Entry Level? Be flexible and opportunistic!

· by Herb Dew

Herb is the CEO of HTI. He founded HTI in 1999 along with John Knight and David Sewell, and remains heavily involved in the organization today.
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At HTI we see hundreds of recent college grads every year looking for their first job out of school. They have been brain washed into thinking that they will move into management in a year, or that they should start at $45,000 plus per year. Or that they might get a company car. Or that they can negotiate for three weeks of vacation. These expectations are often unrealistic for entry level positions.

I had one kid who asked if he would have a travel allowance.

Another asked about their path to promotion. First question. And he prefaced it exactly that way. Sort of like a medical procedure being outlined. I remember this clearly because I actually laughed when he asked it. I did NOT hire him.

I always tell all entry level college grads to be open minded. The dirty little secret that those of us in recruiting all know is “once you pick your first job with your first company, thats what you will be marketable at in your next job search.” So new grads, pick wisely, it is the label you will carry for the rest of your career. You can still change careers after your first job, but its WAY harder.

When your looking at companies be flexible. Look at the company and their potential for growth. Do their employees look happy? Is the job appealing? Is it fun? (work CAN be fun by the way) Does the company appear committed to training? Were they organized and informative on the interview? Did you like the people?

Money is far less important to me that the above mentioned things. Money will come. If the company is good and you will like your job you are far more likely to be successful. When looking at a company be open minded. Be opportunistic! What do I mean? Look for companies that are growing rapidly, are open about needing good, trainable people, and that have a product or service that interests you. My first employer out of school was a well known regional staffing company that was growing like crazy. I had a computer science degree but was refered to this company because they might see jobs I would like. I interviewed and all of a sudden was in the recruiting business. I loved it on sight and have never looked back. I was opportunistic!

Herb Dew