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“It may not look this way when you dive into your first job search, but recruiting really lies at the intersection between psychology and business,” Melanie McQueen shares. “We’re here to help unique talent find their ideal professional match – and turn it into opportunity!”
As new graduates from coast to coast prepare to explore the workplace for the first time, Melanie focuses on how exciting this moment can be for clients, too. “The enthusiasm, energy, and passion of new grads brings a spark to their whole team. They’re eager to learn, and for many, it’s their first full-time job. They’re ready to put in the work, to grow and learn, and to collaborate with their new teammates. Not only that, but you have the unique opportunity to kick off someone’s career journey: you’ll be the team that defines their first steps as a professional.”
Melanie found her way to the Summit Search Group as a new grad herself, and this recruiting specialist is very much in tune with what today’s grads – and employers – need to make their mark. She sat down to share her tips with us, from LinkedIn profiles to first day flash meetings.
Step One: Interviews and Navigating the Hiring Process
“Come prepared – I can’t stress that enough,” Melanie begins. “Prior to applying for a job, do the homework: really read the description and the responsibilities. Read about the company, the mission, and the values that make them unique. You will stand out if you have a strong comprehension of the company’s objectives and can speak knowledgeably about the role.”
She also points out that professional opportunity begins with the search, not the first day. “Take every opportunity to make yourself look professional. The hiring process has really shifted to video interviews: log in early, dress the part, and treat it as if it were an in-person interview. Be certain that I can see your face, and that you’re presenting yourself with intention. Small details make a huge difference.”
Melanie emphasizes that a recruiter’s search starts well before booking the interview, and reminds us not to slack on LinkedIn. “Remember, your social media presence is always on. Make a point to contribute and be active in the professional conversation. Portray yourself in these spaces in a way that you want your peers to see you. People are looking: social media could make your first impression. This is where you get head hunted!”
Step Two: Expect the Unexpected
Any journey as complex as a job search packs its fair share of twists and turns, and Melanie encourages new grads to savor the experience – without getting frustrated by the surprises.
“New grads have so much energy and enthusiasm, ready to contribute to an organization. You may not lock in the first job you see, and you may encounter more rejections than you expect. Don’t give up! Any “no” feels frustrating: appreciate those experiences as learning. This is just the next step in your professional education, and that’s okay. Every time a door closes, another opens.”
She also highlights the importance of staying true to yourself, even in the face of frustration. “Don’t underestimate the value of your personality in an interview. It can outshine your experience in many situations!” Melanie notes. “Communicate your values, and who you really are. Embrace the moment: there doesn’t need to be a line between your personality and being professional. You don’t have to be outgoing if that’s not your style: at the end of the day, it’s just about being genuine.”
Melanie gives a nod to clients at this step, as well – this is a chance to be open to unexpected potential. “New graduates enter the professional conversation as a blank slate: it’s easy to integrate these people into your business model, and train them in your team’s style. They’re driven to succeed, and they want to learn. A new graduate can often prove to be a secret weapon, and an excellent fit for harder to fill searches: they’re ready to strive, want to grow within the company, and are excited to reach big goals.”
Step Three: Make Onboarding Matter
You’ve made it through the search, the interview, and you got the offer: now what?
Melanie’s last key tip focuses on the first day, for both new grads and their teams: kick off your partnership with rock-solid onboarding.
She advises that being proactive can make you shine – and plays a serious role in your onboarding success. “Don’t be shy, new grads! Put yourself out there: remember that you work with more people than your manager or direct report. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn new things. Help others whenever you get the chance – you’ll build your own knowledge, connect with your coworkers, and contribute to a positive atmosphere, all at once. Collaborating enhances everyone’s experience. Being a team player ALWAYS counts!”
That same focus – putting yourself out there – applies to the team, too.
“Set up one-on-one meetings with your new teammates: it’s important to get to know each other! Check-in meetings are important, too. We all want to feel supported,” Melanie says. “Being understanding and attentive goes a long way on both sides: everyone has a different work style, and the work in your organization isn’t second nature to a new grad yet. Support their learning, and make sure their voice is heard: they could have new ideas and a new perspective. If they feel welcome from day one, it sets a positive tone for an ongoing relationship.”
Finally, she reminds us that these steps add up to serious impact for all: “Graduates are our future. Their success moves us all forward!”
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Hiring 101: Three Key Steps to Welcoming New Grads with Melanie McQueen
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