Tips for Interviewing Recent Grads

It’s graduation season! If you are a hiring manager that means one important thing for you:  recent grads are entering the workforce and you have to interview them.  Entry-level hiring can be frustrating.  On the one hand you don’t have much to screen and, on the other hand, you know that not just anyone will be a good fit.

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Here are a few tips to help you sort through the new grads:
Screen only on job-relevant criteria 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of screening candidates on qualifications that are not needed for success, such as asking for qualifications above and beyond what is needed or requiring years of experience when skills can be trained on the job. We do this because we’ve been burned before (e.g. verbal altercations or bad attitudes within the probationary period).
You know that you don’t want to hire just anyone but the screening that you’ve done before just isn’t working. Before you start tinkering with that job posting, stop and ask yourself what is really important to the position. This is likely going to be things that are hard to measure with a resume review – things like collaboration, work ethic, dependability, work pace, and service orientation. Assessments can measure these job-critical competencies reliably and easily before you even see the application, leaving you with more time to spend with those candidates who fit your company culture and the target position.
Make your selection process efficient

You’ve received a flurry of applications. Now you have the hiring manager calling to ask if there are any good candidates and you have the sneaking suspicion that not all of the applicants are even interested in the position. The pressure is on to get the spot filled quickly. You are just too busy being busy to think about redefining the process.It may be helpful to ask for an outsider’s perspective. Often we can become so tied to our process that we miss what’s wrong with the way it’s always been done.  It may be helpful to map out your process and start to think about what can be automated.

A few questions you should ask yourself are:

•Can you bring your application online?

•Are you using the application to really screen (knocking out and withdrawing candidates appropriately)?

•Do you have a way to communicate to large groups of candidates and update their records easily?

Take advantage of volume

I want the best candidates for you, I truly do. Unfortunately not every candidate is going to have exactly what you’re looking for. Many times when it comes down to deciding who to move forward there may not be enough “golden child” candidates to meet your needs.
Instead of agonizing over a stack of resumes, let your selection process do some of that work for you. Your application and various types of automated assessments can screen out candidates based on job-relevant information leaving you with fewer applications to review. Best of all, you have the data to support the selection decision (vs. that oh-no feeling that comes along with gambling on the best resume).
Ask about their likes and dislikes

Many times we’re so busy screening out candidates based on their background that we forget to think about whether or not they would actually like working in the position or for our organization. Or you may feel like dressing up the position to get higher-quality candidates. Unfortunately both of these lead to selecting candidates that that may soon become dissatisfied.
The solution here is easy:  ask the candidates what they prefer, and then compare it to what the job actually offers. You may end up losing a few candidates, but those are likely to be the candidates that would have turned over quickly (but not before wasting valuable selection and training dollars).
Don’t be scared of new grads.  They can bring fresh new ideas to your organization, but only if you find the right fit. So use these tips in preparation for those new grad interviews – you’ll be glad you did.

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