Which Comes First, Job or Experience?
Updated: Sep 14, 2018
It's Graduation season again!
We are about to receive a new batch of passionate Millennials who are graduating from colleges all around the world. As the young Fresh Graduates, filled with energy and dedication, get ready to kick off their first career steps, they are about to face one of the most controversial and frustrating question:
Which comes first, Job or Experience?
The Harsh Reality
Almost all job vacancies today which are posted online require a minimum of one or two years of experience. Consequently, most Millennial Fresh college Graduates get caught in the vicious cycle of not finding jobs because of not having experience, while jobs required to build experience are unavailable for those who have no experience.
To put it simply, allow me to sound like a broken record:
Fresh Graduates cannot find jobs because they do not have experience, because they cannot find jobs, because they do not have experience…
What makes the situation even more complicated is how this issue is positioned today shifting back the blame to the Fresh Graduates.
If you search for today’s suggestions to solving this challenge, you will find that most solutions are dropped on the shoulders of the young job seekers in the form of job hunting tips. Some of the offered tips are as tough as accepting temporary or unpaid jobs to build an experience, or investing more money in further training and certificates with the hope to become eligible for an interview.
Other solutions offered by reputable companies are the famous Graduate Development Programs targeting to hire Fresh Graduates and rotate them over different roles. Those programs are usually very competitive and have a very limited number of openings every year.
So, what’s the solution?
Let me tell you a story, a real one.
Almost four years ago, I was a young Fresh Graduate who had studied Engineering. I applied right, left, and center for all vacancies I could find without giving any attention to the number of required years of experience. One day I was called for an interview for a high profile managerial role for a regional team of fifteen direct reports, in one of the fortune 500 companies. I had zero relevant industry experience and absolutely no relevant college studies. It took the hiring manager only fifteen minutes to decide to hire me. Since then, both my employer and I had the most successful experience. Few years later, I was myself making hiring decisions of candidates to build my own team, without requiring them to have years of experience.
The basis of the decision my hiring manager took was never the number of years of experience. It was based on one important fundamental:
Trusting that the employer will give a quality on-the-job training and support.
Trusting that the hired employee will give their maximum energy and passion into their job.
What if what is needed to tackle today’s challenge is more than just tips offered by career experts?
What if Fresh Graduates do not need just another corporate Graduate program?
What if all it takes is simply, TRUST?
We are in desperate need for a change in the hiring mentality. We need to see companies adjusting their high-requirement barriers to application. Fresh Graduates should have equal opportunity to those who have experience in applying for junior roles. The only simple request of a Fresh Graduate is to be considered for an application or to face a hiring manager in an interview.
Until this moment, we are not seeing any improvements despite all the solutions offered so far. Companies share responsibility in influencing the situation. Employers can pretend to be victims of the unstable economy, or they can own the responsibility and start making trustful decisions by removing barriers and offering Fresh Graduates the opportunity to be considered.
If companies continue to block the young Millennial talents from knocking their doors, they are losing the opportunity to hire the employee who could possibly innovate their next generation product/service. Young talents with fresh blood are the fuel for innovation and sustainable growth.
If you are a hiring manager and you are reading this, my only kind request to you is to adjust that job description of your job vacancy and remove the “1-2 years required experience”. Give hope and chance to the new talents entering the market.
I hope my voice will reach as many hiring managers as possible. If at any point you are in doubt about hiring a Fresh Graduate because of the "little experience”, remember yourself when you were once a Fresh Graduate with no experience, and yet you were able to succeed.
It is not as difficult as answering the question of the Egg or the Chicken!
Just remember... To TRUST!