Hiring tips: How to assess a recent graduate

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Hiring tips: How to assess a recent graduate


Recent graduates don’t have the same resume as experienced job applicants. That means when they apply for a job, you’ll have to look at things aside from their past experience to determine whether they have the right skills and culture fit to suit the position. These 5 hiring tips will help you ensure you recruit the right person for the job.

1. Evaluate for skills by looking at education history

There are many ways you can evaluate for skills without an extensive work history. For example, look at your candidate’s major, and their class list. Does his or her major coincide with the position you’re hiring for, or is a math major applying for a graphic design position? Ideally, most of the classes that your candidates take relate to tasks they will be doing for your company. You can also look at the workshops they attended and any volunteer experience.

2. Observe behavior and communication style

Look very carefully at how your candidate responds to your emails during the application phase. Did he or she follow application instructions? Is it clear they researched the company beforehand? Observe the language they use in their cover letters, any email communication, and resume; make sure their material is free of spelling or grammar errors, and they are polite and professional. You should also look at their response time; if they reply to your email weeks later, they probably aren’t putting the job high on their priority list.

3. Ask for experience in the interview

The interview can tell you a lot about your candidates. Look at what they do while waiting; are they reviewing their resume or reading a magazine? Did they come on time, or were they late? Pay attention to how well they communicate, especially if they’re trying to fill a communication role or have to interact with customers. You should also ask them about the last time they solved a problem, an example of when they had to take responsibility for something, and a story about when they demonstrated leadership. What they say will give insight into how they’ll handle problems in a professional setting.

4. Get their references

Even if they haven’t worked at a paid position before, students can still get letters of recommendation from their professors. Get their list of references and make some calls to find out what kind of student your candidate was, his or her work ethic, whether there were any problems, and more.

5. Give them a test task

If you have a good idea of your candidate and his or her skills, it’s a good idea to assign a test task just to double check. Ask your candidate to complete a short, paid job related to what the job role is. For example, if you’re hiring for a communications position, have candidates draft emails for customer outreach. If you’re hiring for a programming position, have them troubleshoot a recent error.

What are your hiring tips for recent graduates? Share them with us in the comments below!

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