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Talent assessment: when are Young Graduates too young?

We have recently analysed the assessment data of the young graduates from our corporate customers on a meta level. The psychological profile of candidates who manage to reach the final phase of the selection process, provides us with the following information:

The intellectual capabilities of young graduates add tempo to the business!

Compared to candidates of academic average ability, this group has a much greater analytical potential. On all fronts. They score much higher on verbal analytical skills, mainly because they’re faster. Their numeric reasoning is better, because they are able to process numerical information quicker and more accurately. Their thinking is more logically structured because they analyse information carefully.
Their analytical emphasis is also evident in their personality structure. These top talents are more likely than most managers and professionals to address issues with an analytical and conceptual approach. Moreover, they are better at doing so, and it comes more naturally to them.

They are creative, and inclined to adopt an out-of-the-box approach.

It is noticeable that this group has a particular ability for conceptual reasoning. And they often apply this ability with greater ease, more broader and more in-depth than the average academic. They also score higher in creative reasoning. It is not the case that they come up with solutions more smoothly, or that they switch with greater ease, but what stands out is their capacity to come up with original solutions. They are better at thinking out-of-the-box.

Their tolerance of frustration has its limits

Then there’s an interesting dilemma: these potential top talents are ambitious, focussed and have a strong will to solve issues. They look for a rapidly changing environment, they need impulse and activity. And they cope easily with change. But at the same time, their self-management skills are lacking and they’re not particularly autonomous. They need direction and clear instructions.
What they really want is to belong. They also want to experience a sense of security and harmonious working relationships. They rarely lead others, or take decisions that impact others. They often keep to themselves, and spend very limited time focused on others.
They are extremely careful in their work and also focus on details. Except when the situation is unclear or is not challenging enough for them. Frustration due to ambiguity or boredom results in limited control over impulses, and they quickly go off the rails. Ambiguity in the working environment leads to carelessness and disorganised behaviour. Boredom results in taking excessive risks. Behaving like immature teenagers.

Do’s & don’ts

So, here are a few do’s and don’ts for when it comes to employing young graduates

Do’s

  • Get them to solve challenging problems
  • Take their ideas seriously and appeal to their innovative ability
  • Offer support within a safe and clear culture

Don’ts

  • Confront them with issues beneath their level
  • Leave their creativity under-used
  • Leave them to find their own way, without guidance
  • Have them start off in an environment with internal politics and conflict

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