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What To Look For When Hiring A Graduate

Hiring a graduate is common practice, of course many businesses want properly educated and trained people coming in to the industry with the most up to date ideas and teaching along with them. So what should we be looking for in a graduate, what experience should they have and what questions are best to ask of them in their application and interview? Here are some of the most pertinent things to find out about your potential graduate hires.

Relevant Degree Subject

This is not always an absolute when hiring a graduate but depending on the type of business you are in it might be worth considering the advantages of hiring with a relevant degree. The graduate will bring up to date industry experience and even relevant research experience, if their dissertation or other research or practical projects are in a subject area that you cover then it could be invaluable. On the other hand it’s often wise to not weigh your opinion of a candidate too heavily on this alone, if you have an otherwise outstanding candidate then you can always train them up to know your business and industry.

Extra-Curricular Activities

 What did they do with their time at university other than studying and course-work required? It can say a lot about a candidate’s character. Did they spend 3 or 4 years getting drunk down the student union bar, maybe not the best character reference if so. But if they were involved in sports clubs, university societies or even charities then this is a much better indicator of the type of drive your candidate may have and pick up some unexpected skills.

Route To Get Into & Through University

I always find it useful to look at how they got into university as much as how they did once they got there? Did they have the advantage of an exclusive school? Were they the first in their family to get into university and if so, why? Even sometimes it’s good to know if they got their first choice in courses or did they have to go through UCAS Extra or clearing, if they did how did it affect their motivation and spirit.

Work Experience

It’s true, even with graduates, that work experience counts. What have they done? Have they had any unpaid work in a relevant field which will give them a bit of a head start over other candidates and who did they do that work for and for how long? If they had a part time job all the way through their studies this shows that they have had to work even harder to attain the grades they did which is always  more impressive than a candidate that has never set foot in a working environment at all.

Examples Of Academic Work & Projects

 It’s not just to know what subjects they have tackled in their studies but once you get down to the final few candidates you might want to consider asking to read some of their work and research projects to get an even more complete idea of what their ideas and thinking are on subjects in your industry.