Do You Remember Your 1st Job?

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data, millennials are now the largest generation in the American workforce. Defined as individuals born between the early 1980's and late 1990's, odds are a hiring manager will have seen a lot of this generation, whether they're recent graduates or individuals with a few years under their belts.

What can be tough when hiring a new graduate is looking at their resume and work experience; often times there isn’t much to go on besides a student worker job or the odd summer position. However, these first experiences offer a wealth of knowledge and insight into the candidate's background. Whether the candidate was a waitress or a lifeguard, first jobs can potentially tell HR a lot about a young professionals initiative and personality.

First jobs are great learning tools and can set someone up for a future of success. In these first jobs individuals are given an environment to practice problem solving, conflict resolution, teamwork, adaptability, and time management. A hiring manager can learn about a candidates willingness to work, their attitude, and approach to working with others all by asking for a few details on those first few roles. For instance, asking about  a thought process or how they dealt with a problem can test for company fit; how they responded in the past will probably be how they handle the future.

Martin Yate, a career columnist for the Society for Human Resource Management, suggests the following interview questions to ask a recent graduate about their first jobs.

  1. What was the job's biggest challenge?
  2. What was your least valuable work experience?
  3. Tell me about a responsibility you enjoyed.
  4. Tell me about a time when you compromised successfully.
  5. What was the most frustrating work-related experience have you ever faced?