• http://www.techtrak.com Maureen Sharib

    When I first started sourcing for a company in Silicon Valley in the mid-90s I was continually frustrated by their refusal to take any names that did not have a college degree or were not likely to have one (sourcing was restricted to companies who also required college degrees).

    Granted, most of it was high tech sourcing.

    The main reason given was (and still is) that a college degree was a good indicator that an individual could “stay” with something until finished.

    It’s not easy to finish four years of college.

    No matter what the pundits say.

  • Richard Melrose


    The “experienced hire” that you compare the “college hire” to seems like a straw “person” (editorial convenience).

    The suggestion that job experience correlates negatively with teamwork, energy, agility, facility with numbers, comfort with technology, understanding (use) of metrics, commitment to continuous learning, etc. and positively with complaining, playing politics, risk aversion, intransigence, etc. depicts the workforce rather harshly.

    Employers would do well not to generalize – either way – based on age, experience, gender, educational attainment, etc. Cognitive ability, behavioral traits and occupational interests are better predictors of job performance. Employers should do their own housekeeping, starting with job analyses and job designs tailored to the knowledge work and knowledge worekers that will underwrite their business’ success, going forward.

    I’m for quality hires – selecting those who have what it takes. But first, employers need to determine what it does take to perform well in each particular job and then determine how to validly gauge candidate match.

    Final note: multi-tasking always wastes time and degrades work product. Sure employees can manage portfolios of responsibilities, but anyone – employee or manager – who believes that multi-tasking has any virtue, whatsoever, needs a reality check.


  • Howard Adamsky

    Let me say that this is of course not personal as I am a big fan of John Sullivan. He is as nice a person as you will ever meet.

    On the other hand, I am astonished by some of the conclusions drawn in this article – so much so, I am speechless.

    Even if there is some truth to the conclusions drawn, to create a class of employees that we simply do not wish to hire due to all of the “reasons” they are not as desirable as the college grads is fundamentally a terrible idea.

    Tell me reader, do YOU know of a brilliant performer who is not a college grad? How do you explain that? Do you know Master’s level people that are total losers? Got explanations on that?

    I know a guy named Bill Gates who is not a college grad and has managed to do OK. make a few bucks and by the way, change the world.

    I know a guy I just worked with on a project who is a Software Director who is one of the best I have ever come across. No degree whatsoever. My friend’s 400 person software company was just acquired and he is the smartest guy I have ever known. I can go on and on but you get the point.

    A business case? There are few things more frightening than a business case.

  • Keith Halperin

    Thanks, Dr. Sullivan. You’ve just given some employers 32 reasons to justify implicit or explicit age discrimination (as if they need a list of reasons), starting with your Reason #1.


  • Howard Adamsky

    Keith, you are too funny. I love to read your stuff.


  • http://www.techtrak.com Maureen Sharib

    Howard, Keith:

    I love to read both of your stuff!

  • Keith Halperin

    @ Howard & “Mighty Mo”: Thanks. I appreciate it. I like your articles and comments, too.

    As Homer says:
    “It’s funny ’cause it’s true”


    Keith “Wish I Were Laughing All the Way to the Bank” Halperin

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  • Andy Newman

    OK, I’ll bite. To begin my post I shall address those who make cases for non-degreed people to also be considered. The article is not about how you should ONLY hire college degreed people. It is directed as cases for why hiring a recent grad has benefits.

    Now, to pick on the author, and John you know I like ya, I need to point out that the only case a college professor has for encouraging the hiring of college students is revenue. e.g. college bound students select their university on a few criteria, one of which should be “will I get a good job if I attend this school verses that school”. If the school places lots of kids, ta-da, they get lots more to enroll=Enrollment equals revenue.

    Now on to other fish to fry. Sure, a lot of these are good reasons to hire college students, if you have a well balanced work team to create and achieve. The college student adds to the mix but left alone, scary thought . A company of innovation and creativity will have a good mix of the experienced and the fresh college level. Afterall, it is those of experience who got the company to where it is.
    Remember, even the boy genius has a mentor (an experienced one).
    Balance your workforce and you will find yourself achieving.

  • Keith Halperin

    Here are a couple more:
    1) They’re likely to have to start paying off giant student loans very quickly, so they’ll be very grateful for a decent-paying job.

    2) Assuming they haven’t been frakked over too much already by authority figures, they’re fairly likely to be eager-beaver types willing to drink the noxious Koolaid of corp- speak brewed up by the hype-meisters paid to do such things….i.e., they’re more likely than their more jaded and cynical elders (like me) to whole-heartedly believe the exaggerations, half-truths, and downright lies told to them.


    Keith “Jade: It’s Not Just a Semi-precious Stone” Halperin


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  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/coriadrienne Cori Lee

    I don’t believe Dr. Sullivan writes this to discriminate against more seasoned employees, but rather to remind recruiters that new grads have value as well.

    I am a newer grad, extremely capable, and a high performer, and am continuously turned down because recruiters and hiring managers get hung up on the number of years of experience. For a go-getter, they can gain more valuable experiences in a year than a burned-out, unengaged, uncaring employee can in five years.

    I’ve also seen workplaces get stagnant because they only hire experienced workers that break out in a sweat if their old, comfortable ways of doing things are even remotely challenged. New grads have a place in the workplace when balanced with seasoned workers. They need each other.

  • http://www.jobsclark.com/ Ruby Rocha

    These are good points for hiring fresh grads. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Marcel Devin Rockwell

    Interesting insights on politics I like some of the comments money motives of the schools, exclusion of “experienced” employees when they tell you you need experience to get a job or good pay in other job markets and I guess I am already 10 years of career retention used up so not worth as much as a 22 year old. The thing about implementing these practices is that it causes an upside down system where once your past your expiration date you are threw you have one shot for it as your graduating once and at one point in your life and only if you graduate at 22. Clorox practices these hiring practices with all of their hires and then they “use” other people who didn’t make this small window pay them very little and lead them on to a career path that they can’t ever get enough “experience” for while the high wages of very inexperienced grads drive up inflation and the cost of living with their higher salaries while they take trips to Europe and have instant success I am sure many of the people on the normal track that have to work for far less far longer to earn work experience would be far less bitter had they gotten this treatment coddled and pampered strait out of college 80k starting wages which move up to over 6 figures quickly while they are cheered on by the company with full benefits and lax requirements I am not a hater. I can see the political wheels turning how universities make more money when they provide these kinds of positions how they pay for studies that back it and pay off corporations to implement it. Meanwhile the more companies that do it the less they have to pay more experienced workers because there are less jobs and more experienced people out of work and not making money so they can use supply and demand to exploit them more and contract us for cheap to do the work they don’t want to burden their interns with. Unions do it corps are in on it just looking for my own best way to navigate my way through this political mind field and find a company that appreciates me doesn’t treat me as a subordinate or enslaved by all the corporate corruption and I can gladly give all my dedication and hard work innovation and kum Laude Brain over to for a fair return. Personally I came from another industry that is just as bad I made some mistakes unfortunately in my past and spent a bit of time in prison but am doing all I can to change my life and make it as an honest and rehabilitated man. I can see bad things coming out of this if we don’t wake up. We should have lists of these companies so we know where and how this is going too far and a contractor shouldn’t have to spend 6 months here to find out they can’t get into a perminant position that pays anything very easily through this route.