What to look for when hiring college graduates

In business, hiring new recruits is crucial to success — they bring fresh thinking and can challenge the existing paradigms of your corporation. A steady stream of prospective employees is likely knocking on your door daily, and even more so around summer time when college and university students finish their final year.

As a recruitment officer, it’s your responsibility to bring in the talent. With so many resumes and applications to decipher, what should you look for, to ensure you interview — and ultimately hire — the best possible candidate?

Evidence of critical and strategic thinking

Use your application process to pose salient questions, requiring candidates to evidence strategic thinking and the ability to address both sides of an argument. You’re not so much looking for the individual’s ethics or values here, but their capacity to form and deliver their point of view in a creative and compelling way.

The ability to work in a team

An applicant’s college experience will illustrate if they are a team player — whether they played a team sport, or performed in college stage shows, you want employees who understand and respect the significance of working together towards a shared goal.

Look for specialized degrees

Most resumes include an abundance of experience, however, you need to learn how to filter out what isn’t relevant and focus on what is useful. While many people will mention all their experiences, if someone only has leadership skills as a secondary skillset and no actual qualification in this area, then you may have to find someone else who does have the qualifications you’re looking for.

If you feel you need more information, then research the institution where they received their further education. While some colleges offer a multitude of degrees, some colleges have a more focused curriculum, so their students can specialize in certain fields. For instance, if you’re looking for a new head teacher, then someone who has studied at NEC (New England College) and undergone a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) could have more honed in leadership skills than someone who didn’t.

Resilience

‘Resilience’ is defined as the ability to withstand the pressures of college life, and emerging positive and ready into the professional world. You want to build your company around people who thrive under pressure, rather than falter.

Interpersonal skills, if relevant to your business niche

Not all professions require advanced social skills — indeed, businesses in Silicon Valley are famously seeing past prejudices and assumptions, to hire individuals on the autistic spectrum in their computer technology and software development teams.

However, if the ability to work collaboratively is pivotal to your work then you’ll want to test prospective employees on this skill. Building upon evidence of team and relationship prowess, use the interview to pose challenging questions to delve further — “Tell me about a time you’ve had to manage conflict in a study group?” or “You’ve seen that a friend is going through a bad time, how would you intervene to help?” are both revealing questions to ask.

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