Hiring Managers Believe New College Grads are Unprepared for the Workforce

Young Adults Making Serious Mistakes During the Job Search Process

Melville, NY (May 09, 2013) — Sixty-six percent of hiring managers believe that new college graduates are unprepared for the workplace that awaits them, according to a recent survey of hiring managers from Adecco Staffing US, the nation’s leading provider of recruitment and workforce solutions. The survey found that, in fact, 58 percent of hiring managers are not planning to hire new grads and of those who are, 69 percent only plan to hire one or two.

When it comes to finding a job in this competitive job market, a flawless resume is critical. More than half (54 percent) of hiring managers don’t even offer interviews to job candidates with weak resumes. What often gets a candidate in the door is attention to detail. Hiring managers are most likely to cite spelling errors (43 percent) as the most common misstep that causes them to disqualify a candidate from consideration. Spelling errors were considered a more unacceptable offense than any other gaffe including time gaps on a resume (5 percent).

To rise to the top of the resume pile, young adults must focus on being personable and engaged during the interview process. One-third (34 percent) of hiring managers said young adults’ inability to directly and clearly answer questions and articulate their skills and experience during the interview are main factors for them not getting the job. Other slip-ups include: lack of eye contact (33 percent), checking phone/texting (30 percent), fidgeting (26 percent), and bad posture (22 percent). Some hiring managers (12 percent) also consider discussing the interview on social networks a mistake. Survey respondents also advise job candidates to be engaged, actively asking and answering questions, and authentic (33 percent and 29 percent respectively).

“The message from America’s hiring managers on what makes a winning candidate is loud and clear,” said Joyce Russell, president of Adecco Staffing US. “Beyond the tactical advice, the soft skills like confidence, a respectful demeanor and showing a genuine interest in the job are equally important for new grads to separate themselves from the competition during an interview.”

Other survey findings include

Objectives are NOT a thing of the past.

Perhaps surprisingly, objectives and goal statements on resumes still prove relevant, as 39 percent of respondents say those two things, in addition to work experience and internships, can get you an interview.

Put your best (and best dressed) foot forward.

Half (50 percent) of the hiring managers surveyed said one of the biggest interview mistakes young adults make is dressing inappropriately, while 44 percent said showing up late or on the wrong date was the biggest flub.

Be reasonable.

Of the respondents, 36 percent said they have seen candidates with an aggressive approach when it comes to personal job expectations, including time off, salary vacation days, and benefits, which can be detrimental for their chance of getting the job.

A little experience goes a long way.

Most hiring managers (84 percent) say they only look for one or two internships. For job candidates without experience, many (47 percent) hiring managers suggest being flexible and starting out in a different area of the company.

Concentrate on the basics.

As far as qualifications go, previous paid work experience (36 percent) and level of education (28 percent) are two of the most important factors for hiring managers when considering a job candidate. Interestingly enough, GPA and the prestige of the college/university that the applicants attended are considered among the least important qualifications for a job.

“Today’s college graduates are entering a highly competitive job market, so honing their skills to develop a standout resume and ace an interview are extremely critical,” said Russell. “For many new grads, the job search itself can become full time work, but in the end, those who take the time and use all of the resources at their disposal to prepare will be best positioned to land a job.”


This telephone survey was conducted by Braun Research on behalf of Adecco among a sample of 500 hiring managers. The survey was fielded March 4 - 8, 2013. Results have a margin of error of +/- 4.4% at the 95% confidence level.