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Apr 16

Interviewing Workers with Limited Work Experience

Posted by: Steve Marr

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Most of us have interviewed potential employees with very little work background. These may be individuals fresh out of school or those who have been out of the workforce for a period of time. Trying to discern a person's qualifications without work experience is a challenge.


I have interviewed individuals without a lot of work background.  In these situations I probe for volunteer work and even ask for information about their hobbies. For example, if I'm interviewing a 20-year-old who was an Eagle Scout; they just earned four stars on my rating scale. If a young person has led a youth group or demonstrated leadership in student government or another organization, these are pluses. A student who mastered an instrument in high school demonstrates follow-through and the ability to stick to something long term which is a positive trait.

When someone has been out of the workforce for a while I like to see what other activities they have pursued. Has the person led a prayer group or Bible study at their local church or demonstrated leadership capability? Perhaps a mom has been a den mother for a Cub Scout troop. Since I understand the leadership and follow-through she had to learn, I know how to equate that with leadership experience.

The key principle is to explore volunteer work because it usually uncovers the level of leadership and responsibility they have been trusted with. It is a helpful indication of how effective a person will be on the job.

Paul gave us an example for youth when he wrote, “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (I Timothy 4:12, NIV) Applicants who are inexperienced in the workplace but who have the positive traits Paul talked about can become gem workers in the future.  Be careful that you don't miss out as an employer.

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