Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Wannabe Clever College Graduate

Time and Newsweek are dinosaurs in the news publishing business today.  Rarely do either ever accomplish any investigative journalism or in-depth analysis.  This week, Time pulled one brief five-star article out of the bag and noted a trend in America.  We aren't hiring college-graduates at the level we were a decade ago.  There's problems brewing, and the hiring mechanism in America is looking suspiciously over at colleges being at fault.

It's a good read, if you have ten minutes.

The emphasis of the whole piece?

Kids arrive at some company after four years, and HR with the management staff discover that the kid can't write to any technical level or comprehensive level.

Then they discover that the kid after four years....can't think critically or decisively.

Then they discover creativity isn't one of the positive skills that the kid developed at some twenty-five-thousand-dollar a year university.

Solving problems?  The kid doesn't seem to grasp that talent or skill.  Whatever was mentioned in various classes to problem-solving.....was just a marginal exercise of sorts.

Then HR and the management guys get around to their favorite topic of team-play.  It was a big deal back in the 1970s and 1980s.  Guys showed up and could pick up the slack.  They saw themselves as part of the staff and team.  They wanted the team to "win".  That unique talent....isn't being noticed with the new group of university graduates.

Organizing and planning?  Well....it was a great talent to have a decade ago.  A kid went though the university process....knew class timelines, schedules, and the demands of class projects.  This all translated over to success as they came into the companies.  Today?  It's not a skill seen often.

My brother, the engineer, always notes the new crowd doing interviews each spring.  Attire or lack of professional attire....usually comes up as a point of humor.  After four years of college, it seems that half the kids have no suit or professional-skirt for the interview.

I listened to a DC manager comment last year that he had to interview two dozen young graduates one day.  Each barely got ten minutes to introduce themselves and say something beyond their resume.  It was summer, hot, and most of the young ladies dressed in some gimmick dress that was acceptable for a college campus but not a job interview.  Several wore flip-flops.  He just didn't see reasoning to hire those folks.

It's hard to say what has happened to the American university system in the past decade or two.  Some individuals have taken the class requirements and turned them into clever gimmicks....pretending that the kid is gaining some great insight to Julius Caesar, philosophy by Plato, teamwork by Vince Lombardi, creativity by Thomas Edison, and determination by the Roman Empire.

Motivation?  It's mostly to move from high school to a four-year university, graduate with a critical piece of paper, and get hired on with some company that thinks you are clever and smart.  Naturally, good pay figures into this scheme.

The companies?  They review the kid, his certificate, and answers to the interview.  Rather than hire a loser and hope on mentoring him into a halfway decent employee....they just skip that kid, and the billet goes unfilled for weeks....maybe months.

Yeah, our lack of mentoring skills has disappeared from the business world as well.  Half the guys working for companies today....can't mentor.  They actually offer classes now....trying to teach guys and gals how to mentor......as if it was a teachable skill.

The end result?  In a couple of years....someone will notice a fair number of college graduates working management jobs at a car-rental shop at some airport.  It was a manager's job that used to be for high school graduates, and we've cheapen it enough....with an abundance of unhirable college grad's at the door.....and just accepted it as normal.

In a decade, it'll be normal to hire college graduates to run fish-and-bait shops, write menu packages for restaurants, and manage theaters.  There's something wrong here.....but it's best not to tell the university folks they've screwed up big-time.

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