Blogs & Videos

Executive Corner – 2022 Graduates: 4 Things to Consider When Selecting Your Employer

Michael Clegg | 06/09/2022


I will likely never have the opportunity to give a keynote at anyone’s graduation, so I will take this opportunity and use my newsletter to speak to the 2022 graduates and give you 4 things to look for in your employer. Additionally, I will talk to the leaders in the crowd since they play an essential role in developing these graduates.

Four TIPS to consider when selecting your employer:

  1. An organization that values a mentorship program
  • Professional environments are very different from academia, where much of your efforts was about making yourself better
  • Professional settings are about adding value to others, and you need someone to guide you to “what good looks like”
  • Coaching, coaching, and more coaching (be coachable because if you are not, I will NOT hire you)

2. Values psychological safety

  • Psychological Safety is an underrated organizational trait that allows employees to be themselves
  • Freedom to make and learn from mistakes without retaliation
  • Willing to take risks
  • Trust in your teammates and leaders

3. Applies a focus on continuous improvement

  • Employers that work to improve and move forward constantly
  • Those who practice this often navigate tough times better than those averse to change

4. Lives their values and purpose

  • Employers have values that often create expectations that drive tasks leading to their North Star.
  • Ask questions in the interview to test their response. All organizations have a set of values and usually a mission statement, but those are just banners that hang on the wall only. 

“Can you tell me things that you do on a day-to-day basis that is in line with your corporate values?”

Recent grads have the world staring at them with opportunity. The previous two “covid graduates” had a very different outlook. These graduates’ outlook is better than their predecessors. Almost 30% of employers plan to hire more recent graduates than in previous years. We are still at historically low-interest rates, even though rates have nearly doubled in the last year. Inflation is at generational highs and shows no signs of stopping. Economic uncertainty could deter organizations in the future if it’s not curtailed or slowed. For the time being, the labor market is on fire. We could be in the middle of a recession, yet there is still a significant labor shortage, which is a HUGE benefit to graduates.

After you find your ideal organization, there are a few things that you should pay close attention to once you begin employment. Early in my career, I was fortunate to learn how vital “Image and Exposure” is. Others think about you based on your reputation for performance and professionalism. You can read about that here and find nine things that you can do to help you build your “Image and Exposure.” The primary takeaway is that performance only accounts for a small percentage of your overall professional success.


Employers, this Wall Street Journal article of a recent survey may provide you with shocking data that is counter to those already in the workforce. There will be some expectations that you need to consider for those entering the workforce.

  • 89% of graduates want to work in an office in a hybrid format after being locked down due to covid
  • 40% expect a promotion within the first year of employment

Create career ladders for these new hires to focus them on a growth path.

  • 40% need to have a sense of belonging
  • Identify a mentor before onboarding
  • Have regular 1x1s and performance and professional development discussions

If you want more information and how to create a program to retain these new hires, visit here for my Workplace Culture document. You will find a step-by-step program with specific instructions.

Finally, if there is one piece of advice I can pass you, graduates, seek to learn and challenge yourself continuously. When fear strikes, don’t let it paralyze you. Once you let it, it will be easier to control you for the rest of your career and life. Every time you complete something that you were afraid to do provides you with growth. 

Subscribe on LinkedIn