Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hiring Managers and Generation Y

Landing a job when you're starting your career can be difficult, especially as hiring managers are still skeptical of Gen Y hires and their independent-mindedness when it comes to work. As a millennial it's important to understand that not all hiring managers share your values of independence explains, Rusty Rueff, a career expert who has worked in human resources. To convince them that you're a fit, "you are going to have to speak their language if you want them to hear you," Rueff says.Here's how to diffuse common hiring manager concerns regarding millennial attitudes:

Lax work ethics
With different priorities, workers who were born from 1979 to 2000 can be perceived as unmotivated when it comes to succeeding on the job. Many Gen Y workers value their activities outside of work, which can make hiring managers hesitant to bring one on board. To counteract such perceptions, attend an interview prepared with specifics about how you've managed to show dedication, like on a long-term work or school project. "The examples may be those of areas that are not directly related to work, but hiring managers need to see self-motivation, initiative, perseverance and commitment," Rueff says.

High maintenance
Some hiring managers shy away from millennials because of the constant need for attention throughout their work. Many did not have constant communication with their own managers and are not used to giving so much feedback. To combat any misconceptions, it's important to be upfront about how much feedback you'll need, suggests Lisa Orrell, a leadership coach for Gen Y. Let them know that keeping up a constant dialogue will help make you a successful employee.

The fact that millennials don't plan to stay at a company for decades like their predecessors is one of the biggest hesitations hiring managers have when bringing a younger employee on board. However, Orrell points out that it's just the opposite, "what I've found is that [Gen Y] are very loyal by nature, but they expect a lot from their employers; if an employer is willing to treat them right, they will stay." To combat employer concerns, stress the importance of the ties that you already have in the company, or any specifics about why this position is the right fit, she says.

Being off-task is another common complaint that companies have when it comes to hiring the newest generation of workers. Many Gen Y'ers come across as bored when they're actually just eager to take on new projects, says Orrell. To combat misconceptions, take time to explain that you're interested in having responsibilities outside of your direct role. There's a "lower tolerance for work responsibilities and part of that is boomer parents don't want you to make the same mistakes we did," Orrell explains. "If you are not feeling respected or challenged you'll switch jobs -- that value system came from the boomers."

Flexible work hours
Many recent grads expect companies to honor their need for a flexible schedule, but hiring managers who are used to more regimented workweeks are skeptical. When explaining your needs to work from home or for more flexible hours, it's important to reiterate that this can sometimes help you get work done, Orrell says. "Statistics show that people who are able to work from home at least part time are more productive," she says.

Whatever you do when it comes to easing hiring manager concerns, it's important to understand that it's not one size fits all, Rueff says. Assuming that older hiring managers won't appreciate your needs as a Gen Y applicant can cause tension in a relationship from the get go. "Pay close attention to who you are talking to and know the company's values and principles very well before you go into the conversation," Rueff says.

--, 2010

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