Hiring College Grads or Summer Interns? Score an A+ with these Behavioral Interview Questions

Mar 07, 2017

Hiring College Grads or Summer Interns

Spring Break is upon us and this means an influx of college students at the beach, on the slopes…and in the employment line. For thousands of students, the end of the spring semester and graduation are only weeks away, marking the beginning of hiring season and summer internships.

However, bringing a new college graduate or summer intern on board requires the interviewer to dig a little deeper to find out if they will be a good fit for your organization. After all, these candidates do not typically bring a lot, if any, business experience to the table. So, how do you determine if they are team players, will meet deadlines, have a good attitude, and can solve problems?

Conducting a behavioral interview is the key to success, since past behavior in a similar context is the best indicator of future performance. The trick is tailoring the questions to college candidates. For example, if you are seeking to fill an entry-level position that requires initiative, assertiveness or creativity, here are behavioral interview questions applicable to their experience:

  • Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your professor on an idea or concept. How did you proceed? What was the result?
  • Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your class was facing. What was the challenge? What roles did others play?
  • Describe a situation in which you recognized a potential problem as an opportunity. What did you do?

Or, perhaps you've had a bad experience with summer interns in the past and want to be sure you hire someone who is dependable, organized, and detail-oriented. These behavioral interview questions will reveal if they're a good fit:

  • Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects. How do you track your progress so that you can meet deadlines?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What did you learn?
  • Describe a situation in which you had to use reference materials to write a research paper. What was the topic? What journals did you read?

The ability to communicate and work well with others is important at every level of an organization. Find out if your college graduate or summer intern is up to the task by asking these behavioral interview questions:

  • What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in building and maintaining successful business relationship? Give me examples of how you made these work for you.
  • Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together. How did you accomplish this? What was the outcome?
  • Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker or classmate criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?

Whether you receive hundreds or a handful of applications from college students and recent graduates, it's important to ensure your hiring process does not overlook these candidates. Giving the next generation an opportunity to learn and lead in your organization can be a rewarding experience and contribute to long-term success.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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