Five Things to Know About Finding Entry-Level Applicants

hiring entry level employeesEvery semester, college graduates seek to enter the workforce, providing a steady crop of educated people to fill your entry-level positions. If you’re in the position to hire, here are five things to know about finding quality entry-level applicants.

1. Assess Their Entire Academic Picture
A GPA can reflect a job candidate’s ability to do well in a classroom setting, but a GPA may not be all you want to consider. Whether the applicant has a 4.0 or below, ask them about their favorite classes and what type of projects they worked related to your field they worked on during and after school, according to Robert Half International, the world’s largest staffing services firm.

2. Look Beyond the Routine
Internships reflect an applicant’s hands-on experience in your field, but school-related activities through organizations, mentoring programs, and volunteering can provide excellent entry-level candidates as well. For example, some colleges and universities have student-run public relations agencies where students create professional work for actual clients and learn the value of teamwork. Connecting with students who are already working in the field, but through unique opportunities provided by their school, can help you find those ready to excel in an entry-level position.

3. Recognize that Promptness and Professionalism Make a Difference
Don’t expect most entry-level candidates to have the interviewing savvy of someone who has been in the business for years. But you can get a sense of how an entry-level candidate will act on the job during an interview, based on their appropriate dress, courteous nature and sincere interest in the position. Even asking your receptionist to note these attributes — or those that show a lack of professionalism — can be helpful, according to Robert Half International.

hiring entry level employees4. Seek Strengths and Weaknesses From Part-time Jobs
Look at an entry-level candidate’s work history, and you’ll learn about areas where they excelled and areas that need improvement. Both can give you an idea of they fit the qualifications of your entry-level position. While in college, some job candidates may not have been able to work in your field. At the same time, working as a waitress, store clerk or pizza delivery person may have given them ability to meet deadlines, problem solve, and work as a team — all qualities that entry-level hires should display.

5. References Can Show You the Real Candidate
Taking the time to contact an applicant’s references gives you a unique opportunity to learn about the job candidate’s work habits, personality, and dedication to the field. Students who include the names of college professors and advisors display from the onset that they are among students who stood out in classrooms and were memorable to those folks. When you contact the references, they should have an accurate view of the student’s abilities. If references are on the more personal side (such as families who have used them as babysitters), these folks’ input can be valuable in helping you get a sense of the applicants’ personality, dependability, and determination. After talking to these folks, you’ll know if the persona the entry-level applicant displayed in conversations with you is accurate – and worthy of a job offer.





About Lori Johnston

Lori Johnston is a Georgia-based freelance writer and former Associated Press reporter. She has contributed to many publications, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and People magazine. A 1995 graduate of the University of Georgia, Johnson also has served as adjunct professor in the school's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.


  1. Hi, how I can get a job on this difficult time? I have an AA degree and one year of college, I have applied to several positions for different companies, but I did not get any response. I am so frustrated, I got education thinking that I will find a job, but the reality is totally different. I appreciate your feedback. Thank you

    • It is definitely a trying time, Ileana, but your degree will definitely give you an edge. What field are you pursuing? Have you been able to gain some experience beyond the books? When employment is hard to come by, it’s important to do what you can to stay “active” in the field — perhaps you can explore internships, reach out to past professors, or utilize your college’s career services department for some job leads. Keep us posted! Good luck.

  2. carlos yes i have had that happen to me too, in fact it is still happening. Why do they do that, you don’t want to have to go to school again, you want a job, and if you went to the school that they want you to that does not guarantee you will get a job, so I say STOP CALLING TWITTS.

  3. hey employment network do you have any computer repair jobs open? I have not found a single one that is useful. Thank you yamus

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