How Hiring Companies Should Handle New Grad Referrals

Posted on: October 13th, 2016

An important part of any corporate recruiting strategy includes encouraging referrals from employees and business partners such as clients, vendors, and consultants. Given that most working professionals are approached every year by newly graduated job seekers (or their parents) for help in finding a job, many companies receive a number of referrals in the months immediately following the May graduation period.

While the referrals are welcome, the problem with new grad resumes is that there’s seldom direct work experience on the resume that pertains to your company or industry. At the same time, you don’t want to miss out on a great candidate, so how can you efficiently evaluate these candidates?

We recommend setting up a process that includes the following steps:

Call the Candidate – Learn more about their background, career interests, salary expectations, etc. If you’re a manufacturing company and the candidate has a high level of interest in being an actuary in an insurance company, there’s probably not a fit. However, if the candidate is open in terms of their career path and seems to be bright, motivated and articulate, then you may have a potential fit.
Schedule an Exploratory Interview – Have the candidate interview with 2-3 managers over 60-90 minutes. Learn more about the candidate and the skills he or she possesses. Tell the job seeker more about your company, the types of entry-level positions you have available and the career paths available.
Ask the Candidate to Research Your Company and Industry – Give the candidate a chance to convince you that they could be a good fit. Ask them to research your company, your industry, and one of the positions you discussed with them. Have them get back to you identifying why the position and your company are of interest. If the candidate’s response is well prepared and compelling, then schedule a formal interview.
Identify Their Transferable Skills – Know which skills are critical to success in the position. Transferable skills are those innate skills we all possess that stick with us throughout our careers regardless of the job or industry; skills like critical thinking, effective communication, leadership, etc. Uncover these skills by probing on the candidate’s life experiences in college, extracurricular activities, summer or part-time jobs, and volunteer work.
Give Candidates an Opportunity to ask Questions – See how well candidates have prepared and the depth of their questions.

After the interview, those involved in the interview should regroup to make a decision regarding the referred candidate. If you use this process, you’ll take the mystery out of entry-level hiring. The stars will stand out and both parties will have done the due diligence to make an informed decision.

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