Why Generation Y Hates You

With Generation Y so adept in this era of instant and ubiquitous communications, recruiters need to be cognizant that one bad impression made to one person can be known to many through the numerous channels of communications used by Generation Y, including MySpace, personal blog sites, and text messaging.

Many times more effective and swifter than Paul Revere, the message from an alienated candidate is heard quickly and by many of his or her social network friends.

Old Methods Will Do Harm

Throughout the years, we have worked for or with a “tough” hiring manager. You know the type. The candidate needs to leave three voice messages before the hiring manager will return the call. Have you ever noticed those “tough” hiring managers always have the most needs? Old mindsets and what worked in the past no longer apply with today’s workforce.

To illustrate this point, here’s a real-world example: I have an associate who lived in the Midwest. She worked with hiring managers in the Northeast who considered themselves “tough.” She asked the managers if she could sit in on the speaker-phone while they were interviewing the candidates that she had sent them. They agreed, and after listening to the first interview, her head almost exploded. The managers were asking provoking questions including, “Why do you want to work for us?” and “Tell me why I should not end this interview after 20 minutes?”

You get the point. A confrontational interview will have the candidate feeling as though it was an interrogation. Needless to say, the candidate did not ask for a second interview.

After my associate regained her composure, she asked them one question: “How many people are going to know about how you both just treated that candidate?” She said the hiring managers both appeared dumbfounded by the possibility that they just tainted a candidate pool that was already tight to begin with for the company. Needless to say, the hiring managers had no idea of the consequences of their heavy-handed approach with the candidate. In a heartbeat, the unpleasantness of the experience can be communicated and shared through many channels, proliferating with a viral quality.

Getting Generation Y to Like You

The first step in this process is to do your best in finding the source of what’s causing the negative perception. Chances are, it is either the recruiter or the hiring manager who unwittingly supplies the negativity.

We recruiters use the term “engaging” when we enter a prospect into the interview process. We should be engaging and treating them as an individual, just as much as a candidate for the position we are trying to fill. Always keep in mind that this candidate may post a recap of their day on MySpace or their personal blog. Remember, you have only one chance to make a good impression for your company, your client, as well as for yourself.

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Explain the importance of giving a good impression to everyone the hiring manager meets with and interviews. Regardless of the interviewee being the best or worst candidate, the interviewee should always leave the interview session with a positive experience with the company.

Hiring managers should always be honest and always be selling. We have a mandatory 20-minute rule for all candidates. Even if the candidate is wearing a t-shirt and jeans, we spend at least 20 minutes talking about the benefits of working for our company.

How to Turn Rejection into an Advantage

Good hiring managers and recruiters should look to take advantage of Generation Y’s inherent ability to network. One effective practice for recruiters is to send an e-mail out to every candidate who has been rejected and ask for their thoughts on their experience interviewing with their company or client. This gives you the ability to address any negativity as well as get referrals.

Get in the habit of asking a candidate to give three names of people who are equal to or better than they are at their current job. Turn the “close” around on the candidate by asking what their overall feeling is about the interview and opinion on the company.

What You Must Remember

For companies to remain competitive, success often hinges on hiring and keeping the best employees to drive the company ahead. Generation Y is an important part of the workforce. Hiring managers and recruiters must remember to facilitate and not inadvertently hinder the hiring process.

Ultimately, our goal as recruiters is to find top talent and deliver that talent to our clients. Finding the top talent in Generation Y can either be a nightmare or a dream come true. You have to be willing to play by their rules!

John Wilson is chief executive officer and founder of Wilson Recruiting Worldwide (www.wrww.com), a nationwide leader in human capital solutions. He established Wilson Recruiting Worldwide in 2002 and has led the company to more than 100 percent year-over-year growth.

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2 Comments on “Why Generation Y Hates You

  1. ‘The managers were asking provoking questions including, ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ and ‘Tell me why I should not end this interview after 20 minutes?’

    I am horrified to think (and I believe it IS happening) that passively sourced candidates are being treated this way. We’re beating our brains out here and working our dial fingers to the bone trying to locate these people and some of them are approached like this? I shudder to think.

    I think about the disconnect I see between the young lab rat on CSI Las Vegas and his older crime scene co-workers ? how sometimes he just looks at them and shakes his head, confident in his own skin and prowess in spite of his young years.

    There?s a lot of confidence out there and a lot of promise in these young lions and we?d better listen up and pay attention to the new marching tune. If we?re going to continue to put these promising young cadets at a distance (on the defense) when we contact them we deserve to fail in our hiring efforts, we deserve to lose out to cultures and companies who ?get? the basic tenets of civility.

  2. It is certainly a two way street – all of this connectedness and networking. Yes, if you treat a candidate poorly, they can tell everyone on their blog, myspace and AIM.

    At the same time, it is getting easier to get intel on candidates by searching social networks for email addresses.

    A recruiter I worked with had candidate last year who claimed to have a BSEE from an institution we had never heard of. The client asked us to look into it and while searching google, we discovered a page where he described his belief in (and study of) vampires, UFOs and other things likely to raise the eyebrows of a small town manufacturing company. The pictures were the icing on the cake and his candidacy was withdrawn.

    There is very little privacy anymore and we have all but lost our ability to compartmentalize our life – especially if we live out that life on the internet.

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