Monday, November 25, 2013

Entry level candidate

I do a lot of networking. I talk with students and presidents of companies alike. I enjoy hearing what interests people, what motivates them and how they see their careers. Almost every entry level candidate or student asks me what I am looking for when I interview someone just out of school. Let me start by saying that every hiring manager is looking for something different. Here is my general list and reasons why I seek out those specific qualities:

  • Intelligence- If someone is smart, they generally learn fast
  • Communicates well- If a candidate cannot communicate clearly and in an articulate manner in an interview, they are out.
  • Worked while in school- The retail industry is so fast paced, that my hires need to be able to handle a lot and multi-task. When someone says they didn’t work so they could focus on school sends a red flag on what I am looking for in a candidate.
  • Activities while in school- Same as last reason.
  • Cultural fit- This varies at just about every company and could mean just about anything. I have worked in really strong companies where you can only succeed if you are very vocal, where other companies would not value that characteristic.  
  • Curious- A candidate needs to ask questions. Real questions. Not ‘how did you get here in your career?’ That is a bad stock question that teachers tell students to ask. I like to hear curiosity around the open position, company and culture. I want to know this candidate was not only listening but also engaged.
  • Enthusiasm- I want everyone on my team to be as excited as I am to come to work every day. An aloof candidate is a not the right one for me.

How can you find out what a hiring manager is looking for in a candidate? What company exhibits the values and traits you practice? How can you connect those two to find a job that is a great fit for you?

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