Recently I read an article about the workforce problems with Generation Y and the sense of entitlement they often carry as a chip on their shoulder when entering your organization. Gen Y-ers, those born between 1978 and 1993, are quickly discovering in this economic downturn that youth is less valuable than hard work and ambition. Gen Y-ers who have been content to sit back and allow their companies to care for them, are quickly losing their jobs to employees who actively seek to care for their companies.
I have worked for years as a recruiter and interviewer. I have made many contacts, both personal and professional in numerous fields and at varying work levels. I have discovered success does not come entirely from education rather it comes from work ethic and professionalism. But hard work and a professional demeanor are often lacking in the college educated ranks of Generation Y (or even my Generation X).
I recently completed a recruiting assignment for an entry level sales position. Many of the applicants were young people (Generation Y) looking to get their feet wet in sales. I perform most of our interviews over the web using video conferencing and I looked forward to interviewing a crop of young candidates who knew their way around a computer. I could not have been more disappointed by the results. Two of the candidates did not take the time to install the conferencing program or the camera needed to conduct the interview. Two other candidates failed to research the company to which they were applying and knew very little about the product they were to sell. A fifth candidate twice stood me up for an interview we had scheduled despite her assurances she would attend. I was astounded by the lack of professionalism!
I assess all my candidates with the appropriate behavioral assessment before I interview them. It gives me a good snapshot of the candidate’s personality and provides me with targeted interview questions. After the interviews I reviewed all the candidates’ results and found a correlation for several behavior traits. The candidates who took the interview process less seriously were assessed as “Easy Going” rather than “Achieving” and “Accommodating” rather than “Assertive.” Historically my experience shows that successful senior level candidates tested highly for the attributes Assertive and Achieving. Based on this past experience, plus the recent Generation Y interviews, my client now understands what attributes he needs to look for in his entry-level candidates.
Right now you are probably hiring from the Generation Y job pool. How will you know which candidates are going to ask not what your company can do for them but what they can do for your company?