Job Interviews – What Does Your Candidate Want From You?

As you are no doubt fully aware, when you are recruiting new staff to your company with job interviews, there is lots to think about during the application process and this can be especially true when you are looking to recruit young people; school leavers, students and graduates. All recruiters want the same thing when they are looking to hire: they want the best candidate for the job and they want that candidate to stay with the company for a length of time so that they can grow together with the company.

Much of the time, in these articles, we focus on what employers can look for and what they can do to attract the best staff. For young people, for example, they might want to know they are going to be working for a forward thinking, vibrant company so writing that killer job ad to show off those aspects of your firm can be a great way of attracting their attention. If you are recruiting graduates and competition is stiff for your post, using assessment centres and / or psychometric testing can help you make that final decision.

Interviewing candidates is just one aspect of an application process that can help you decide if you have the right person for your role and most of the time, from the employers’ point of view, articles will focus on the best questions to ask. Even advice articles which are written from the point of view of the candidate will focus on giving them tips on what the interviewer might be looking for and how best to answer questions. Shining at interview is important to both parties.

But how about if we swap things around? Whatever type of company you are, when you have vacancies to fill and you would love to have the best young talent out there to fill those roles, how about turning the tables by thinking about what your young candidate could be looking for from you. How can you help them in interview so that you both know you are the best fit for each other?

Be Clear And Honest About The Job Vacancy

When you are recruiting for job vacancies, it can be easy to get caught up in company jargon and mission statements. You want to sell your company to your candidates and tell them all about your happy, productive team of staff. While these might make complete sense to you, a young person who is being interviewed just wants to know exactly what their job will be.

Remember, many school leavers and students might be entering the workplace for the first time. Being clear and honest about what their duties could be and what will be expected of them when they are an employee at your company will help both you and the candidate in the long run. Will there be a chance of extra hours? Will there be a requirement to be flexible? Will there be specialist training?

And with all this, of course, this is a good time to sell the benefits: The qualifications and experience gained in apprenticeships, how your specialist graduate programme will benefit them, chances of full time work in the future for students.

It’s Not Just About The Money

Yes, of course people go to work to earn money but for many, including young people, the wages or salary are not the be all and end all to being in work. People want to be rewarded for their efforts financially but they also want to know what other benefits they will receive in their job.

Do you offer any quirky (or lucrative, if you are a bigger company) perks to your employers that make them feel like a truly valued member of your company? Even for small and medium enterprises, there are perks that can be described in interview such as monthly or quarterly pizza days where staff get together, for example. Larger companies might have a gym or a games room where staff can go to take a break a break and chill out. Fun, forward thinking companies that have a contented staff are going to appeal to many young people and they could be just as impressed with this as their hourly wage or salary.

I’ve written about suggestions for perks in the past as a way to boost staff retention because they’re used effectively by many companies of all sizes. And of course, whilst you sell your staff perks to your potential new employer during interview, you can assess whether you think they are going to fit in with your company culture or now. Again, you can read more about recruiting for culture fit, here – it’s advantages and disadvantages and what to be aware of if this is the route you want to take.

You want your candidates to be genuinely interested and passionate about the role they are being interviewed for so that they enjoy job satisfaction. If they are this type of person, just concentrating on the financial benefits of the role might not give them any clues about their work life and could deter them from taking their job application further.

Young People Want to Know They Are Being Valued During The Interview Process

Obviously, it depends what type of role you are recruiting for within your company, but if it is a competitive Apprenticeship position or graduate programme, for example, where you are using assessment centres and various stages of interview, bear in mind that your young candidates could have travelled many miles to the interview.

Are you showing them that you value their time during interview by acknowledging the effort they have made to get to the interview? Is your candidate fully aware that there could be more interviews or further assessment before you come to your final decision? Some of your candidates could have pulled out of other important commitments to make it to the interview for your role – if you acknowledge this commitment that they have shown then they will be more likely to feel they are going to be valued when they are actually working for your company.

It might be time consuming and difficult to fit in but if you decide a candidate just isn’t the best fit for your company, give them feedback on why you think this is the case. Not only will they appreciate this and be able to take this for ward when applying for future positions, they are also more likely to encourage others to apply for your future roles because they felt informed and appreciated throughout the process.

Young People Want To Know They Are Going To Be Valued In The Workplace

If you are interviewing school leavers, students or graduates, as well as being clear about what will be expected of them should they be awarded your job, young people want to know they are going to be valued from their first day at work. Yes, they have duties to carry out and you have sold them the idea of your company perks for employees and training but remember that starting a new job can be a daunting prospect.

When they are in interview, young people want you to show that you understand this fact. How are you going to help them to settle into their new role in your company when they do start work? Will they have a mentor, for example, or do you have a buddy system? Will they have an opportunity to speak with you or other managers about their training programme for how they are going to build their skills and progress through your company? Will they be encouraged to express their opinions about their new role and offer ideas about upcoming projects you have?

As mentioned in a previous article about engaging staff immediately, before and after they begin their new job, not only makes them feel valued but it is much more likely to boost your staff retention, too. The recruitment of new staff can be a time consuming and, sometimes costly, process so you want your new young stars to stick around and drive your company forward. They are more likely to do this if they feel valued and a part of the team right from the beginning.

Young People Want You To Know They Are Nervous

When was the last time you went through a recruitment process where you were the candidate? Think about how you felt during that process and put yourself in the shoes of your candidates applying for your roles. When people are nervous, it can often be difficult for them to be themselves and give you a true picture of how they really are.

We all know that the interview process can sometimes give a false impression of a candidate – and even the company doing the interviewing, for that matter – so a mutual understanding and acknowledgment of that can make your candidate feel more relaxed and even grateful that you have shown your awareness.

You will have seen for yourself how, in interviews, nerves can show themselves in different ways:

  • Your candidate might talk too much or even talk over you.
  • Your candidate can appear over confident and a bit of a know it all.
  • On the flip side, your candidate might just freeze or clam up and fail to answer your questions fully.

Young people, especially school leavers and students, are unlikely to have had much (if any, at all) practise in an interview scenario, let alone practical experience of the workplace so they could feel much more at ease if you let them know you understand if they are feeling nervous. After all, you never know; you could be interviewing someone who has the talent to really shine at your company – you want to coax the best from them during that precious interview time.

Some companies send literature to candidates before the interview so that they can prepare for the interview. This could be broader information about the company and the projects they do or it might be more information about the interview day and a rough timetable of events. Inviting candidates to the workplace to show them around before the interview can also be helpful in easing nerves and it can give young people some ideas for meaningful questions to ask during the interview and at the end of the interview, too.

Job Interviews – In Conclusion

Whatever type of company you are and whatever type of role you are are recruiting for, the interview process is just one stage of the application. Application forms, covering letters, CVs, perhaps even trial periods of work or written assessments can all work together to give you a more clear, overall picture of your candidates. And, when it comes to the interview stage, taking a bit of time to put yourself in the shoes of students, school leavers and graduates could mean a more effective interview that will help you choose the best candidate for the job.

If you have vacancies within your company – part time, temporary or full time – and are looking to attract the best young talent to your roles, why not advertise with E4S? Take a look at the page to see what we have to offer.

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