With the arrival of summer comes a new wave of college graduates into the labor force. The influx of talent makes a seller's market for employers with entry-level positions, but finding the right fit for your organization among the thousands of potential applicants presents unique challenges.
Even the most experienced, recent college graduate will typically lack the work experience of the average mid-career candidate. In that regard, hiring a recent grad comes with inherently high risk. As an employer, your duty is mitigating the risk as much as possible. The following guideline can help you get started to find the ideal newcomer for your organization.
Find Out Why A Recent Grad Went Into A Particular Field of Study
Let's be honest: Some college students major in certain disciplines for suspect reasons. No applicant will admit she or he pursued a degree because the coursework was "easy," or to have classes with friends. However, the recent graduate's enthusiasm for the industry should be evident.
A student's motivation for pursuing a specific discipline can provide excellent insight into the kind of employee she or he will be. A recent graduate who expresses genuine passion for their major will tackle a job with greater energy, and likely be more open to learning new skills. This applicant is also less likely to job-hop.
Consider starting an interview with a recent graduate with this simple yet telling question: "Why do you want to get into this line of work?"
Learn How Skills Needed for Other Jobs Apply to Your Vacancy
For many college students, balancing a job with her or his studies is often more about earning a paycheck than gaining career experience. Holding employment while working toward a degree is a positive indicator in and of itself; this demonstrates initiative and discipline.
A part-time job can also set the foundation for preparing an entry-level employee. The typical part-time job teaches basic skills like internal communication, teamwork and dealing with clients.
No One Is Perfect
Since this will presumably one of the first, if not the first career-oriented interview a recent grad faces, she or he might not feel comfortable admitting to weaknesses. Encourage the applicant to find strength in weakness by asking for specific examples of how she or he improved as a student, as an employee, perhaps even as an athlete.
Have them take you through the process: When did the weakness become evident to the applicant? Did the applicant seek advice from an expert directly, read up on the subject, watch tutorials on YouTube? How was she or he able to measure improvement?
An entry-level employee will almost assuredly make mistakes. How the employee addresses the mistakes will be the true measure of her or his success.