The Best Interview Question to ask Entry Level Candidates

By Adam Robinson,
May 27, 2014

Happy graduation season! As your newsfeed floods with millennials in caps and gowns and your ATS fills with resumes, are you ready to begin the interviewing process?

If you are actively hiring for an entry-level job, it is good practice to prepare an interview guide. However the questions you ask on an interview guide will determine how fit your candidate is for your job. One way to determine job fit, especially for entry-level positions, is to gauge a candidate’s enthusiasm and motivation.

According to the Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey‘HR filters also fail many companies by screening out great candidates because their resumes don’t have the required key words and phrases that are sometimes overly technical,” and to bypass this issue, recommends to “look for candidates that demonstrate a desire for continued learning and enthusiasm for the job at hand.”

In order to identify an enthusiastic and motivated candidate, use what we call the best interview question for entry level or college grads: “What interests or activities have you decided to pursue outside of work or school?”

There are three reasons this type of behavioral interview question helps you identify better candidates.

1. “Involved” candidates (like a student athlete or student government member) have taken the initiative to get through school and also participate in additional activities. This behavior will continue into their future careers

2. Candidates who participated in extra-curricular activities tend to be better at multi-tasking and managing their time. If a candidate can describe a time when they managed multiple projects at once, they probably have experience in this department.

3. Taking additional classes or workshops shows the candidates abundance of curiosity which means they like to broaden their horizons and are interested in new things. 

Answers to Look For

After you ask the candidate what extra-curricular activities they are involved in, you need to know what answers to look for. A good answer to the question would involve the candidate discussing their involvement in college such as internships, sports teams, student groups, etc.

Other answers that would earn candidates points would be activities around the job you are interviewing them for. For example: If a candidate is interviewing for a marketing job and talked about being a member of the American Marketing Association and graduating from Code Academy classes.

For more information on creating interview guides, grab our guide!

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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