So I had to terminate a few of our new hires who were fresher out of college earlier this week. We weren't their first employers by any means, but their first serious foray into their chosen field. Their biggest issues largely had to deal with overall professionalism and work ethic. Jumping out of the office right at 5 even though their work wasn't spotted up, completely botching tasks where they didn't have their hands held (despite having supervisors show them exactly how to do these tasks prior), and a general inability to grow or improve themselves beyond what was directly spoonfed to them by their supervisors and colleagues.
I have to be honest in saying that there's an odd catch-22 that I've noticed with college grads lately. If you don't hire a college grad, the alternatives tend to have a harder time thinking critically or abstractly. They learn patterns really damn well, but they don't know why there's a pattern. College grads (especial the fresher ones) tend to have all the skills and talent necessary to make a big impact, but can't seem to put it together cohesively or in a way that is beneficial for employers.
In general I feel like colleges need to place more of an emphasis on professionalism, work ethic, and the ability to perform in mission critical circumstances. I've hired people from the Cal States, UC's, and the local private colleges and most have suffered from deficiencies in these areas. Of course there are always the exceptions and as an employer I do expect younger people to need some time adjusting, so this isn't to say that all fresh college grads are unemployable. Just what shocks me is this complete disconnect between the notion of being highly paid and having to take on real responsibility/performing at a high level. It's like no has ever told these people at any point in time that in order to make a decent amount of money (let alone hold a job) they have to push themselves. I'm really confused as to how this message wasn't very thoroughly embedded into them at college.
For instance, one of the people I let go was a design student from one of the top design schools here in SoCal. They had a great portfolio, tons of talent, and I know the program itself tends to be pretty rigorous. Yet they were completely outperformed by a temp intern who has been working at home depot the past 3 years and is putting themselves through college right now. It just completely blows my mind how such discrepancies in performance occur like that. It wasn't even like this temp intern was just an exceptionally hard worker, the temps' solutions were way smarter, more unique, and creative than what the design grad could come up with.
If there is one indicator for future performance that I've keyed in on...people from private high schools have been performing phenomenally for me. They work hard, think critically, rarely have interpersonal or workplace issues. I think part of this success has to do with the demanding nature of private high schools...but more fully has to deal with the family environments that these people grew up in. As far as I am concerned, someone from a private school is almost a no-brainer assuming they don't exhibit any immediate red flags or qualification deficiencies.
As a whole, because I know there are parents that roam these boards, from an employer's perspective please do not just focus on the college that your son and daughter has gotten in to. You can blow $200,000 on their education at a top notch private college and they can still turn out to be completely unemployable. Focus on teaching them a good work ethic and an ability to self improve and grow. Without those skills being shown every single day, your child will have a very difficult and limited future ahead of them regardless of the college that they get into.