How do you evaluate a job applicant without any previous job experience? The resume of a fresher does not say much about her skills. Yes, the resume has academic credentials and project summaries. It does not however give insights about the key skills required for her to do her job well. So how to hire freshers that fit the job requirements?
The Planning Process to Hire Freshers
Write down the job description
It is non-negotiable that you “write down” the job description. Quite often businesses or hiring managers download readily available templates from the internet.
Downloading templates for job descriptions is not a good practice, especially when you are planning to hire someone with no work experience. Every business and job has custom processes and requirements.
When you write the job description, do not make it a bucket-list of what you expect from an “ideal employee”. It should be a list of activities you need the employee to perform. Keep it simple.
The job responsibilities section should be written in plain and simple language that everyone can easily understand.
List all the skills needed to do the job
Once you have written down the activities and job responsibilities, it is easy to list all the required skills and qualifications.
A quick test when you list the skills requirements: Can you measure the skill?
The answer should be “Yes”. If “No”, then it should not be a qualifying criteria.
For instance, when hiring for a customer care representative, verbal and written communication skills are important. These can be tested.
You can test a candidate’s language proficiency – pronunciation, vocabulary, sentence structure. If you cannot test and evaluate a certain skill, do not make it a selection parameter.
Highlight the must have skills
We learn while we are on the job. Learning is important for an employee’s growth and contribution.
Once you have the list of measurable skills ready, highlight the must have skills. This is a critical step of the how to hire freshers process. If a skill can be easily acquired on the job, the job applicant does not need to be tested for the skill. You need to rather check learning abilities of the job applicant.
For instance, while hiring freshers for your sales team, you may list down “research and recommend prospects” as one of the job requirements. This however can be taught. This does not qualify as a “must have skill”. Hence, if a job applicant has no clue on how to research for sales prospects, he or she is still employable for the role.
Segregate the must-have skills: “pre-requisites” and “can be learned on the job”
The previous step would have helped you shorten the skill requirements for the job. What you now have is a shorter list of only the “must have” skills to do the job right.
However, from this list too, you may find some that can be taught. Refer to our previous example of sales prospecting. In this step, you segregate the skills:
- Pre requisites: the must have skills that the employee needs from day one of her employment
- Can be learned on the job: skills that can be taught.
When you mark skills as “can be taught”, it is important to make a note of the training requirements. The bandwidth to train, resources available to train, time and cost of training are to be considered here.
Referring to the sales prospecting example – it is a “can be learned on the job” skill only if your organization has resources, time and budget to train new hires. If not, this becomes a “must have” skill.
The categorization will guide your evaluation process when you hire freshers.
How to evaluate must have skills when you hire freshers?
Now that you have a clear understanding of the skill requirements for the job, it is time for the selection process.
The selection process for freshers
- Pre-interview assessment
- One day or one week paid internship
Pre interview assessment
You should have a pre-interview screening process for new hires. Do not judge based on the resume when you are hiring freshers. However you may have some pre-defined criteria where the resume may come handy. Information such as minimum academic qualification, proximity to the work location etc. can be checked in the resume.
You may prepare an assessment form or for some positions, you may ask the employees to write an essay or a report. While hiring MBA freshers or graduate students, an essay or a report is quite useful.
The pre-interview assessment is less about the test results and more about the applicant’s enthusiasm and efforts.
Keep your questions ready before the interview. The questions need to be carefully selected to test for the skills identified during the ‘how to hire freshers” planning process.
It is not necessary to have a 100% verbal interview.
It is a good practice to use pen and paper during the interview process. Let the candidate use pen and paper to illustrate or explain. Some candidates are better at “showing how to do things” instead of “answering how to do things”.
One day or One week paid internship
This is the most critical step when hiring freshers. The moment of truth if I may say.
The company as well as the candidate get a reality check. The company can figure out “if this candidate is right for the job?”.
The candidate can figure out “is this the company I would like to work for?”
The paid one day or one week internship is the best way to identify if the new hire is a fit for the job role and the company culture.
Since the applicant is not employed elsewhere, they can commit to a short internship. At most it is recommended to be a week long.
Punctuality, integrity, culture fit and the ability to learn while at work are some of the key skill you would like to check during this short stint.
Hiring is a probability game. You will get some right and some wrong. The “How to hire Freshers” planning and hiring process is going to help you be right more often.
As you implement the steps over a period of time, you will be able to tweak the process and make it more robust. The success rate will improve. It will be great learning for the organization as well as the hiring managers.
Most importantly, you will be giving a fair chance to the job applicants. Ask any fresher if they would like a paid one week internship to understand the job requirements and show their skills. I am surprised if any less than 9 out of 10 applicants would say “Yes”.
How not to fire someone with poor performance?
Firing someone is dreadful. As a manager, it has always been the most difficult task for me. I am certain it is for most. But let’s admit it. It is a job that needs to be done. It needs to be done right.
Here is a link to the post and the “How not to fire” flowchart.
There are several excuses we have to justify firing an employee. However there is one question we must ask ourselves every time – “Is it absolutely necessary to fire this person?” More often than not, a well thought, evaluated and honest answer is “No”.