Student Success Blog For Educators


September 19, 2016

Why Your Entry-Level Job Requirements are Totally Wrong

Perhaps the most discouraging part of the post-grad job hunt is the unreasonable expectation of experience at the entry level. You know what I’m talking about. The whole, "this is an entry-level position but we require 1-3 years of experience in this field to even be considered for an interview" bit. 


Now for the million-dollar question: How can companies expect a potential candidate to have experience if they are at the entry level? Confused? So are we.


Discover ePortfolios from students like you.


It is easy to throw a minimum-experience requirement into a job description, but experience doesn’t actually predict that someone can do the job well. Stanford Professor Bob Sutton references a study in his article, Selecting Talent: The Upshot from 85 Years of Research, that analyzed a number of hiring approaches to determine which of these methods were the best and worst predicators of job performance. The study indicated that factors such as job experience (.18) and years of education (.10) were far less accurate predicators of job performance, than work samples (.54) and job knowledge assessments (.48).


Some of the best people for the job don’t have the experience but they’ve got other things that are more important:

• Learning Ability (Google’s #1 hiring requirement)
• Tech Savvy
• Intangibles like Entrepreneurial Spirit and Drive


Candidates that truly exhibit these qualities end up impressing hiring managers and doing a great job, on the job.


But to get even more specific, in targeting people that can do your marketing job, your analyst job or your restaurant manager job, you want to reverse engineer your job description, converting the lengthy blob of keywords into a structured group of core competencies like:


• Communication
• Leadership
• Analytical Skills


The next thing you want to do, and this is the critical step, is to ask students to show EVIDENCE of these competencies. Make it a requirement that they submit links to work samples along with their application (e.g. work samples that demonstrate the competencies listed above).
ePortfolio sites, like Portfolium, make it easy to track evidence of your potential hire’s skill sets. Say for example, you’re looking for a candidate that has strong graphic design skills:


All you have to do is type “graphic design” into Portfolium’s search bar, and an entire list of graphic design entries will populate.




You can browse through the work of Portfolium’s over 2,000 student users and select the candidates with the skillsets that are the best match for your company.




Once you’ve found work samples that you like, you can click on them to view the student’s full portfolio of work:




The Bottom Line

If you take an evidence-based approach, you get a win-win. Not only do you get candidates that can do and learn the job, you also don’t leave qualified folks out just because they haven’t had years of experience yet. Find students based on proven skills, not years of experience at Portfolium.


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