They’re the face of your company, and they play a vital role in determining the success of your business.

External-facing employees work on the front lines, interacting with the public, building relationships, driving growth and delivering value to clients and customers.

An organization’s ability to serve its clients and customers is directly influenced by its ability to recruit top talent: interactions with your external-facing employees can dictate how the public perceives your business – a strong impression that isn’t easily changed.

For campus teams working on building a thriving front line workforce, quality of hire is a big concern. Training and developing new hires is a viable option, but the investment yields a higher return when talent already has the basic competencies required for success.

Identifying the following skills and attributes can help you gain initial insight into whether a Gen Y candidate is suited for an external-facing role.


Self-motivated candidates excel in external-facing roles because they are able to push themselves toward achieving their goals. Whether they’re bringing in a monthly sales quota or handling customer queries, self-motivated candidates are able to keep themselves motivated and focused on the task at hand.

You can identify driven Gen Y candidates by looking for a pattern of achievement. High grades on transcripts, awards/scholarships listed on resumes or extensive extracurricular involvement reflect a level of determination that can translate well into an external-facing role.


Students and grads with strong interpersonal skills are natural relationship-builders. They’re comfortable interacting with different groups of people, are easy to get along with, pick up on social cues and can build quick rapport.

You can discern whether a candidate possesses this trait by observing them at networking events. If you were able to have one-on-one time with them, what were your initial impressions? Nerves aside, did they seem comfortable talking to you? Did conversation come naturally or did it feel slightly forced?

If you weren’t able to connect one-on-one, did you see the candidate interacting with others at the event? Were they genuinely involved in conversations? These observations can help you gauge whether a candidate would be comfortable working on the front lines of your business.


Professionalism and integrity are key competencies in any role, but external-facing employees have to bring an unparalleled level of professionalism into every facet of their role.

After looking at a candidate’s formal application, take a look at their online presence. Do you see any obvious flags, like inappropriate language or insensitive jokes? Have they used their social profile as an avenue to discuss past or present employers? Polished candidates understand that their online activity plays a big role in how others perceive them, and are mindful (and a little tactful) about what they choose to post.

When searching for talent to represent your brand, professionalism is a fundamental characteristic to have.


Active  listening can help build better relationships, solve problems and facilitate productivity. It’s a skill that effectively says to your client or customer base, “We truly care about your needs and want to find a solution that works for you.”

Active listening can be a tricky skill to evaluate pre-hire, but a quick way to measure candidate potential is through your application process. Indicating some specific application requirements (like a particular subject line) is an easy way to evaluate whether a candidate paid attention, an integral component of active listening.


Effective verbal and written communication skills are required for external-facing hires, as they pass on information about your business to the public on a regular basis.

Phone interviews are a great tool for assessing a candidate’s verbal communication skills. Nerves aside, did they seem comfortable talking over the phone? Do they sound confident in what they’re saying? Are they explaining themselves in a clear, concise manner? Candidates able to express themselves in high-pressure situations (like a phone interview) can leverage that ability later on for the benefit of your business.

Discussion: How do you screen candidates for external-facing roles?