Way to Work Survey



Methodology & Background

Overview: This survey explores hiring managers’ experiences and perceptions of young adult job candidates (ages 18-24) and their preparedness for today’s workforce.

Approach: Telephone survey of 500 hiring managers (those whose duties include making hiring decisions in their organization) across a range of industries.

Fielded by Braun Research Inc.

Conducted March 4 - 8, 2013

Survey results have a margin of error +/- 4.4% for this sample size.

Key findings

College Grads Unprepared to Join the Workforce

Hiring managers said college grads today are not ready for the workforce

A majority (66 percent) of hiring managers said they do not believe new college graduates are prepared for the workforce when they finish college.

Most hiring managers (58 percent) admitted they’re not planning to hire entry level college graduates this year. And among those that are planning to hire new grads, most (69 percent) only plan to hire one to two candidates.

The most important piece of advice hiring managers would give young job candidates (ages18-24) who do not have relevant job experience is to be flexible (47 percent) – don’t get stuck on landing the perfect position within a company; rather, be willing to start out in a different area to get your foot in the door.

In fact, only 16 percent of hiring managers would suggest enrolling in a certification program for a particular skill.

Strong Resumes Are Key to Landing Interviews

A strong resume remains the critical gateway

More than half of hiring managers (54 percent) admitted that within the past two years, they have not hired someone who had a weak resume (regardless of their interviewing abilities), primarily because weak resumes never make it through to the interview stage.

Watch for spelling errors and include a strong objective statement!

More than anything else, spelling errors (43 percent) are listed as the single most common mistake found on resumes that can automatically disqualify a candidate from consideration.

Also interesting, only five percent of respondents listed time gaps on a resume as an automatic disqualifier. Formatting errors and inappropriate email addresses also ranked low (1 percent each) on the list of mistakes that disqualify young adult job candidates (18-24) for a job.

Objectives and goal statements on resumes still prove relevant. Thirty-nine percent of hiring managers say that (beyond work experience and internships) objectives and goals included on your resume can help get you through the door and into the interview chair. Other factors taken into consideration: honors and awards (19 percent); activities and hobbies (18 percent).

Only six percent of hiring managers said GPA was a deciding factor and only 12 percent consider additional languages spoken a big plus.

When looking at qualifications, previous paid work experience (36 percent) and level of education (28 percent) are the two most important factors when considering a job candidate (18-24).

However, don’t get overly caught up in prestige of school. While a degree is important, the prestige of a college ranked last out of eight qualifications.

Hiring Managers Seeking
 Engaged, Interested and Informed Interviewees

Back to basics show more interest, be respectful and dress appropriately

Young adults (18-24) would benefit from focusing on their soft skill sets (e.g., articulation, eye contact, demeanor, etc.) during job interviews; 34 percent of hiring managers said inabilities to directly and clearly answer questions and articulate skills and experience during the interview are common reasons they don’t land the job.

Be confident, present and respectful during the job interview; some of the biggest mistakes hiring managers cited include:

  • Lack of eye contact (33 percent)
  • Checking phone/texting (30 percent)
  • Fidgeting (26 percent)
  • Bad posture (22 percent)

Additionally, young adults (18-24) should be mindful of discussing the job via personal social media sites before and after the interview; hiring managers (12 percent) said this was a mistake of young job candidates.

When it comes to landing the job, it’s important for young candidates to show an active interest in the job they’re interviewing for; 20 percent of hiring managers said not showing interest in the position is a common reason young adults don’t get the job.

Appropriate behavior and wardrobe is a must during the interview. Half of hiring managers (50 percent) said one of the biggest interview mistakes young adults make is showing up to the interview inappropriately dressed; while 36 percent described an overly aggressive approach when it comes to personal job expectations including time off, salary, vacation days and benefits as a common mistake young adult job candidates (18-24) make.

Don’t forget to pay close attention to interview details. Nearly half (44 percent) of hiring managers said showing up late or on the wrong date or time is one of the biggest mistakes of job seekers ages 18-24.

Hiring managers say that a lack of relevant work experience is the most common reason young adults (18-24) do not succeed in interviews.

But new graduates don’t need a ton of experience to be considered. In fact, most hiring managers (84 percent) say one to two internships is all they look for.


College Grads Today Are Not Ready for the Workforce


Strong Resumes are Key to Landing a Job


Advice for the Interview Process


Economic report - Expert insights into today's workplace economy