Interviewing Entry Level Candidates

September 14th, 2012

Interviewing entry level candidates requires completely different assessments than interviewing experienced employees. Someone just out of college or who has never worked in your industry before will not be able to reference certain information. Here are several ways you can get the most out of an entry level interview.

  1. Provide Prompts. It is quite possible that an entry level candidate has never interviewed in a professional setting before. Manage expectations – both theirs and yours. Tell them what you want to hear in an answer such as “give me an example of a difficult class project you worked on.”
  2. Assess their organizational and time management skills. These are universal traits. These are also not aspects that a young adult can learn if they don’t already possess them. Ask them questions about balancing school work with a part time job.
  3. Assess their problem solving skills. This is another example of a skill that cannot be learned. If a young adult or other entry level candidate has not learned to deal with conflict or is unable to problem solve without panicking, they may not be a match for a corporate position, even an entry level one. Ask them how they might have dealt with an awkward customer at a part time job or if they’ve had to defend their position in a paper or project.
  4.  Assess communication skills. Every business wants their employees to be effective communicators, both in written form and in person. This will be easy enough to determine based on their effectiveness at interviewing. Pay attention to grammar and language usage. Ask the candidate to send over either a short cover letter before your first meeting or a follow up thank you note afterward.
  5. Assess soft skills. Soft skills are essential building blocks of a successful employee. They encompass many of the aspects above but also things like being able to work well with a team, being reliable and on time, and be able to process information from various, and often differing, sources. These are the most difficult to evaluate in an interview. Even though you’re assessing things that may not be apparent in a short interview, ask them concrete questions. Have they worked with a team before; sports for instance? Do they have trouble being somewhere on time?
  6. Assess their motivation. Finally, you need to understand how motivating the entry level employee is. It is a huge red flag if someone does not express an interest in moving up within a company. Ask them questions about their previous achievements in school. Ask them questions about what types of projects they are excited to work on to determine what inspires them to do better work.

Are you looking for a staffing partner who understands how to evaluate soft skills for new employees? Contact Meador Staffing today to see how we can help you!