Hiring fresh graduates is different from the usual recruitment process.
Since they have little to no work experience to talk about, recruiters must not expect them to have the industry experience and technical qualifications that HRs often look for in other job positions. In this case, the recruiter must have the ability to tap on an applicant’s potential and skills that can be a valuable asset to the company.
If HR knows what skills to look for in an applicant, it can be more manageable for the recruiter to hire the most suitable applicant for the position. But it’s easier said than done. So, here’s a guide that can help you determine the candidate that can do the job—even without the work experience.
Professional Work Ethic
With the limited time on interviews and training, how can you find a professional work ethic on a fresh graduate applicant?
It’s simple. The hiring officers must note how the applicant respects everyone’s time, from interviews to working with deadlines. One indicator of a healthy work ethic is an applicant’s ability to hand over their deliverables on time. But it doesn’t end there.
Some tasks can be too much to work on, especially when given a tight deadline. Applicants can analyze this and raise it over to their supervisor. Knowing how to assess workload and its timings is crucial for a team to work together in harmony. So if your applicant has this, you already have a stronger foundation to build on.
A professional work ethic is forged on years of learning and unlearning. It’s hard to find people who have this innately, but some applicants already have the pieces and potential—all you have to do is sort them based on what your company needs. Pro tip: you can start by choosing among the ones with a professional email address.
Enthusiastic to Learn
Look for applicants who are not afraid to ask. Being able to seek help and clarity is a sign that they are open to learning more. But how can HRs spot this trait early on?
Ask the applicant beyond academics. How did they cope during their internships? Also, notice how they respond to constructive criticisms. It’s hard to admit weaknesses, especially to those you need to impress. So, if an applicant openly addresses their weak points and knows they need to improve on them, it can be a green flag on the recruiter’s end.
During onboarding training, it’s more than likely that newly grads will experience little stubbles along the way. What’s more important is how they overcome and grow from these struggles. Some applicants give up to the slightest sign of a challenge. But there are a few who come out of it stronger and more resilient than before.
But HRs must know to differentiate those willing to learn from their shortcomings from those who make mistakes recklessly. It is also upon the human resource department to provide younger applicants with ample motivation and a healthy and safe work environment that empowers them to achieve the most out of their career with your company.
Able to Adapt to the Future of Work
As every industry turns digital, so do work processes. Companies nowadays are more technologically advanced with remote work possibilities, data-driven business decisions—even AI in HR. Compared to the theoretics that universities and campuses offer in their curriculums, it can be harder to keep up in the real world.
Given these, applicants need to be well-adjusted to the present—and the future—of work. Adapting is closely related to learning. Some are natural at blending in the nitty-gritty of the profession. And some can take some time to adjust to a new environment.
But how can a hiring manager know if an applicant can adapt to the work dynamics of an industry? It’s a crucial trait to assess. But you can start with the interviews.
Frame your questions into work scenarios having unforeseen problems and situations. See how the applicant provides rhetorical solutions to your questions. It will speak a lot about how they can handle stress and pressure while delivering top-of-the-line outcomes given the time it will happen to them.
We all know by now that the pandemic has changed the way we work. It’s also a learning curve for competent recruiters to raise the standard for new applicants. Highlighting skills that used to be just a supplement for technical and specialized skills, like solution-based adaptability, are now needed, especially during these unpredictable times.
Final word: fresh graduates are a lot more skilled than we think they are.
New grads are tech-savvy and can work with the information readily at their fingertips—props to the internet.
However, as the future of work changes every day, applicants are now expected to hone their soft skills. The ethic to be collaborative, adaptive, compassionate, and resilient—among others—is what makes people different from machines. Recruiters nowadays should look for applicants who have these indispensable capabilities and personalities and not robots that only know how to say yes.