Four Tips for Interviewing Newbies


There’s a difference between the willing and the truly able when it comes to interviewing entry-level job candidates. It can be difficult to figure out a candidate’s real capabilities just from the interview. PrideStaff Financial offers four ways to help you prepare for interviewing job newbies.


First, make sure they are listening.

Entry-level candidates have a lot going on. In order to determine which candidates are taking the interview seriously, ask them to repeat back to you what they understand about the position, the role in the company, and how the company sells itself to clients. A mature, engaged candidate is paying attention during the interview. Assimilating, learning and applying knowledge is exactly what an able entry-level candidate can do.


Situational questions.

One thing companies need to remember is that entry-level candidates are limited on real-world experience. But, they are also a clean slate that can be molded into a strong and capable employee. Asking them to describe a situation in which they have won a “request for proposal,” and how they went about writing it, will not help you glean information if the candidate has never done it. However, developing situational questions that incorporate duties of the job, and are asked in a way that allows the candidate to role-play a potential scenario, gives you a better idea of how candidates may conduct themselves. Take a particular job responsability and ask the candidate what steps they would take or how they would go about tackling that duty. Listen for keywords, problem-solving strategies, and organizational skills they may describe in their answers. This will help you weed out the competent from the willing but unable candidates.


Dole out a little homework.

Many companies these days are handing out minor homework assignments to entry-level candidates. You must remember that most of these candidates have been doing homework for years and are accustomed to it. At the end of the interview, assign a real workplace assignment and ask them to email it to you within a given time period. Doing this will give you invaluable information in four critical areas. First, it allows you to see how an entry-level job candidate will handle aspects of the actual job; for example, putting together a small expense report. Second, it weeds out lazy candidates. You’d be surprised how many candidates will not send in the homework assignment. Third, you obtain information as to how well an assignment was completed. Did the candidate go above and beyond the task? Were they enthusiastic about doing it? And lastly, giving a homework assignment allows the candidate to get an idea of what they will be doing in the actual position and offers both you and the candidate a sense of how they will fit into the role.


It’s about the candidate too!

While it is challenging to hire entry-level candidates, it’s important to remember that this is just as much about what you can do for them as it is about what they can do for you. Ask them what they hope to learn from working for your company. What are their future goals? What experience do they want to gain, and how are they looking to grow into a position.


Preparation is key when interviewing entry-level candidates. PrideStaff Financial can help you determine what entry-level candidates might be the best fit for your company. As one of the nation’s leading recruiting firms, our highly trained consultants will guide you through the process. Contact our financial consultants today.