How College Grads Flub Interviews, Fail On The Job [Infographic]

college grads job mistakes

The current dearth of jobs may seem reason enough for the recent batch of 2 million college graduates to put their best foot forward when interviewing for jobs.

But many of them are failing to make the grade, according to the 2012 "Professionalism in the Workplace Study" from York College of Pennsylvania (via U.S. News & World Report).

The study found:

  • Nearly half don't dress appropriately for job interviews (40 percent).
  • Almost 1 out of 3 show up late for job interviews (29 percent).
  • More than 1 in 4 (26 percent) show up unprepared, failing to adequately research the company to which they were applying.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 exhibit "poor verbal skills," including mangled grammar (23 percent).

The study of more than 600 human-resource professionals and employee supervisors also found younger workers fail to exhibit professionalism on the job. Among new hires, managers noted these four problems in particular:

  • Lack of urgency in getting a job done (reported by 32.6 percent of managers).
  • A sense of entitlement (27.2 percent).
  • Poor job performance coupled with a mediocre work ethic, which may include things such as failing to take initiative or being unreliable (23 percent).
  • Being tardy, leaving early or numerous absences (22.2 percent).

The report further notes that along with the lack of urgency, managers reported that the new employees also didn't effectively manage their time.

Some of those factors also contributed to employees losing their jobs. Of the HR professionals surveyed, 25.7 percent cited a poor work ethic as reason for dismissal, while 22.8 percent reported that IT abuses, which include such things as excessive use of Twitter or Facebook or texting at inappropriate times, led to employees being fired.

Supervisors also listed a poor work ethic (34.8 percent) as their chief reason for firing employees, but poor time management (31.1 percent) and unethical behavior (30.7 percent) were also top reasons that resulted in dismissals.

For more findings from York College of Pennsylvania's 2012 "Professionalism in the Workplace Study," check out the infographic below.

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Joel Rigonan

Our generation is indeed different than the past. Today we have to teach them these things because we want them to learn the best way. Career Confidential can help:

June 01 2012 at 9:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

thirty years ago kids knew what was needed on a job interview. today stupid 101 is a required course

May 28 2012 at 7:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cell Phones texting and face Book is the most important thing work comes second to this new generation

May 28 2012 at 6:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No surprise at all.

May 28 2012 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This does not surprise me at all,. They are ALL part of the Clueless Generation,. I wouldn't hire any of them. Give me an older person with experience, stability, a good work ethic and that will do it every time. Hiring a young person always proves to be a fatal error in judgement.

May 28 2012 at 12:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I have been involved with hiring for 40 years. The kids of today are as bright and motivated as those of any other time, and in many ways better.
I started paying attention to this when we were told of the horrors to be expected when GenX came on the scene. They were great, and so are these new kids 20 years later.

May 27 2012 at 11:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It's kind of scary seeing how all young people are being lumped into the same category. I've run into a few situations where things became noticeably awkward once my young age was revealed. Honestly, I've been told that I work harder than most people my age, never been late to work and was promoted in the first three months of my current job, but the stigma scares me. I don't want to be lumped together like so many mention 'older workers', I don't want that to be what gets someone hired or not, a chance to prove oneself is far more valuable, more hiring companies should employ it.

May 27 2012 at 10:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to valenightwolf's comment

The percentages DON'T LIE, Most of the recent college grads think they should be earning 100 grand a year and not have to work for it.

May 28 2012 at 12:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to victorzeller's comment

Nowhere near "most." Simply a goodly portion.

May 28 2012 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

As an older person, I have noticed these trends as well with younger employees, however many companies are much quicker to hire the younger over the older.

May 27 2012 at 9:06 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dlewis6785's comment

How right you are. There IS age discrimination all over the country.

May 28 2012 at 12:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

There were five kids in my family and we were always held accountable for our actions. If we got in trouble at school, or anywhere else, we got in twice as much at home. My parents did not go running up to the school to defend us every time there was an issue. They did ask us what happened and were very good at cutting to the truth. In addition, we were taught that if someone was paying us a dollar to do something, we should give them a dollar and a half worth of work. We should also work like we owned the company and do everything to make the employer successful. By doing this, we would help the company thrive and we would succeed along with it. We were also told that honesty is the best policy and to respect others. Mom and Dad were not wealthy by any means, but we were never hungry. We had to earn whatever extras we wanted; these things were not freely given. Our parents were not perfect, but they did teach us to take responsibility and how to get along in the world. The current society appears to be teaching young ones that they can have whatever they want whenever they want it and whatever happens, it is not their responsibility; it is always someone else's fault. After everything has been handed to them for their entire young life, it would be difficult for them to move into a world were something is actually expected from them. It is a sad comment on the way many of today's young people are going. But the fault does not lie with schools, law enforcement or anywhere else but at their parents' door. They are the ones who are there to teach values, morals, ethics and common sense to their children from birth. Schools can only do so much. I understand loving your children and wanting the world for them, but it appears the most successful parents are the ones that give their children the ability to stand on their own two feet and make their own way.

May 27 2012 at 6:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Have another one. A lot of applicants call to follow up at odd hours. The latest I had a call for a follow up was 10:58 PM. People calling around 8 PM was also commonplace. Protip - Most offices work 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. Most have a lunch hour around 12 noon. If you call at 4:55 PM and are told to call back tomorrow do not get upset. Call earlier. Show them you are alive from the neck up before noon.

May 27 2012 at 5:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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