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Why Smart Employers Are Hiring Recent Graduates and Students


A new grad or current student might not be the intuitive choice when you’re hiring for an instructional design role on your team. Yet these early career professionals bring something special to the organization. Whether you hire them as interns, contract employees or new staff, recent graduates and students can be valuable teammates. 


New graduates bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. They aren’t mired in old habits or stuck on, “how we did it at my old job.” You have the opportunity to mentor and develop them. This is good for your company, because you get employees who align with your goals. And you can hire them at an affordable salary. 


You also get the chance to mentor and develop them, directly impacting the future of the industry. Today’s interns may be the change agents of the future. 


Identify the Right Candidates When Hiring Recent Graduates

With lack of industry experience to rely on, you’ll need different ways to evaluate new grad and student candidates. Start by knowing what kind of instructional designer you’re looking for. Some students have prepared for corporate learning roles, while others are focused more on education industry positions. Alternatively, you might be seeking an instructional designer who is highly eLearning development focused or needs analysis and training curriculum development focused. Know which one you’re looking for and write a job description to reflect that. 


When interviewing recent grads, find out what they’re interested in. Explore where and how they hope to grow throughout their career. You’re not always looking for experience. Instead, you’re investigating whether the applicant has traits and skills that will make them a good instructional design with some guidance. 


Look for a candidate who: 

  • Understands industry basics
  • Can handle tight timelines and competing priorities
  • Works well on a team
  • Is self-motivated
  • Has a vision and philosophy of learning
  • Is excited to learn


Evaluate candidates based on their potential for growth and improvement. They probably won’t have an expert skill set, but the right attitude goes a long way. 

Portfolios are Essential When Hiring Recent Graduates

Although new graduates and students probably won’t have much work experience, they should still have a portfolio to show you. Request samples of their work. The best college programs ask students to build portfolios as part of their studies, so this shouldn’t be a big ask. 


Inspecting a portfolio can give you a clearer idea of what the applicant can do. Remember, these are students and new grads so you’re not looking for perfection. You’re looking for potential. Look for evidence that the applicant has a foundation of basic technical abilities, reasoning skills, and attention to detail.


Where to Find Recent Graduate Candidates


Finding the right student and entry level candidates can feel like judging the preliminary rounds in one of those TV talent shows. Skip right to the finals using the Teamed Instructional Design Interns and Recent Grads Roster. This unique resource includes contact information, resumes, and other details for up-and-coming new professionals in the industry. 


Posting to the Teamed Job Board can put the role in front of thousands of industry professionals and students. We limit our listings in the eLearning field, which means they’re seen by those job seekers. 


Special Considerations for Onboarding and Integrating


When hiring recent graduates and students a structured onboarding program is especially important. You can’t assume they know office etiquette or professional norms. Offering clear guidance up front will set them up for a successful career. 


For extra support, you might consider establishing a mentorship or buddy program. These types of programs take some effort to coordinate, but deliver a stronger culture and more supportive atmosphere. They can also help you make sure that institutional knowledge gets passed from long-term employees to new hires. 


Interns and early-career professionals are especially interested in continuous learning opportunities. They want a chance to grow and improve. Many pick roles they believe will help them do that. Encouraging participation in industry conferences and workshops is a good start. Offering constructive feedback and regular performance evaluations can also convey that you’re invested in their success. 


Of course, you want every employee to be treated fairly and with respect. Make sure the candidate understands what type of employment they’re entering into. If you’re offering an internship, make sure your program aligns with the legal requirements


Making sure everyone understands the rules before you hire can save you a lot of trouble down the road. Teamed can help you legally hire contractors without adding to your administrative burden or legal risk. 

Start Hiring Recent Graduates


Students and recent graduates can bring unique value to your organization. When hiring them, look for candidates with potential and a willingness to learn. If you offer them the right opportunities and support, they can grow into exceptional teammates. Invest in the future of instructional design. Learn how Teamed can help you hire students and recent graduates.


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