It's that time of year when newly minted college grads will descend upon your company, ready to effortlessly absorb the lessons you've learned through decades of entrepreneurial trauma.

How can you set up your new hire for success, and create another brand evangelist? During my 15 years of running Information Experts, we hired dozens of twenty-somethings in various roles, from interns to creative directors. My own experience, combined with my experience of advising many CEOs on recruiting best-practices, has taught me the advantages and disadvantages of hiring college grads.


  • A clean slate. No need to "unlearn" behaviors.
  • An optimistic, non-cynical attitude.
  • Great energy.
  • Current and comfortable with emerging technologies.
  • Inexpensive to hire: entry-level salary.
  • Usually willing and able to work long hours.


  • Clueless regarding a real job. (Sorry college grads. Unless you have had a really awesome internship experience, I'm stating the obvious).
  • Lack of understanding of how a company works.
  • Lack of experience working with different generations.
  • Possible lack of confidence.
  • Needs heavy management.
  • In the I-don't-know-what-I-don't know box.
  • Not ready for client-facing assignments, so will likely be overhead at initial hiring.

Best For Companies That...

  • Can provide a structured training environment.
  • Want to indoctrinate employees into a specific way of doing things.
  • Have the financial cushion and processes to train people and keep them in overhead positions as they get up to speed.

If your company is one of the 67% of companies surveyed by CareerBuilder that is hiring a college grad, here are three pieces of advice for your new hire:

1: Establish An Open Mindset

Come to work with an open mind. 

Your office will likely be quite diverse. There will be multiple generations, a mix of men and women, and potentially many different cultures or nationalities. Your office provides an opportunity to engage with people that have different skill sets, hobbies, and interests. Embrace the opportunity to go outside your comfort zone.

Bring a mindset and attitude of humility

You are at the bottom. Sorry to be so blunt, but your company is taking a chance on you. They see your potential, but you have not demonstrated measurable value yet. Check your ego at the door. Embrace an attitude of gratitude for having a job, and for someone entrusting their brand and company to you.


Smart new hires spend much of their time listening and observing. Studies show that  intentional listening can impact our job performance by up to 40 percent. Be a sponge. Take in as much as you possibly can. Watch the interactions between your colleagues. Absorb the conversations and what results from the conversations.

2: Embrace the Organizational Culture


Connect to the company's social media accounts. Update your LinkedIn page to talk about your position at the company as well as what the company does in the market. 


Attend company events, like in-office parties, happy hours, and holiday parties. Get involved in any internal committees. Involvement/Engagement = High Satisfaction.


You now represent the brand. Learn the company story. Know the company's core identity elements: its values, mission, and vision. Know why the Founder launched the company, and what drives the organization.

3: Follow the Rules of Engagement

Finally, follow the rules. I don't mean the rules in your employee handbook (although you have to follow those as well). I mean the implied rules. 

Show Respect.

To succeed and stand out at your new job, showing respect is not only the right thing to do, it is a very smart strategy. Here's what that looks like.

  • Be on time and if you are going to be late, call your manager
  • Power down your phone in meetings
  • Dress appropriately
  • Follow through on things that you say you will do

Good manners really do matter to your colleagues no matter what their age. Taking the time to say "please" and "thank you" makes an important and memorable impression.

Show Discretion & Confidentiality.

Despite living in a world where sharing everything is expected, it's critically important to value your company's confidentiality and proprietary information. You may be privy to sensitive information that is not to be shared with others.  You will be required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Adhering to these rules will mean continued employment and a reputation of trust.

Address Problems Professionally. 

It's not a matter of "if," but "when" conflicts are going to arise. These are tests of professionalism and maturity. The solutions lie in addressing problems as they arise and simply asking, "Can we have 10 minutes today to discuss something that has come up?" Ignoring issues do not make them go away.

We Are All In This Together.

It's exciting to see the various generations come together! We all have so much to learn from one another.

Congrats to the grads, and to those that see their potential! The best is yet to come!