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Do Grades Really Matter For Fresh Grads When Applying For A Job?

We interviewed recruitment specialists from various fields, and here are their answers
by Khatrina Bonagua | Apr 20, 2017
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Congratulations! You’ve just graduated from college! Now what?

If you finished your course with flying colors, chances are, you’re confident enough to apply for that dream job. On the other hand, what if you have lousy grades? Are your chances of getting hired lower? 

We interviewed several recruitment specialists and asked them if grades are important when it comes to hiring fresh graduates. Here’s what they had to say:

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“For new graduates, grades can be a particularly important indicator of work ethics, since they have no experience at all. Also, entry-level job seekers have become more competitive now with recent college graduates, grad school graduates, and experienced applicants vying for the same positions. So when all else fails, we really take school performance into consideration.” – Mika, HR Specialist for 7 years

“For the fresh graduates, yes, I still consider the transcript of records because that is the ‘easy’ basis on how the person performs. But as years go by, it's becoming obsolete and the basis should come from the person's past job experience.” – Ajel, HR Manager, Animation Vertigo Asia, Inc.

“It actually depends on the job you are applying for. If it's for a highly-skilled job and you have no prior work experience, we assess the applicant through his/her grades. As for entry-level jobs, grades are just a percentage of what is considered.” – Kim, HR Specialist for 10 years

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“For fresh graduates, high grades do actually give them an edge, as it shows how seriously they took their studies. But aside from grades, some other important factors we look at are activities na sinalihan nya nung na sa school pa siya. By doing this, we get an idea of how you managed your time (and stress) as you balance your schoolwork and play. Plus, we’re able to get a glimpse of your personality, which, for us, is more important than grades.” – Paul, Recruitment Specialist, PSG Global Solutions


“It really depends. For one, if the applicant is experienced enough and has all the skills needed for that certain position, grades don't matter at all. Sometimes, extracurricular activities actually have more weight, especially when it comes to creative jobs.” –Marcus, HR Specialist for 5 years

“If you are fresh graduate, usually, grades really do matter. Let’s say, you are applying for an accounting role, I normally check how good that person was with his accounting subjects. Next to it are what we call the ‘soft skills’ and other concerning factors such as location and of course, salary expectation. On the other hand, sometimes, we also hire depending on the applicant’s school. For example, we’re looking for engineers, then, maghahanap kami ng applicant na graduate from a university that is known for producing the best Engineering graduates, regardless of whether that individual has high grades or not.” – Emily, Recruitment and Staffing Specialist, Tangent International

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“Having high grades gets our attention, but we assess the candidate more during the interview. One time, we hired a fresh grad who had average grades instead of the one who graduated Cum Laude, as the former had to work part-time to be able to send himself to school. We're impressed by those things. We always look for people who can juggle multiple responsibilities, knows the reality of being employed, and has the drive to succeed.” – Ana, HR Specialist for 8 years

“For me, grades are just 20 percent of the hiring decision. The 80 percent is all about how they sell themselves. The interview part is more important, as this is their chance to tell their story. They can compensate for their ‘bad’ grades with a compelling story. I can’t reiterate this enough, but grades and the school they graduated from are not important. What matters most are your work ethics, your willingness to learn, and the way you deal with people.” – Mark, HR Specialist for 13 years.

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