What the Class of 2016 Wants


In a candidate-driven market, it’s important to have a firm grasp on what candidates want when they are looking for jobs. In 2016, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates has decreased while the number of companies planning to hire recent grads has increased.

The class of 2016 is unique in that it is entering a promising job market.

It is no longer sufficient for companies to simply post a job description online and expect an influx of top-tier applicants. Because these candidates have options, companies need to take extra steps to understand what graduates value and what they expect, and ensure these factors are incorporated into their recruiting strategy.

In April 2016, LaSalle Network, a professional staffing and recruiting services firm, surveyed more than 13,000 recent college graduates about their job search process. So, what exactly does the class of 2016 want?

Opportunities for growth

Contrary to popular belief that recent graduates desire workplace perks like the ability to work remotely, LaSalle Network found that what recent graduates really desire are opportunities for growth. Survey data indicates that, in an ideal role, recent graduates prioritized growth above work-life balance and training and development.

What Recent Grads Are Looking For

The Class of 2016 is looking beyond perks like free food and work flexibility when evaluating job opportunities. To attract talented new grads, it is important that you clearly communicate the potential for growth within your organization. They are interested in learning how the role they are applying to can evolve in the future, so you should share stories of promotions and career paths people have taken within your company. In short, offer candidates the chance to learn and develop their careers at your organization.

A role they love

In surveys, while some students state an industry preference to start their careers, others simply say they’ll work in any industry that will hire them. When posed this question, these respondents picked at least three or four industries because they are open to working for positions that fit their skills and interests.

What Industries do you Target

Your company does not need to be in a high-profile industry to attract recent graduates, who tend to be more concerned with the position itself and how it relates to their skills and interests. Instead of highlighting your industry, focus recruiting efforts on showcasing your employer brand and company culture to allow candidates to see whether or not the role would be a good fit. In summary, recent graduates are seeking positions in which they will be both challenged and supported.

To learn more about what recent graduates are looking for in job opportunities, check out this infographic from LaSalle Network.

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