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How to Select a Candidate When Your Applicants Lack Experience

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The growing pressure to earn a degree has caused the next generation of job seekers to become overeducated and under-qualified for entry-level positions. Unfortunately, this has caused some employers to become discouraged about the hiring process.

As an employer, you're concerned you won't be able to find a candidate who meets your requirements. The majority of the resumes you have looked at belong to candidates with sparkling GPAs and part-time jobs, yet lack the "job-related experience" needed for your company.

Don't lose hope just yet. Maybe it's time to reinvent the wheel and integrate different ways of how you select candidates.

Redefine "experience."
The first thing to consider during the hiring process is your definition of "experience." Most likely, when hiring a candidate for an entry-level position, you are searching for someone with experience related to your company. Your ideal candidate would have several internships on their resume. However, you're looking through dozens of resumes filled with above average GPAs, extra curricular activities, and volunteer experience. If you're faced with this problem, try to consider a candidate's academic activities and personality traits during your hiring process.

Pay attention to transferable skills.
If you continue to receive resumes that don't have multiple internships, it's time think outside the box. Remember, college prepares students to be professionals after graduation. Although some may lack in-demand skills and experience, college grads have gained transferable skills during their education that will make them a valuable asset to any employer. They have also gained valuable leadership experience through involvement with student organizations, professional societies, and athletics.

Look for volunteer involvement.
If a candidate displays a variety of volunteer activities on their resume, this shows leadership, dedication, and motivation -- all characteristics of a good employee. Even though volunteering for a local food pantry isn't the same as an internship, it still teaches valuable morals and work ethic that is crucial for any employee to have.

Personality counts.
Still not satisfied with your options? Try taking a closer look at an applicant's cover letter and paying attention to their character during the interview. It's important to take note of the candidate's personality because it helps determine if they will be the right fit for your company's culture.

Did the candidate demonstrate timeliness during the application process? Is he or she passionate about your industry? If you take a moment to observe an applicant's personality, you could find the perfect match your company.

Remember to keep an open mind.
If you are an employer who continues to struggle with overeducated and under-qualified entry level applications, change your perspective of how you view "experience." Try to change your mindset from "job-related experience" to plain old "experience." When hiring entry-level applicants, look for experience and characteristics displayed in their resumes that highlight what you look for in a dedicated employee.

Be sure to pay attention to their community involvement, leadership experience, and ability to balance extra-curricular activities and academics. Even though they may not have had the three internships you were looking for, the next person you choose could be the hardest working employee you've hired yet.