Hiring a College Grad? What to Look for in a Background Check


The future of many companies depends greatly on the quality of the new college grads they hire. Unfortunately, these young people often have very little relevant job experience, compounding the usual problems with verifying claims on resumes or checking references. Given the importance of these new hires to your company, it’s more important than ever to go beyond the resume and do the background checks to make the best possible selections.

Recent college grads generally have two kinds of experience that shape how they might perform as employees.  First, the obvious one is the training they have received in four (or more!) years of study leading to a degree.  Your job postings will always reflect this in specifying educational requirements, which may include a certain certification or exam performance.  A degree will often imply knowledge or skills that can be evaluated.

The second, harder thing to evaluate that every grad brings, is how well they have acquired the intangible adult characteristics we associate with success.  You can begin to learn about these factors through their experience in temporary or part-time jobs, or in other kinds of organized, task-focused efforts with specific objectives.  It’s not straightforward to connect that summertime job as a life guard with excellent contributions in a more formal work environment, but there are lessons to be learned by the pool.

Every background screening process should be designed around the job role it serves, including the amount and kind of experience an applicant might have in order to qualify.

Some factors you can use to evaluate recent college grads include:

  1. Educational attainment
  2. Intelligence and general ability
  3. Character
  4. Fiscal reliability

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