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4 Best Approach to Interviewing Gen Z Fresh Graduates 


How long does it take for you to decide if a candidate is worth a job offer? 10 minutes, 1 hour, or more? 

According to research, most recruiters and hiring managers only need approximately 7 minutes to decide whether a candidate is a perfect fit for a role or not. The research emphasised the importance of first impressions, as it can tell much about candidates. 

However, the 7-minute rule might only work when dealing with experienced candidates. When interviewing fresh graduates, especially coming from gen Z, you might need more than 7 minutes to truly understand if they are really perfect for the role. Owen Gough’s survey found that half of Gen Z (56.6 percent) admitted feeling nervous before an interview, meaning they might make a slight mistake and avoid eye-contact with you all the time. This could be unfavourable for Gen Z candidates, given that most recruiters believe that avoiding eye contact in an interview is a sign of bad behaviour. 

See also: 4 Solutions to The Biggest Headaches of Being Recruiter

That being said, there are many exceptions you should know when interviewing Gen Z fresh graduates. They are not as experienced as you might think and the interview is probably their first interview ever. Thus, when you have a face-to-face interview with Gen Z, always remember the following rules. 

1.  Behaviour exclusion 

As mentioned earlier, more than half of Gen Z admitted being nervous before an interview, something that greater their chance of making mistakes. As a thoughtful recruiter, you should be considerate with their mistakes and behaviour. They might not be able to look you straight in the eyes when having a conversation. They might also show signs of nervousness and inexperience, so it is advisable for you to adjust yourself with this behaviour and exclude red flags for this behaviour. 

The red flag you should give is when Gen Z candidates show no interest in your interview offer, such as being too late without reason, wearing inappropriate clothes, or playing smartphones during an interview. 

2.  Adjust your questions 

Commonly, the hiring manager or recruiter will ask “why should we hire you?” or other insightful questions to assess candidates’ motivation. However, in a fresh grads case, you might need to adjust your question to make it appealing to candidates. Asking behavioural-based questions is very advisable here. 

As an example, you can ask your candidate to demonstrate how they handle university projects. Or, if your candidate was a class leader or team leader, you can ask them how they handle the team and how they pull through challenges. Steve Pritchard, an HR consultant for Ben Sherman, advised that your interview questions must highlight priorities as well as ambitions that are suitable for the young generation to answer. If you ask, what was your last salary? or why do you seek another opportunity?, you might get disappointed as Gen Z fresh graduates might only have internship and school projects. 

3.  Use follow-up questions 

Do not merely judge a candidate by their nervousness. It might be their very first interview and they feel a bit stressed out. As candidates might be anxious during an interview, you should not get annoyed when they give a vague and incomplete answer. Instead, you can ask a follow-up question. Besides, a follow-up question can also help reveal more answers that candidates don’t say before. 

4.  Don’t get too personal, but have empathy and be truthful 

McKinsey survey revealed that Gen Z is more realistic and communicative than the previous generations. Gen Z values honesty at best and is not afraid to express themselves in many ways. This is good to create a bond between you and Gen Z during an interview, thus, you can see their true colours. However, albeit they are an active communicator, you should not dig deeper into their personal life during an interview as it can make them feel uncomfortable. Stick to your interview questions list and have a small chit-chat at the beginning or end of conversation might be good for both of you, recruiters and Gen Z candidates. 

Read also: Recruiters Must Work Harder as Talent Competition Will be Tighter in 2020 

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