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Finding top entry level talent

For every business or organization, attracting top talent is crucial for long term success and should be the goal for all levels of hiring – entry level to executive. However, determining if an entry level candidate is excellent is a little different than upper level hires. Namely, entry level candidates usually have no previous relevant job experience, making it harder to gauge their suitability. So, how do you assess entry level candidates? Here are three things I believe will help you determine if someone is truly egg-cellent:

Look outside the class room

What have they accomplished or participated in? If it’s relevant to your business, that’s a big bonus, but it’s much more important that the candidate can demonstrate that they have interests and followed through on/committed to them. Did they play on a sports team or were they involved in a club? A person who has done something beyond the bare requirement to graduate shows that they are dedicated, and willing to work hard to succeed.

A question to students and new graduates: Have you accomplished something that you’re proud of? Is it on your resume? I strongly believe it should be. In my resumes ‘accomplishments’ section I include that I earned my blackbelt. Are the skills I learned relevant to any position I may apply for, hopefully not. But it does show dedication and that I achieved success in something that I was passionate about.

Passionate about something, anything

The airport test – Could you spend twelve hours stuck in airports and on planes sitting beside the person you’re about to hire without wanting to repeatedly bang your head against the seat in front of you?

When you’re hiring a new graduate, find out what they do for fun and what their interests are. Your more senior employees are the people who are going to be spending time training and dealing with their countless questions. It’s important that they fit your existing team dynamic and won’t drive your employees crazy.

The extra effort

Here’s a no brainer: have they put in the extra effort to get the job? For example, if you’re hiring for an entry level marketing role, did the person include a marketing plan or some ideas on how they would approach the role? If the person is willing to put in the extra effort to standout, then they will put extra effort in their work.

How do you determine if an entry level candidate is excellent? What is the number one attribute you look for in an entry level hire?

2 Comments

  1. As a student and soon to be graduate, I’ve been looking for jobs all year. I’ve found that some employers are looking for solely one thing – very high grades – and some are more flexible. Overall, I think the best way to determine if an entry level candidate is excellent is to see if they’ve done something they love other than school. It’s much more impressive when people have good grades and some great extra-curricular activities to complement them.

  2. Nathaniel Rottenberg

    February 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Hey Vicky!

    Thanks for the comment! Completely agree. Love hearing this from students!

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