With summer around the corner, many college graduates are in the market for full-time jobs. And with the unemployment rate for recent college graduates at only 2.5% as of January 2017, it’s a job seekers market. There are many advantages to hiring recent college graduates. Many of them are extremely driven and anxious to get out into the working world. They are also quick learners, can offer a fresher perspective than a more seasoned worker, and since they are just beginning their career they aren’t likely to demand an outrageously high salary.
But when recruiting recent college graduates for entry level positions, there are a few things to keep in mind. Since recent college graduates don’t have as much experience as older workers, you need to interview them a little differently to properly assess their fitness for the position. Here are a few tips for interviewing recent college graduates:
- Don’t be afraid to use a little business terminology the candidate may not be aware of. If they ask what it means, that’s a good sign. It shows they are curious and eager to learn.
- Before the interview, take steps to make the candidate feel comfortable. Explain to them what the interview and hiring process entails so they have some idea of what to expect. Introduce them to a few people they would be working with if they got the job, and give them a quick tour of the office before you begin interviewing.
- Cut them some slack if they make some amateur interview mistakes. Examples of these mistakes include nervousness and lack of eye contact, forgetting a notebook or pen, or taking a little longer to answer questions. More major mistakes that shouldn’t be ignored include not asking questions, lack of company research and showing up late to the interview.
Interview Questions for Recent College Graduates
To give you an idea of how the interview should go, here are some examples of interview questions for recent college graduates:
1) Give me an example of a situation in school or a past job where you displayed leadership qualities.
One of the most important areas to assess when interviewing any candidate is determining whether they will be leadership material for your organization in the future. When you present this question to a recent college graduate, a good response would be discussing situations from their past education, work, extracurricular activities or volunteer experience where they were able to influence and motivate those around them. You can probe further by inquiring what the results were (Was there any specific action that was taken? Were they able to produce a noticeable change in a positive way?).
2) Describe a situation in college where you had a disagreement with your professor or didn’t like his or her teaching style. What caused the conflict to arise, and how was it resolved?
It’s important that you use interview questions for recent college graduates that assess the candidate’s emotional intelligence (their ability to manage the emotions of themselves and others). Emotional intelligence is essential when hiring recent college graduates, since it allows them to communicate effectively and work well with others. This question will give you an idea of how the candidate handles conflict and responds to authoritative figures. If they seem to put all the fault on the professor and take no responsibility for the conflict, it’s a sign the candidate may be difficult to manage.
3) Explain how you juggled your schedule during hectic times at school such as final exams.
When recruiting recent college graduates for entry level positions, it’s good to get an idea of their time management skills. On the job, there is likely to be times when they will have multiple deadlines to meet. Find out how they managed time with school projects and exams, and how a typical school day was structured for them. If the candidate has held a job before, ask how they planned their time out each day and prioritized their tasks on the job.
4) What aspects of the job and the company are you most drawn to?
When hiring recent college graduates, it’s important to evaluate whether they have a possible future with your company. You want to make sure they are thinking beyond just a paycheck, are really interested in the position and want to grow with the company. By including this among your interview questions for recent college graduates, you also get to see if the candidate did their homework and researched the company.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.