Recruitment: Three points to note when interviewing fresh graduates or school leavers

Beef Central, 22/03/2013


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EMPLOYEES take note – while many of us feel that we are already familiar with most interview tactics, we may still need to have another think about how to get the best out of your interview session with a fresh graduate.

We’re familiar with constructive interviews for experienced candidates, but what about your fresh graduate or young job-seeker with no prior work history? What do you look for beyond their educational experience?

Certain interview basics are universal when it comes to the recruitment process. Good candidates arrive on-time or slightly early, are attentive and maintain eye contact.

A less desirable candidate is late, fails to maintain eye contact, and might talk over you.

Of course, if interviewers know these nuts-and-bolts level tactics, candidates attending the interview probably know those basics too.

So, how do you distinguish entry-level jobseekers who have simply gone through good interview training, versus those who had training but also have the capacity to be great first-year employees who will bring that special X-Factor to your business?

Here are a few tips to help dig under the practice-polished surface:


Promising job-seekers speak positively

Listen to how the job-seeker speaks and whether it is mostly positive. Don’t just pay attention to his or her thoughts on past internships or work experiences (because most interview training will teach candidates to speak positively about this). Instead hone-in on how job-seekers speak about themselves.

The first full-time job can be a scary prospect for some, and that is okay.  Intimidated or not, the best prospective employees meet challenges head-on, because they have a positive sense of self-worth, which their speech reflects.


Research is the mark of a hard worker

“Have questions for your interviewer” is another of those interviewing basics that ‘everyone’ knows.  You can write-off a job seeker who arrives to your interview with no questions whatsoever about your business or the position they are applying for (other than “what are the hours?” or “what does it pay?”).

So how do you discern the questions that mean this job-seeker really put effort into pre-interview research? If a job seeker comes in with a question that can be answered by reading the three-sentence summary section on the Wikipedia article about your industry, you know he or she probably did not get very far in their research before getting distracted.


It’s easy to fake enthusiasm, but it’s hard to fake genuine interest

The appearance of enthusiasm is difficult to manufacture. A firm handshake with a smile or a “Yes, absolutely!” to a second interview invitation takes no effort and any job-seeker with any interviewing know-how can pull it off for 30 minutes or so.

More difficult to maintain is deeper intellectual or personal interest in either what your business does, or what this entry-level position will allow the job-seeker to do or to learn.

For this reason, it is crucial to have at least two interviews to gauge the dedication of the entry-level job-seeker.

You would be hard pressed to find a recently-coached entry-level interviewer who does not know that showing up in dirty clothing is a bad move.


Paying attention to those basics will certainly weed-out job-seekers who barely put any effort into their interviewing prep. 

Further evaluations such as the three mentioned above will help separate the practiced interviewers who might be ‘okay’ employees from the practiced interviewers who will truly add value to your team.

AWX director Cameron Dart says, “Providing a pathway to a career is one of the things we pride ourselves in doing for our employees.”

“As a business, you have the capacity to train, mentor and develop your employees, and it is rewarding to see their growth whether it is professionally or personally,” he said.

“A well thought-out interview and a thorough screening is essential – what we call X Grading – is part of an established AWX process to ensure that we employ the right workforce for our clients,” Mr Dart said.





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