In a vast pool of candidates, even the most decisive managers can struggle to hire the perfect person for the role.

More and more people are going to college. Like never before, skilled candidates with a background in higher education are filling the majority of job positions.

Projections from Statista show by 2020 there'll be an estimated 20 million students enrolled in college, that's in the U.S. alone.

Recruitment company, Bright Network, who specialize in graduates,  their annual survey shows young hires aren't motivated by money. A good salary package is appealing and often sways a candidate. When considering a job offer though, candidates are more concerned by what career progression you have to offer.

I've found this to be true. It's no matter whether you're a multi-million company or a start-up. If you're attracting graduates you need to cater to their needs.

Employee development is essential. A graduate thinking of the whole picture, in this case their career path, shows they desire challenging work. They want the opportunity to better themselves via your support and with the business's success in mind.

Saying there's definitely a career trajectory is one thing. You need to ensure you lay out the path for the candidate. Highlight the structure and achievable milestones they'll follow. This way it'll help the candidate have clarity of the role, and what's expected of them. It'll also help you determine key performance indicators to set and how this will strengthen the business.

To promise a candidate the dream of the perfect career path, understand it requires a certain level of attention day-to-day. If not, you could face the risk of staff turnover. As well as, negatively affecting your reputation as a company.

Strategize the 'how'

You need to plan out the progression of your employees. Start from when they're a candidate. Get a feel for what they want out of their career and the skills they're looking to develop.

Don't just take this on yourself. Work together with them. Ask them to map out where they want to be and ideally when.

Having a timeline of these sorts of questions will allow you to compare against your business forecast. It'll also act as a tool for tracking performance. As a bonus the candidate will feel valued that you're considering what they want straight from the start.

You can help set out objectives for employees to achieve. Follow the S.M.A.R.T framework. Specific, measurable, achievable and timed. Build on their areas of development. Step-by-step lay out how they can reach these objectives. This level of commitment to your staff will do wonders to your retention levels.

Establish a way

You need to establish your strategy. Now you need to put into place how your employees will reach their milestones.

Encourage your employees to participate in extracurricular activities where they can expand on their skill-set outside of work. These things can range from relevant reading material, external networking events, hobbies, voluntary work etc. Anything that will enrich employees.

Providing training and development is a good method. This allows you to take control of the topic matter and keep it business orientated.

External courses can be costly though. It's best to set aside a budget and plan realistically who needs and wants to go through with it. Although you should demonstrate focusing on employee progression. Don't waste resources on the people who won't commit to the extra responsibility. 

Your aim should be up-skilling your people with the business's progression in mind.

Back yourself up 

Make it happen. If a position within your company becomes available, share it internally. Too many companies make a habit of posting a vacancy live and completely miss the talent they have right in front of them. This could save you so much on hiring costs and further training.

Promoting employees will make them feel respected. This will reinforce the promise of progression you made and avoid staff leaving.

It'll also motivate the whole workforce by showing that this is a possibility.

Think of other ways to help work towards career progression.

It isn't always a direct promotion. Offer more opportunities where team collaboration is a focal point. This will lead nicely to them advancing in the future. For example, employees can get involved in the company's social and culture aspects.