Yes, for the most part companies do care about your grades when hiring. That’s why you put your GPA on your resume if it shows you in a positive light, and don’t if it’s a negative aspect. But, is your GPA the most important thing they care about? Or even one of the most important? It depends.
Three Important Signs From Your College GPA
Employers are forced to look at your GPA, because that is one of the only “objective” metrics available that shows your ability to succeed in the position. Certainly it is more objective for students with the same major in the same school. And your grade point average tells three important signs about you, as a potential future employee.
Sign 1: Candidates with a high GPA over a 3.5 show very high competence, and anything over a 3.0 GPA shows competence. Employers want to hire people they know are capable of doing the job.
Sign 2: In college, most students are forced to take general classes that they aren’t interested in or familiar with. So, your GPA partly tells if you can learn a large amount of information in a short amount of time. If you have good grades, there is an assumption that you can quickly learn and apply yourself. A company desires an employee who can come into an unfamiliar environment and learn fast.
Sign 3: Minimizing risk is always one of the top priorities in business, and hiring a candidate with a high GPA as an intern or full-time employee is less of a gamble. It’s safer to assume that a candidate with better grades is more organized and hard-working than one with a lower grade point average, whether that is or isn’t fair. It’s how it is.
From My Experiences
I’ve found that your GPA is mainly used as a screening process for interviews in the recruitment stage. This makes sense. If I was in charge of hiring at a large banking firm with thousands of applications, it would take too much time and money to interview each candidate. So, the only option is to cut off by each applicant’s GPA. The next step would be to interview the prospects and see who is competent and has a personality that fits within the company.
Personally, my high GPA produced many interviews, but not a single offer. No one saw my GPA and instantly gave me the internship or job. I needed to interview well to receive an offer. Thus, the interview process—where a company evaluates your potential fit in its culture and your ability to market yourself—is the most important aspect in getting an offer.
Knowing that employers do care about GPAs, how can you improve for when it is time to find a job? First, work on improving your GPA or maintaining your GPA if it is already high. Preparing well for tests is a great way to raise your GPA. Once your GPA is up to par in order to get interviews, you will want to focus on the interview process. Exceed in one or two extracurricular activities that you can talk in length about during an interview. Practice interviewing with yourself, a family member, or friend. You can find previous interview questions that the company asked at glassdoor.com. This is extremely helpful. You can’t over practice for an interview. Whatever you do, be yourself, and don’t be awkward.
If you have a low GPA and not much time to improve, there are other ways to impress hiring managers. Do you have a unique internship where you performed exceptionally? A leadership experience where you overcame a difficult situation? Find your strength and market it as the reason you would succeed in the position.