While there is certainly no shortage of potential candidates for hiring managers to choose from, selecting the best recent graduates remains a challenging task. From the time employers initially post a new job description, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to conduct the necessary prescreening, phone interview, in-person interviews, background checks and skill assessments before a final decision is reached.
The sheer length of this process requires hiring managers and HR personnel to practice extreme vigilance in order to determine the most qualified applicant. Unfortunately, there are a number of missteps that can complicate and draw out this process beyond an acceptable term. Often, these mistakes will occur during the interview stage. Here are some tips for designing a more efficient entry-level interview.
With the dozens, if not hundreds, of potential employees hiring managers will interview, it can be easy to lose focus of the best applicant's skills, experience and references. Often, employers will be faced with a handful of similarly suitable people and be forced to decide based on minute details regarding personality, perceived ambition or even outward appearance. Taking detailed notes about each candidate's particular strengths and weaknesses in regards to the job description can help eliminate confusion later in the process.
In order to see how candidates compare with one another, put a group of them in the same room. This is an especially effective method for entry-level positions that require a high level of stress management, improvisation and persuasive thinking such as sales or public relations. Group-based questions will force each applicant to compete with the others for your attention while convincing you of their worth and experience. The truly suitable candidates will rise to the surface, making it easier to identify those who are timid or unqualified by comparison.