15 questions to ask a fresh graduate during an interview

questions à poser à un jeune diplômé


In a previous article, we shared with you our recommendations for recruiting on certain social networks such as Snapchat or TikTok. If you want to recruit junior profiles in your company, speaking on these platforms can be very beneficial. What about the questions to ask a young graduate during a job interview? Light in this article!

Recruiting a young graduate: what differences with a classic recruitment?

The reasons that can motivate a company to recruit young talents are diverse and varied. Young graduates allow companies to have new ideas and a fresh look at their sector. They master the codes of generation Z like no one else and will be able to speak to a young audience – or rejuvenate the image of a company.

At the same time, these start-ups are also looking to grow their skills and are looking for challenges. They are often highly adaptable and able to learn.

In other words, every company needs to recruit young graduates! But to do so, the recruiter must be careful in his approach. We don’t ask a young developer who just graduated from school to have the same skills as a lead developer with ten years of experience!

Rather than expertise or experience, it is more relevant to look for five essential elements in young graduates:

  • First, you need to measure a candidate’s potential.
  • Secondly, you need to assess the candidate’s motivation/ambition and his/her desire to support the company’s project.
  • You should also assess a candidate’s ability to develop – in other words, their capacity to learn.
  • You should also look at their talent or ability to innovate, especially in certain particularly creative positions (web development, design, etc.).
  • Generally speaking, the candidate’s interpersonal skills are crucial. Depending on the type of position and company, certain soft skills will be more important than others.

Good to know

Always take the time to explain the interview process to your candidate, giving him or her precise instructions. If you want concrete examples of past achievements, ask explicitly “Tell me in detail what you achieved in your previous position, mentioning the results you obtained”, for example.

In general, keep in mind that a young graduate has not yet fully mastered the interview process and its mechanics. It is therefore important that you give clear, unambiguous instructions.

Questions to ask a fresh graduate to assess his or her potential

  • “Tell me about a failure or challenge you had to overcome in your job. How did you deal with it?”
  • “What influence do you think [choose an industry news item] will have on your work or the company?”
  • “How do you go about getting organized and accomplishing your goals on a daily basis?”

Assessing a graduate’s soft skills

Of course, it all depends on the soft skills you’re looking for! When recruiting young graduates, certain soft skills such as autonomy, problem solving, organization or curiosity are absolutely essential.

If you are looking for an organized candidate, ask him/her to explain how he/she organized his/her day in his/her previous position, giving examples.
To gauge their curiosity, ask them what their next course of study is and why.
Need a talent who can adapt quickly to your company? Ask them to detail the last time they had to go beyond their job description.
Assessing a candidate’s problem-solving ability is simple. Ask them to tell you about a situation where things went wrong during a group project and how the applicant solved the problem.
Please read our dedicated article to learn more about the questions to ask a candidate to measure his/her soft skills.

Questions to ask a fresh graduate to assess his or her motivation or ambition

  • “What did you enjoy doing most at your school/university? How do you spend your free time?”
  • “What specifically do you like about your job?”
  • “which skills you like to learn alongside us?”
  • “What is the value of our company that inspires you the most and why?”
  • “How does this position fit into your long-term career goals?”

Questions to assess a recent graduate’s ability to learn

  • “What is the last book you read that helped you advance in your field?”
  • “Name three skills you developed during your previous work or association experiences. How are they useful to you today?”
  • “Tell me about a theory you learned recently that changed the way you work or live your day-to-day life.”
  • “Tell me about one of your failures (professional, academic or otherwise).”

Questions to assess a recent graduate’s creativity

  • “Tell me about an idea or innovation you implemented in your previous position or elsewhere.”
  • “How would you describe the company to your grandmother who knows nothing about the industry?” (this question has the merit of revealing two things: the creativity that the candidate employs to describe a field by breaking out of the classic patterns, but also his/her ability (or not) to be educational).
  • “If you were a dessert, which one would you be?” (here, of course, it is not a question of judging the answer as such but rather of evaluating the way it is formulated. Does the candidate argue, give examples, spin metaphors, or show a sense of humour? As far-fetched as it may be, this question has the merit of letting the candidate’s personality shine through unfiltered).

Questions to ask a fresh graduate in conclusion

With a strong capacity to adapt and a desire to evolve quickly, young graduates are not lacking in interest for a company. Beyond their training or technical skills, their wealth lies mainly in their interpersonal skills.

Indeed, it is through their motivation, their dynamism, their ability to adapt or their innovative spirit that these young people can both make a company grow and grow with it. It is therefore essential for a recruiter to learn how to evaluate these behavioral skills to find the talents that can blossom within their company.

Don’t hesitate to remove administrative and time-consuming tasks from your daily routine with recruitment software. This way, you’ll be better prepared to focus on your core business – recruiting young talent.

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