If you’re recruiting students and recent grads, you might have a vision of what the “perfect” resume and degree background looks like. But while that applicant may possess the right degree under their belt, they may not necessarily have the right soft skills for the position.
New graduates with the motivation, professionalism, and desire to learn about their target industry are the ones who find the most success and these traits aren’t limited to certain majors. That’s why it’s important to consider applicants from diverse backgrounds – after all, having employees with a wide range of experiences can help you build a much stronger and well-rounded team. But, hiring new graduates from different disciplines comes with its own set of challenges – the most obvious one being how to assess the candidate’s application without taking their educational background into account.
Our advice? Spend a little extra time on the extracurriculars section. This is one of the best places to identify transferrable skills – in fact, volunteer roles and student group positions can be incredibly revealing when it comes to evaluating a candidate’s potential.
Leadership is an important trait to look for in an applicant, especially if you’re recruiting for a client-facing role. Customer interactions can be challenging, so the person you hire needs to have the leadership skills necessary to work well with their clients and present solutions in a positive and diplomatic way.
Running a campus organization requires a high degree of leadership, as the role involves managing members and directing club activities. For this reason, former club presidents or vice-presidents will likely have the skills you want in a new hire. Similarly, peer mentors can also make great leaders. While they may not manage large groups of people or facilitate big initiatives, they do have to work closely with others to provide advice and solve problems – valuable experience that can easily be transferred to a professional role.
If the role you’re recruiting for requires a lot of problem solving, logical reasoning skills are essential in a new hire. A successful candidate should be able to effectively address issues and challenges and offer a fresh perspective.
Case study competitions are the most direct way to assess this skill, but there are other ways to identify this ability in a candidate. Since students and new grads from non-business or tech backgrounds may not have been exposed to these types of events, it’s important to consider a variety of activities that could demonstrate logical reasoning.
For example, TalentEgg Challenges are a great alternative to competing in a case competition. This new online platform allows students and grads to solve real problems for real businesses and apply their knowledge in a practical manner.
The right candidate doesn’t just have the right skillset, they also have the right personality to fit with your company culture. Student volunteer roles can be very telling. The reason is simple – students volunteer for initiatives they are passionate about. You want your candidate to be just as passionate about working with you, so it’s important to see if their interests align with your company’s values.
For example, if you’re recruiting for a multinational corporation, you might want to look for candidates who have volunteered abroad. This type of experience shows that they are passionate about a cause and can thrive in a variety of situations – all key personality traits to look for in a potential employee.
If preparing presentations is a huge part of the job description, your new recruit must be able to communicate high-level concepts effectively to clients and coworkers.
When assessing an applicant’s resume, check their writing and how they express themselves. Does it read like a template or does it sound genuine? Then go beyond the CV and evaluate their emails – if they can craft a well-written email for you, they can surely do it with a client.
At first glance, an applicant lacking the typical academic background and technical skills might go right in the “no” pile. But if you take the time to go beyond the degree and evaluate your candidates’ hobbies, volunteer roles, and extra-curricular activities, you might just find the new rock star employee you’re looking for!
Discussion: What unique strategies do you use to assess student and new grad resumes?