by Matt Alderton | October 25, 2012
There are many advantages to hiring new college graduates. For instance, they're affordable, they're full of energy, they're eager to learn and they bring fresh thinking to otherwise staid organizations. In the same breath, however, there are also many disadvantages. For example, they're often entitled and needy, and lacking in independence and interpersonal skills.

"Even among employers who are extra supportive, recent grads are viewed as something of a mixed blessing," say contributors Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and Diane Dean, professor of education at Illinois State University. "They can be smart, quick to learn, utilize new technology and comfortable working as part of a team ... [and yet] members of this generation expect approbation, have weak basic skills and large knowledge gaps, confuse effort with quality, multitask, follow rules (occasionally to a fault), and blur the boundaries between their social and work lives."

If you want to maximize the pros of young workers, and minimize the cons, consider the following tips, courtesy of Levine and Dean:

Start training early: "Identify potential future hires when they are still in college and offer them internships and summer jobs to introduce them to the organizational culture and its demands," Levine and Dean recommend. "Once the students graduate and are hired — but before they begin work — provide them an extended orientation, conveying explicit expectations and particulars about promotions, work rules, evaluations, job hours, dress codes, telecommuting, etc."

Set clear expectations: "Customize job descriptions to specific employees and make evaluation frequent, constructive and clear," Levine and Dean say. "Consider implementing three-month probationary periods with assessments every two weeks."

Modify policies as needed: "Determine which current organizational practices are essential and eliminate any that aren't," advise Levine and Dean. "Revise existing policies — or add new ones — that relate in particular to flexible hours, telecommuting, dress codes, use of first names, parent services and the notion of supervisors as coaches."

Utilize their expertise: "When it comes to the rapidly changing digital culture, solicit — and be receptive to — input from the young men and women to whom it is second nature," Levine and Dean conclude. "If you can use their suggestions, great; if you can't, explain your reasons in a positive fashion. Remember that this generation possesses unique assets. Make the most of them — for everyone's benefit."

For more tips, go to: