So, you hired an entry-level college grad with no experience in the field.  So, what’s next? When you hire someone without experience you ought to ask the following questions:  When does, the new hire begin to add value to the organization?  How do you develop the new hire?  When do you begin seeing a return of investment in the new hire?

Entry-level candidates can be a drain of resources for some companies, not so much for other companies, but without a plan you can waste and through resources away.  This article will be about a path to ensure progress and value creation in your new hires.

Technical Skills, Communication and Measuring:

With any entry-level grad, you have bag of skills and abilities, some are refined and some are unrefined, an assessment of the new hire’s skills and abilities should begin day one.  After welcoming the new hire, communicate the expected tasks and basic progression for their first 30 days. Keep notes, and have them keep notes. Give them simple tasks with time constraints. Grade the candidate on the time taken to complete the task against both the difficulty of the task and accuracy of the result.  An easy formula to consider would be a simple five-point scale assessment, later you can apply a more accurate scoring and testing given the quantifiability of the tasks.

(At the beginning, the system would be a bit ad hoc or arbitrary with the judgements, over time you can collect data on the tasks and analyze them against other new hires to create a bell curve of sorts.)

After a few tasks or at the end of the first day, sit down with the new hire for 30 minutes and reflect and consult with the new hire.  This isn’t a time to share your assessment with the candidate yet.  Allow them to do their own self-assessment, their own mood, how they thought it went, and how difficult or easy the day or tasks were.  Hold off on judgements in the beginning, just record and reflect with the new hire.  The first five days will be a bit more hands-on approach with scheduled times to discuss their days and perceived progress.  Give them a daily tracking of activities sheet for them to fill out, marking tasks completed and the time given and completed collect these reports daily.  After the first five days, follow up weekly for the first 30 days.  (If you want an excel sheet for tracking, please feel free to contact me for one.)

Teams and Buddy systems

For an entry-level new hire, support is crucial.  It is imperative to develop great teams.  Teams can be of various sizes and scopes; however, they can be teams created across departments as well. Attach the new member to an employee that has been working with the company for one to three years as a “buddy”.  That employee will be the new hire’s guide.  With that “buddy” and new hire have a team lead someone that oversees and guides both the new hire and the “buddy”.  The minimum size team would be three following this structure.  As in the prior section, assess the team in the same way as the new hire, keeping in mind for an assessment to be useful it should be quantifiable.

Teams and buddy systems help with fostering interpersonal communication skills and a great feedback loop for new hires.  It also assists in creating opportunities for employees to and develop leadership skills and improve performance.  For the new hire, it will be an opportunity to demonstrate skills, develop skills and refine technical skills.  At the end of the first month, with the team and buddy system, the new hire should have a general grasp of their current role with the company, the path and progression of their career with the company, and a general sense of what needs to be learned and developed in the future.

Candidate Analysis

At the end of the first thirty days, you should have a good idea about the capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses of the new hire.  You should also know, the new hire’s ability to work in groups, ability to learn, technical ability, and general idea if they will succeed or fail.  It will help identify what items the new hire will need to improve and what items they should learn next.  It also helps you discover the new hires, personal qualities and personality.

By quantifying the experience of the new hire, you will objective data for the assessment.  You can tally and score the results over the first thirty days and compare them against other new hires.  You can make judgements about their development and progress.  Those new hires that score very low in the first thirty days could be an indicator to letting them go and cut your losses.  Someone scoring very high, could be someone you could steer towards a more challenging and rewarding path.

The more quantifiable the tasks and duties of a career the better the reliability of the analysis.  Most duties and day to day operations can be quantifiable.  Be it a dog kennel, gas station attendant, accountant at a big four firm, a production worker at an automotive manufacturing plant, there are always specific key tasks related to the roles of employees that can be quantified.  Properly tracking and quantifying the data points is the most crucial aspect.  I will write more on this subject later, specifically on quantifying tasks and results.

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