabilities until they actually start work. Being ambitious there is also a danger they might want to move onto a new role reasonably soon after joining. This may or may not suit you, but it’s worth bearing in mind. What’s more, recent reports suggest that graduates have an unrealistic salary expectation, which could hamper your hiring efforts.

Won’t they want to join a bigger company?

It really depends on the person. Graduates aren’t stupid and they will know the benefits of joining a start-up just as much as you will know the benefits of hiring them. Of course some will aim to join big, established companies, but there will be a lot of people who want to learn what it takes to build and grow a business. They may wish to move to a bigger company later down the line, or move into entrepreneurship themselves, but that is part and parcel of the working world.

Shouldn’t I look for more experienced staff?

There’s a lot to be said for trying to employ experience staff. On the whole they can come into the business, not need much training and guidance, and make a difference with their know-how, contacts, and insight. But that comes with a price tag, and the more experienced people get, the less likely they are to want to join a start-up or SME, especially an unproven one. Graduates bring different qualities and are more likely to come on board.

How can I find good candidates?

Websites such as and are a good place to start, but you can also get creative. It might be worth having discussions with careers advice teams at a few universities, to find out how you can offer work experience to their students, or why not get involved with youth development programmes?

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Last Updated: Thu 26 Jan 2017 01:27 PM GST

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