Hiring fresh grads and entry-level candidates – It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it!
If you’re a manager tasked with qualifying and hiring candidates who have limited or no work experience, the quandary always is – How do I determine the best-suited candidate for the job?
Let’s assume that you know what aptitudes, attitudes, skills and knowledge you’re looking for in an entry-level hire. You have a well-written job description with minimum qualifications, requirements and responsibilities laid out so you can describe them to any candidate and provide necessary explanations. You know what your fundamental expectations are – what they should be capable of learning, performing, and accomplishing in an average hour, day, week, once they become proficient. You know what training to provide to get them up to speed and about how long it will take to become reasonably proficient.
Great. Now what do you talk about in the interview?
Interviews with entry-level candidates always present a quandary. You ask yourself – What do we talk about? What has the candidate done that can qualify them for my job? Instead of looking for specific work examples, talk about situations that can indicate one’s values, work ethics, attention to detail, leadership, stick-to-it-tive-ness, etc. How do I identify the characteristics that may be strong indicators of a successful hire?
Asking behavioral, situational and open-ended questions will help identify how the candidate acts and reacts to different scenarios and circumstances. Those answers may reveal how an individual handles stress, communicates with others, manages their time and emotions, and demonstrates qualities and traits that you may value, as it applies to the job you’re trying to fill.
We’ve listed some general questions to get you started, but you will likely come up with others, especially ones that might align more specifically to your business and job. Pick and choose the ones that you feel work best for you and change the order up as you see fit. Over the course of your candidate interviews, these questions turn into conversations and can ultimately yield insights that allow you to make the most informed hiring choices.
- What was your favorite class and why?
- What was your least favorite class and why?
- Tell me about your internships or class projects that would demonstrate your knowledge or ability to perform our job.
- What were a few of the most valuable lessons or skills that you learned from that experience?
- How would your boss (if you had a job or internship) or professors describe you?
- Did you belong to a sorority or fraternity? What kinds of activities did you participate in? What was your role?
- Have you done any volunteer work? What kind and what was your role?
- Give me an example of a situation where you went above and beyond, what was required of you? What was the strong motivating factor that made you react that way?
- Are you a team player? Give me an example.
- Have you ever had a conflict with a boss, professor or co-worker or classmate? How was it resolved?
- Tell me about someone that you respect and why.
- Tell me what your best strengths are, as well as your biggest weaknesses.
- Tell me about something that you’ve done that you are proud of.
- Tell me about a situation or outcome that was not what you wanted or hoped for. If you had the chance to do it over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?
- What are your long-term career goals?
- Why should I hire you?
- What questions do you have for me about the job itself?
- What else should I know about you that we have not talked about?
If you are a hiring manager and you’d like a one-on-one coaching session, feel free to reach out and contact Linda Nicholls at 630-637-6200.