I recently met the head of early talent for a prominent company in the insurance industry. She told me about the best two graduate hires she ever made. A couple of managers at the company had children of university age. Like all good parents, these two managers were in the midst of trying to encourage their offspring to do something productive over the summer. Why dont you come and do a few weeks work experience at our company? they offered. The students obliged, probably tearing themselves away from a Jeremy Kyle episode in the process (other stereotypes are available).
The company gave the two new interns creative licence over projects they could pursue. As both were undertaking degrees with a large research component, they decided to put these skills to use. The started to look into customer behaviour. The hiring manager told me that the report they produced revealed some fascinating insights and shaped her businesss marketing strategies thereafter.
The company hired these two students after they graduated on the strength of this work.
Despite having a graduate scheme, these two unofficial graduate hires were deemed the best. This is because they showed themselves capable of producing real results the business valued. They didnt show hallmarks of potential through great grades and strong extra curricular activities (although they may have had these). They showed they could deliver real value.
The skills required to be successful in business are different to those required for success in academia. Being a workplace ninja boils down to generating results and getting sh*t done (not upsetting people in the process would be great, too). Being smart is not enough.
We recently set up a Kloodle badge on behalf of a consultant engineering company. To earn the badge, students are required to download a real-life engineering brief and produce a report recommending solutions to a clients problems. The brief outlines the requirement for solar power at a remote location. The aspirant engineer needs to sift through the information provided, research possible solutions as well as identifying potential pitfalls, and then present a result.
You may think thats a lot of work for a student. Youre right, but the best employees do a lot of work. The task will separate the wheat from the chaff. Those prepared to do the work and those who arent. The upshot is that the company will identify the best potential engineers through exposure to real work. Theres no guessing, they will have seen competence and judged reliability.
The insurance company at the start of our story identified their best grads through a real-world project. You will identify your best early talent through exposure to real situations you encounter in your business every day.
How can you creatively expose your businesss challenges to potential future hires? What situations do you wish your entry level people were able to overcome right out of the gate? How can you create mini tests for these and deliver them to students whilst theyre in eduction.
Kloodle badges are designed for this. We want to show students the challenges you face on a daily basis in your organisation. We then want to find you the people who cope best, as these will be the future talent thatll have the most impact for your business.
These are the folk who deserve a spot on your team.