It’s that time of year when many people are ending one chapter of their life and getting ready to start a new one outside of school. And, while they may have picked their degree major, they don’t always know what they want to do in the real-world workplace. So, how do you find those new graduates that will be great assets for the company? Wouldn’t we all like to have a crystal ball to tell us which candidate would be the best fit? Employers typically have 45 minutes to an hour to determine if someone is a good fit for the job they are interviewing for. Unfortunately, some great employees don’t interview well and some not-so-great employees interview extremely well. Here are some qualities to look for during an interview:
- Can the applicant problem solve?
- Do they handle high pressure situations well?
- Do they have the interpersonal skills to work well with the team and communicate with clients?
- Are they teachable?
While many new graduates may not have a lot of work experience, there are a handful of good questions to ask during the interview process to help you find those diamonds in the rough. With employee turnover costs ranging anywhere between 50-200% of an employee’s salary, it is imperative to ask the right questions to make sure you get the best possible talent. Here are a few of our management team’s favorite questions:
”What is the biggest cause of stress in your day, and how do you handle it?” While this may seem like a simple enough question, there may be more to it than what meets the eye. According to data from Harris Interactive’s Work Stress Study, 83% of Americans have identified at least one problem that causes them stress at work. As this number has slowly risen over the last decade, it is more important than ever to make sure that new graduates can make the conversion from student to full-time employee with a job that has daily or even intra-daily deadlines to meet. These deadlines can be a major stressor throughout the day, which makes it important for the interviewee to demonstrate their ability to manage these high pressure situations in a calm and calculated manner.
Can the candidate problem solve? Finding out a candidates’ ability to problem solve can be a challenge, but asking about specific past experiences is a good way to see how they handled various situations. A couple that we like to use are, “What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it?” Or, “Tell me about a tough decision you have made in the past and how you went about making it.” The situation itself doesn’t have to be as meaningful as the process they go through to resolve it. Sometimes it takes follow up questions to really get the thought process they took to reach a conclusion or resolution.
Another favorite is a classic, “Why should we hire you over somebody else?” This question gives the candidate an opportunity to show what makes them unique. Essentially, this should be their elevator pitch – hopefully it is concise and to the point, yet differentiated enough to show that they will fit in with the team and the company’s culture. Best yet, this is a good question in general for incoming graduates, as it allows them the opportunity to use prior experiences as a differentiator.
It’s important to ask enough questions to determine if they will fit in with your company culture, have the right skill set to do the job, and are motivated to learn more about the position and the company to be able to succeed. Finding the right person for the job is not easy, but if you take the right approach you will find the next great team member!