Interviewing Entry-Level Candidates: How to Find Their Job Skills

By definition, entry-level candidates lack experience with a particular industry or position. Often, these candidates are fresh out of school or still in school, seeking a way to learn more about a job or industry by doing the work.

While entry-level candidates offer fresh perspectives and a great deal of enthusiasm, hiring managers can find it difficult to determine exactly what strengths they will bring to a certain position. Here’s how to adapt your interview questions to help you uncover the skills these candidates bring to your team.

Focus on behavioral questions.

Behavioral interview questions ask candidates how they’ve responded to certain challenges in the past, which provides insight on how they may respond in the future. Questions like “Tell me about a time you’ve failed” or “Can you describe a project you did as part of a team? What was your role, and how did it turn out?” allow entry-level candidates to mine their experience in education, volunteer or other industry settings while still helping you gain insight into their skills, approach and insight.

Explore their education or previous jobs.

Questions like “What did you enjoy most in school?” or “What did you learn about yourself while working at X Company?” may produce answers that aren’t directly relevant to the job description, but provide rich insight into the candidate’s work style, passions or social style. The answers may also provide a snapshot of the candidate’s soft skills, which can also help hiring managers predict the candidate’s success on the current team.

Ask what parts of the job description excite them.

This question helps hiring managers gauge not only the candidate’s familiarity with the job’s demands, but their enthusiasm for the position. Candidates who latch onto the job’s core demands are more likely to find the work fulfilling than those who are particularly interested in a secondary task they’re only occasionally called upon to complete.

Work with your staffing partner.

Staffing firms specialize in knowing the candidates they recommend – inside and out. Your staffing partner can help you gain additional perspective on an entry-level candidate’s background and abilities, helping you make a more confident and informed choice.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our recruiters focus on connecting our clients to the best available talent in every Minnesota community we serve. For more information on the support we offer, contact us today.

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