Blame it on “The Social Network,” on Zuckerberg and Musk, on Uber, Instagram and Twitter. Now more than ever, the possibilities of entrepreneurship and self-employment are incredibly appealing to new graduates. The possibilities of a billion-dollar payday for executing on their ideas without the confining structures of an existing business can be quite attractive.
While they might be inclined to either build or join a startup, joining an established business is not something an entrepreneurial college student would consider if the conditions were right. These students are among the most talented in their class, and their insights and risk taking can help push your business to the next level. Attracting this type of talent is vital for the future of your company. Universum, an employer branding service provider, surveyed entrepreneurial-minded students all over the globe. Here are a few things it found in this process.
Entrepreneurial graduates are different from their counterparts in that they value creative freedom and professional autonomy above all other characteristics. Generally, most college graduates value having work-life balance above all else, but that is a secondary concern for entrepreneurial students (although they still consider it important). This is great news for HR departments that are looking for creative thinkers to breathe new life into all elements of their businesses. Entrepreneurial graduates are confident and want to be tested and to test their own ideas in the real world.
However, it is also important to note that entrepreneurial candidates also highly value job security. This is an advantage for an established business like yours in attracting this type of talent. A startup cannot guarantee employment security where a more established business can. This is an important thing to take into account when considering your employer marketing strategy.
To entrepreneurial students, choosing an employer is about future possibilities rather than past performance. They want to know that your product lines are new, exciting and primed to last for the long haul. They want to know that they can take a leadership position in your company and that you prioritize innovation above all else. Candidates also want to know that they are in a position to learn and keep up to date on the most current processes and technology. While they don’t value becoming experts in anything, entrepreneurial candidates highly value training. This distinction is not surprising because by the time anyone can become an expert in anything, a new technology or process replaces it. It is better to become familiar and competent in any given process and remain flexible enough to learn the next iteration that comes along.
The key is creativity with a safety net. Entrepreneurial candidates want to explore their creative urges, but they want the security of a biweekly check that won’t disappear if something goes wrong. That is something an established business like yours can offer that a startup cannot. What you might need to work on is creating an employer brand that emphasizes innovation and autonomy, which can be hard for an established business to do. You might consider starting out by hiring individuals as independent contractors for specific projects to give the candidates more autonomy or highlight expedited leadership tracts so new candidates can gain high-level experience faster. These are just a few tactics you might want to look into.
For more detailed insights into the entrepreneurial candidate’s mindset, download Universum’s e-book on the subject here. If you need help to develop your own employer brand so that you can appeal to entrepreneurial candidates, consider reaching out to Universum. We are HR experts and can help you craft your brand to your needs.