Every year, a new pool of potential stand-out employees graduates from colleges across the country, and like many other businesses, your company is probably looking to hire a few of them.
But how can you ensure you’re hiring the right candidates when recent graduates are so light on experience? Resumes are notoriously unreliable, and they’re especially unhelpful when you have to evaluate recent grads. As an alternative, it helps to look for other qualities that can signal potential, especially those qualities that can help you predict which applicants will bloom into high-performers.
Award Points for Attention to Detail and Follow-Up Skills
When you’re hiring for entry-level roles, your applicants won’t have much experience to differentiate them from the pack. But you’re not hiring for experience, you’re hiring for potential. That’s why you should pay special attention to the qualities that will help them succeed in any role, like eagerness, enthusiasm, and attention to detail.
For example, award points to any applicant who takes the time to send a follow-up email or thank you letter after an interview. This demonstrates their general enthusiasm for the role, signaling that they’ll have the drive to learn new things and pick up on training quickly.
When hiring experienced candidates, you might be more willing to overlook a small spelling error or an unsent thank you email if that candidate is really a great fit. After all, these experienced applicants have years of professional experience to call upon once settled in new jobs.
But post-grad applicants have no such experience, and will be looking to learn professional skills on the job. It’s wise to start with an applicant who, aware of their greenness, goes the extra mile to dot their i’s and cross their t’s.
Don’t Get Stuck on GPA
While a 4.0 might seem like a tremendous indicator of future success, it’s important to understand that there’s a lot more to a perfect transcript than just hard work.
Try to review applications holistically. Understand that while a sterling academic record is meaningful, it doesn’t mean everything. Involvement in sports, extracurriculars, and volunteer work also shows dedication. Many of the skills someone learns from doing these non-academic activities can actually apply to the workplace as well.
Plus, not all students can afford to spend their entire college careers studying. Those who take on debt often must work part-time, which can affect GPA.
We’re not saying to disregard grades, but you might want to take them with a grain of salt.
Use Pre-Employment Testing to Make Informed Decisions
There are so many compelling reasons to hire fresh out of college. Don’t let a light resume scare you away. What you really need in order to make a strong hiring decision about a recent grad is an indication of their potential – some objective signal that this candidate has the potential to succeed in the position.
One way to get at this is by incorporating objective hiring criteria that are predictive of job success. Pre-employment assessments, for example, are significantly more predictive of future job success than unstructured interviews, experience, or education because they assess the underlying qualities that lead to that success – critical thinking, problem solving, learning ability, and general aptitude. These abilities are especially useful for recent grads who will need to learn quickly in a role that is essentially brand new to them.