Millennials don’t deserve their negative reputation

by Tim Pate

Some business leaders are scared of hiring Generation Y employees. That is the unfortunate truth. Many companies have been led to believe that the Millennial generation – that age group ranging from approximately 18 to 34 – is composed of unreliable, lazy, naïve workers, too incompetent, too care free, or too self-interested to do an effective job.

Take, for example, this article by Hollis Thomases on Inc.com: “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media.” A post that garnered much feedback on both sides of the debate, Thomases’ piece paints a picture of Generation Y that is anything but appealing to an employer. This pervasive conception and regard of Millennials is not only detrimental to the success of members of Generation Y, but also to the potential of the companies unwilling to hire the youngest members of the workforce.

Image credit: Calita Kabir, Flickr.com

With our (and yes, I am among the ranks of the Millennials) strange, fleeting trends, our deep involvement in social media, and our love for music that sounds more akin to the belching of a robot than the artwork of a master composer, I can sympathize to an extent with the apprehension displayed on behalf of experienced managers of the older generations. After all, we tend to fear that which we don’t understand.

However, I believe that it’s time that recruiters and interviewers stopped judging applicants based on a preconceived notion of what it means to be a Millennial and instead evaluated prospects by their merits. As part of my position with the College of Business Department of Communications, I get to profile exceptional students at Colorado State University who absolutely shatter the image of a typical Millennial as proposed by people such as Thomases.

One need only look as far as the News & Events section of our website, where these students are highlighted each month for their extraordinary work – academic, professional, and humanitarian. Click the link for the story about Collin Brown, and you will discover a young man exploring the intricacies of the Internet Protocol system, a highly technical concept foreign to many people across generations. Brown’s youthful curiosity and dedication to discovering the latest in technology bolstered his academic and professional success – it did not hinder it.

Or you can browse the work of the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA program in the College of Business, where young entrepreneurs are developing sustainable business ideas to improve lives through ingenious business ventures. The work of these students crosses boarders, brings communities and cultures together, and creates opportunity to address global issues in innovative ways.

Thankfully, there are people out there (of Generation Y and outside of it) who are defending the integrity of the Millennials. Publications such as Forbes and Ragan’s PR Daily have published articles reinforcing the ability and aptitude of young workers, and I speak on behalf of most Millennials in saying that I appreciate their efforts.

In CSU’s own College of Business and across the country, young, aspiring students and professionals are looking for the chance to demonstrate the impressive feats of which they are capable. They have been equipped with skill-sets that prepare them to face challenges that doubters say they are incapable of conquering. I say it’s time to give Millennials the chance to prove themselves – I hypothesize that the results could surprise us all.

What are your thoughts? Do some businesses underestimate the abilities of Generation Y? Or are people justified in being cautious about hiring Millennials? Submit your opinions in the comments below. 

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The College of Business presents: The Interview of Horror

 

by Tim Pate

HalloweenBuster had recently graduated from college, and he was ready to make it big in the real world. He had been highly successful during his four years at school, and he knew that he had a lot to offer his future employer. After browsing through the local paper for job openings, he found a company hiring for an entry level position in his field of interest. He sent the company his resume and cover letter, and was lucky enough to be granted an interview the following week. Little did he know that he was headed straight for what would prove to be one of the most terrifying experiences of his young life…

On the morning of his interview, Buster peered through squinted eyes at his alarm clock only to find that it had never gone off. His interview was only 30 minutes away, and he had no time to shave or shower. He hastily donned the first dress shirt he found in his closet, neglected to select a tie, kicked on a pair of tennis shoes, and sprinted out the door and into his car. His hair in a state and his breath quite foul, he started the engine and raced to the interview.

Despite his hustle, Buster arrived at the company’s offices five minutes after the interview was scheduled to start. He tried to flatten the wrinkles in his shirt and to press down his unruly hair, but his efforts garnered no results. He caught the elevator to the company’s floor, all the while trying to calm his rapidly beating heart, and then stepped out to greet the receptionist.

