Imagine this scenario: After a promising student completes a summer internship at your company, you extend a full-time job offer. They accept, and you conduct a minimal 2-3 touch points throughout the fall and winter months.
In May, you shoot over an email message, extending your congratulations upon their college graduation and attaching onboarding documents for your company. Which, your talented new hire responds with…radio silence.
Days turn into weeks, until you finally get the dreaded response: Thank you for the opportunity, but I’ve chosen to…
After waiting nine, long months for your early-career hire to join your team, you’re left with nothing. University recruiters dig through your talent community, scrambling to bring-in a new candidate for an interview. And the new hire’s department — a department that was banking on having an extra pair of hands come May — is left picking up the slack.
This dreaded scenario is all-too-familiar for university recruiters come springtime. According to a 2021 survey by Scholars, 64% of students will consider opportunities from other companies after they’ve accepted a full-time job offer. The vast majority (72%) of these reneges happen within the first two weeks after a candidate signs an offer letter. However, there is a significant portion of students who will entertain job offers right up to the point of graduation — which can leave your company scrambling to find a replacement.
How the Great Resignation Led to the Great Reneging
In 2022, the Great Resignation is still going strong, with 4.3 million employees quitting their jobs in January and 4.4 million following suit in February (just shy of the 4.5 million record set in November, 2021). Employees are handing in resignation letters due to poor pay, zero work-life balance, or disrespect in the workplace, leaving a significant number of job vacancies employers are increasingly-desperate to fill.
Vacancies that — fingers crossed 🤞 — will partially be filled by this year’s graduating class.
While full-time employees are fed up with being overworked and underpaid, today’s early-career candidates have their own list of demands. Gen Z candidates seek mentorship opportunities, career advancement, flexible work environments, and strong relationships with their hiring managers (in addition to being fairly compensated). And if they receive any inkling they won’t receive all of the above from their future employer, they will promptly take their talents elsewhere — a movement we coined The Great Reneging.
As May approaches, many hiring managers fear recent grad candidates won’t stick with them through their first day. Below, we offer several tips to minimize reneges with your new-college-grad employees.
6 Tips to Minimize Reneges With Recent-Grad Hires
Is your team banking on a new cohort of early-career talent to further your company come May? To ensure top talent sticks with you through their first day on the job, be sure to implement these tactics:
1. Set Up a Communication Calendar (Far, Far in Advance)
Think back to the scenario discussed at the beginning of this post. Clearly, no hiring manager wants to get ghosted by a candidate to whom they’ve extended an offer. But if this hypothetical storyline made you think back to a very real situation, ask yourself:
Did you ghost the candidate first?
According to a survey by Scholars, 58% of students want to hear from an employer four times before their first day — and that’s an absolute minimum. And yet, many hiring managers extend an offer to candidates then completely halt communication until the student’s graduation.
Listen, we understand — deadlines and projects happen, and mid- to senior-level roles also need to be filled. That’s why it’s imperative that you set up an automated communication calendar in advance, so you don’t forget to send onboarding documents, schedule meet-and-greets, or even wish hires luck on midterms. Fortunately, the Scholars platform allows you to automate candidate journeys to effectively eliminate communication gaps, and reduce your renege rate.
2. Give Them Face-to-Face Time With the CEO
Yes, it’s important that recent grads meet their future, direct supervisor. But for many early-career candidates, meeting a mid-level manager simply isn’t enough.
Today’s Gen Z top talent fully understands a company’s mission, culture, and values come from the top — and therefore want to hear from company leadership before signing on. In fact, research shows that only 19% of Gen Z candidates wouldn’t work for a company that doesn’t share their values. In addition, nearly half (41%) state that a CEO should be judged by their commitment to solving social issues (a far cry from the ruthless, bold behaviors that were idolized in the CEOs of the early 2000s).
If your immediate thought is, “There’s no way our CEO has calendar space to meet every new grad hire!” sit tight. Fortunately, a message from company leadership can — and should — be done at scale.
Sit down with your CEO and have them record a video message welcoming this year’s recent grad cohort. Have your CEO offer a high-level overview on workplace culture and values, and discuss what career opportunities recent grads should expect at your company.
3. Don’t Go Silent Around the Holiday Season
November and December can be a stressful time for any company. End-of-year deadlines quickly stack up as the number of colleagues in the office plummets, creating a bottleneck of work for any employee.
Unfortunately, the holiday season is arguably the worst time to drop communication with early-career candidates, causing a spike in reneges come New Years. In fact, 72% of reneges occur in January, as students have ample time after exams and holiday festivities to search for other opportunities.
To ensure your incoming cohort isn’t browsing your competitors’ job listings, give them other reading material to browse instead. Send them valuable content such as a reading list crafted by their future manager, an invitation to join your company’s employee resource group (ERG), or external certifications that might help the student jump start their career.
4. Send Onboarding Documents in Advance
Want to know our best piece of advice for reducing your renege rate? Make your incoming cohort feel as though they’re an integral part of your team before their first day on the job.
One of the most efficient ways to do this is getting a jumpstart on the onboarding process. Research shows that companies with an engaging onboarding process see an 82% increase in new hire retention. Rather than wait for a candidate’s first day on the job to fill out onboarding documents, send them in advance.
In addition, think of innovative ways to engage candidates throughout onboarding procedures. Rather than send static documents, arrange a coffee chat or virtual meeting with hiring managers to go over any lingering questions face-to-face. Launch a mentorship program and be sure each mentor reaches out to their mentee to address any concerns or career anxiety before graduation hits.
Use This Exact Template to Reduce Your Renege Rate for New-Grad Hires
May can be one of the most stressful months for university recruiters, as many recent grads entertain job offers from other companies. As an increasing number of early-career candidates renege on accepted offers, it creates a bottleneck of work for your existing employees.
To minimize your risk of a recent grad reneging on their accepted offer, you’ll need to keep all lines of communication open, recruit senior leadership to speak to your incoming cohort, and revamp your onboarding procedures. Fortunately, an automated platform, like Scholars, helps streamline your content plan so you never “ghost” another candidate.
If you don’t know how to start building your own content plan, don’t worry — we’ve already done the grunt work for you. In this FREE Excel template, we give you the exact workflow Fortune 500 companies use to reduce their renege rate. Plus, we offer a blank template so you can customize your own communication plan with your recent grad candidates.