Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hiring College Grads

This doesn't apply to students because--let's face it--high school and college students are far more likely to apply for worker bee jobs than jobs with heavy responsibility or supervision. But college grads expect to get real jobs, and they need to know how to handle an interview.

As someone who's interviewed many times, for many types of jobs, since 1990, I agree with this article.

Some employers like behavioral interviews because they think you can't prepare for it. Think again. No matter how many employers say you can't prepare for them, you can still dig deep into your memory before the interview and be ready to talk experiences that could fit situations your potential employer throws at you.

Here are some questions you might encounter, courtesy of Scott Weighart, author of "Find Your First Professional Job: A Guide to Co-ops, Interns and Full-Time Job Seekers":

Tell me about a time you:

* failed at something
* had to take an unpopular stand
* really had to go way above and beyond
* had to show exceptional attention to detail
* dealt well with a difficult colleague/co-worker
* showed that you can multitask under pressure

Make sure you prepare your stories, too -- you might be able to wing it, but you won't give the best answers if you do.

And don't even think of making stuff up.


mazenko said...

This is a great point.

I spend a fair amount of time discussing these sort of questions/issues, and I think it's often the most important information I'm going to give them.

At times, I'm an English teacher, and at others, I'm a group therapist and career/life counselor. I think we owe our students as much of this information as we can offer.

I know too many people in the private sector who complain that new grads know the rules of finance, engineering, or technical work, but have little ability to deal effectively with employees and customers.

Stopped Clock said...

Some high schools and colleges offer courses in job interview skills, and they'll teach you how to handle interview questions like this. I think that I have to disagree with her because I think that making things up is actually a pretty good way to pad your resume. Because let's face it, being the hero who got other workers to stop cheating the customer is a lot more interesting then being the guy who said "hey, I think the candy shelf should be in THIS hole, you guys are all wrong!" And it's not like the average college student has much work experience anyway. I've met people who've never worked a day in their lives until AFTER they got out of college.

Ellen K said...

It helps if you have had a job in college. Many of my friends think it's bad for their kids to work while in school. I think that although it is hard to work, it instills discipline and gives kids a sense of self-determination. My kids all work and have worked since they were 17. They have all found jobs, they know how to do something other than study or party. Coincidentally, all of them, the band manager, the history major and the dance major/teacher are conservative politically. I think it's cause and effect once you get that first paycheck stub.