The campus hiring process has undergone significant changes in the last two decades. At the turn of the century, many companies limited the process to two interviews – one technical and the other HR.
Today, with the burgeoning number of candidates, the first filter could well be an algorithm looking for keywords in a resume. When recruiters visit the campus, a second filter could be the academic credentials of candidates. An aptitude test, group discussion/presentation, and one or more rounds of interviews complete the process.
Best practices in campus hiring include but are not limited to the following:
1. Attitude determines everything: Every great recruiter knows that no candidate can be expected to answer all the questions. What matters most is the candidate’s attitude – does the candidate demonstrate a passion for learning? Does the candidate come out as authentic and honest? The foundation for these questions is the premise that skills can be taught – however, if the person thinks they know everything already, no amount of orientation, onboarding, or training programs will help.
2. Agility and adaptation can make a huge difference: In his book “Think Again,” the organizational psychologist Adam Grant urges us to think like scientists – in other words, to base decisions on evidence. Due to the constant and rapid collision of technology, communication, and related technologies, knowledge has a short lifespan. What is relevant today may be irrelevant tomorrow. The ability to learn – unlearn – relearn will distinguish the winners from the also-rans. The best recruiters look for cues in the growth mindset proposed by Professor Carol Dwek. An open, growth mindset is critical to success. Candidates who are adamant about a viewpoint or perspective are unlikely to make the cut with great recruiters.
3. How much research has the candidate done? Many organizations today do not have the time for formal, time-consuming, onboarding processes. They prefer candidates who have done their research – what does the company do, how do they deliver excellence, and why do they exist. Candidates who spend time and effort to
research the company and know the mission, vision, and strategic objectives well are more likely to get in than those who do not.
4. Cultural fit is as critical as talent fit: Traditional hiring tends to look at the talent required to perform a task. The best hiring managers first look for a cultural fit before they explore the talent part. What is the worst job you have ever had? You will be surprised as to how easily people walk into this trap. Best practices in hiring look for compassion and empathy in candidates. Without these attributes, one is unlikely
to be a team player.
5. The best hiring is human: All recruiters have at one time been on the other side of the table. Shorn of technicalities, hiring is a human process. The best recruiters bring out the finest qualities of the human condition. They have a word of encouragement for every candidate. They provide constructive feedback. It comes back to the qualities they look for in candidates – compassion, empathy, agility, and adaptation. When hiring is human at its core, expect the best outcomes.