The receptionist summoned the interviewer, a well-dressed and confident-looking woman from the HR department, who arrived with an all-too-obvious air of frustration to meet Buster. She greeted him briefly and ushered him into a conference room, where he sat and faced the woman.

The company for which Buster was interviewing was well-known in the area, so Buster had neglected to do any research the week prior to his interview. He figured he knew as much as anyone else about the company, and elected not to worry about analyzing the company thoroughly. Buster was then surprised when the interviewer started asking him about specific business practices of the company and how the company had interacted with certain clients. Buster had no way of relating to the questions that the interviewer was posing to him, so he instead blabbed about himself in an effort to demonstrate his own credibility. Like water flowing over a boulder in a river bed, Buster’s words gushed from his mouth but failed to move the interviewer.

At the end of the interview, Buster was asked if he had any questions for the interviewer. His mind still in a tizzy from the disastrous proceedings of the previous 45 minutes, Buster shook his head no and thanked the interviewer for her time. He stood up, shook her hand, and walked out of the office without saying another word. The receptionist said goodbye, but Buster ignored this nicety as well.

In his car, Buster punched the steering wheel in frustration. How had he been so foolish? Why hadn’t he taken the opportunity more seriously? He started the car and tried to forget the whole experience. This was a day he never wanted to relive. By the time he arrived back at home, he was thinking of his plans for the night, as he was sure that he could use some fun to wash the taste of the interview from his mouth.

A stack of thank-you letters lay unopened, untouched, and unused on the desk in his bedroom. He never heard from the company again…

THE END

Happy Halloween!

How to Make the Best of Your Interview

by Tim Pate

In light of the popularity of our post, Interview Attire: Dos and Don’ts, we have decided to follow up with more interview advice. In this post, we will discuss the actual interview process and highlight a few things an interviewee should do as well as some things to avoid.

Before the Interview

Do some background research on the company for which you are interviewing. Make sure you know enough about the company that you can ask intelligent questions during the interview. Furthermore, go online and research some common interview questionsDon’t show up unprepared and hope to spontaneously generate informed answers to interviewer questions.

Do ask your interviewers what is the proper dress attire for the interview. Play it safe and assume that business formal is expected, but be aware that some companies aim for a more casual atmosphere and may ask that you don’t dress up.

Do give yourself extra time to arrive at the interview; be punctual. Anticipate delays and detours that could slow your route to the interview location. However, when you arrive early, don’t interrupt the person or people who will be interviewing you. Wait patiently for your scheduled interview time.

During the Interview

Do know the key points about yourself that you think best demonstrate why you should get the position. Use the interviewer’s questions as a springboard for giving examples of your competency and credentials. Make sure you don’t ramble or get too chatty, but be prepared with a few stories of yourself that you can relate to interviewer questions. Furthermore, don’t wait for interviewers to draw you out. Elaborate on points to prove that you are informed and deserving of the job.

Do pay attention to body language. The way you present yourself will say a lot about your personality to your potential employers. Be polite and professional, but don’t forget to smile and show that you’re excited about the position. Remember to also sit up straight and to be reasonably expressive with hand gestures.

Do ask insightful questions. Show that you are genuinely interested in the position with questions such as, “How will my role impact your position or the company as a whole?” or “What is the atmosphere around the office?” Pay attention to the answers and interact accordingly with interviewers.

After the Interview

HandshakeDo thank interviewers for their time and consideration. Give a firm handshake and tell interviewers that you look forward to hearing from them.

Always do a follow-up. Many employers appreciate a hand-written letter thanking them for the chance to interview, but at the very least send interviewers a thank-you email to show your appreciation. Even if you have decided that the position is one in which you are not overly interested, still send a thank-you note. You never know – you may one day still work alongside that person. Don’t burn bridges just because you aren’t interested in the position.