5 Promising Signs in Recently Graduated Candidates With No Work Experience

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Today's Question: How do you assess recent grads who don't have much, if any, work experience?

The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization composed of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

1. Their Internship Experience and Side Projects

Recent grads should have 1-2 relevant internship and volunteer experiences. We especially love those who have done side projects. We love folks who have a passion for their field outside of school. Those who have started side businesses definitely stick out from the crowd.

— James Hu, Jobscan

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2. Their Attitude and Outlook

At Aligned Signs, we look for key attitudes, dispositions, and outlooks that would make inexperienced workers a great fit within the company. We appreciate original thinkers who take initiative and have conviction in their thoughts and ideas. Sometimes, a lack of experience may be an asset; a recent grad can bring a fresh perspective.

— Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

3. Their Critical-Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

This is a problem we at Odigia try to solve for our customers. A degree just doesn't carry the weight it used to, and hiring is not as easy as looking at a GPA. We've found that soft skills better indicate an individual's ability to work with our team and create value. Our process is designed to uncover an individual's critical-thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills.

— Joshua Moe, Odigia

4. Their Personal Measures

I look at how they carry themselves. In my field, experience is important, but even a ton of experience can't make up for a lack of confidence and charisma – or worse, arrogance. If a new graduate knows how to work a room, has a good attitude, and understands that they still have a lot to learn, that goes a long way toward turning them into a new employee.

— Steven Buchwald, The E2 Visa Lawyer

5. Their Practical Experience

I am the owner of a tutoring company, and practical experience is important for all my administrators and tutors. I typically test recent grads on their practical skills by asking them to teach me on a practice question. I like to choose a random question that they have no expertise in to see how resourceful they are.

— Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning