Hiring for an entry level position can be tricky because candidates don't have a long list of former jobs that speak to their ability to perform the tasks at hand. Picking the right person requires a leap of faith. To make sure your leap isn't blind, look for a record of success in other areas, like sports, academia and the pursuit of creative endeavors.
An applicant’s resume is typically the first thing hiring managers look at when considering a potential employee for an entry level position. Since the applicant likely won’t have an extensive work history, hiring managers will have to look at other aspects of their resume -- such as volunteer work, educational history, publications, awards and career goals -- to determine whether or not they would make a good fit.
A winning personality is something else employers look for. Since applicants won’t have much experience, they need to be willing to learn. They should also be humble, engaging, professional and confident. An article on Inc.com recommends hiring managers get a feel for an applicant’s personality through a brief phone conversation before scheduling an interview.
Can Rise to the Challenge
Since entry level positions are often gateways to positions with increased responsibility, hiring managers should make sure to scout applicants willing to rise to the challenge. One way to see what potential employees are made of is to require them to answer questions during the application process that reveal certain aspects of their personality and work ethic. For example, in addition to asking for a resume and cover letter, applicants might also be required to submit answers to questions like, “What is the greatest challenge you have overcome?” or “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”
Interviews give hiring managers the opportunity to interact personally with candidates. Since initial impressions are often the most important, good candidates will be punctual, professionally dressed and well groomed with a firm handshake and will make eye contact. Ideal candidates will seem confident, but not cocky, and eager to learn. During the interview, they will answer questions completely and articulately and will display knowledge of the company and their potential role. The applicant will know exactly why he or she wants the job, and have an idea of how it might benefit them in the short and long run. They will be aware of the strengths and limitations they would bring to the position. Also, according to Brigham Young University, ideal candidates will follow the 80/20 rule, which means they will talk 20% of the time, and listen the other 80%.
The hiring manager’s opinion should not be the only one that matters when hiring for an entry level position, according to TalentMarket.org, a non-profit recruiting and consulting firm. Since the employee will have to work with the rest of the staff, it’s important to make sure the candidate will fit in. The hiring manager should call in other staff members to meet with the candidate and ask a few questions to determine whether he or she will get along with the others.
Again, since entry level employees often don’t have an extensive work history, hiring managers will need to find sources other than previous employers to vouch for a candidate's work ethic and personality type. Ask for letters of recommendation from people who have worked closely with the candidate in a professional or educational capacity, such as former professors, mentors or volunteer coordinators.