May 18, 2014 — As another group of Millennials prepares to graduate from college and high school, many of them may be repeating the same job-search mistakes of their predecessors – and contributing to their own “career fails,” according to OI Global Partners, a leading human resource consulting firm.
Employers have a number of concerns about hiring Millennials – generally, those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. These doubts are contributing to the unemployment rate for Millennials being roughly double that of the overall population, according to federal government statistics.
“However, Millennials can take steps to address several of these issues and help themselves get the jobs they have been studying for,” said Patty Prosser, chair of OI Global Partners.
The perceptions about Millennials that many employers have include the following, according to career consultants at OI Global Partners:
- ‘About Me’ Attitude: “Many Millennials have an inwardly focused attitude which conveys that everything is about them and they tend to project a sense of entitlement,” said Prosser.
- Work Ethic: Millennials are inclined to prioritize work/life balance ahead of their careers and value non-interference with their personal lives over dedication to their jobs.
- Weak Communication Skills: “Millennials often do not have good written, verbal or presentation skills and have limited their writings to Twitter posts and text messages. Employers also feel that numerous Millennials lack the ability to communicate with other generations, including customers and co-workers,” added Prosser.
- Texting Mania: Employers are concerned that Millennials can’t get through a work day without texting their friends.
- Inadequate Social and Interpersonal skills: “Employers are apprehensive that Millennials do not have the social skills necessary to interface with clients and frequently perform poorly in face-to-face meetings, including job interviews. Many don’t know the meaning of ‘business casual’ and don’t have the etiquette skills to get through a business lunch,” said Prosser.
- Lack patience and persistence: Millennials are not known for their patience or their willingness to “pay their dues.”
- Inappropriate social media content: Millennials may have questionable content on their social media sites including inappropriate photos, language and personal information.
OI Global Partners career consultants offer the following advice to Millennials on how to overcome these objections:
- Don’t validate employers’ concerns. “Millennials need to familiarize themselves with employers’ doubts and not corroborate them when being interviewed. For example, they shouldn’t wear jeans to an interview or check their text messages, and need to practice what to say and do, including making frequent eye contact with interviewers. Also, remove any distasteful or offensive material from social media sites,” said Prosser.
- Counter these issues with examples. “Instead of waiting for potential employers to raise some of these matters, Millennials should head them off by offering samples of good writing and examples of their working together with other generations in charitable and religious groups and in previous jobs,” said Prosser.
- Enumerate the advantages Millennials can bring to the workplace. “Such benefits include being savvy in technology, social media and digital marketing and capable of mentoring older workers in and adding a younger perspective to these areas,” said Prosser.
- Display customer focus and dedication to the job. Millennials should specify how they can add value to employers’ customers and express their willingness to put in extra hours to help businesses achieve their goals,” added Prosser.
- Communicate possessing patience and persistence. Millennials need to be able to share stories that demonstrate patience and persistence – including sticking it out through a tough course, finding a way to get support from classmates, and being promoted while working at part-time or summer jobs.
- Prepare to deal with a tough personal interview. “Some Millennials perform well during the first few rounds of interviews, but then crumble in final round with a tough interviewer. Employers do that as a test to see how well Millennials handle pressure and rejection. It’s part of the screening process to determine whether they have the self-confidence to handle negative comments,” said Prosser.
- Don’t overlook networking with parents and other family members. Millennials who get job leads and land jobs are often the best networkers. One of the most productive networks for them is their parents and other family members.
- Assist friends with their job searches. “Grateful friends may make an introduction to someone you didn’t know they knew and this can lead closer to getting hired,” said Prosser.
OI Global Partners