Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It Doesn’t Take a Millennial To Know This Isn't a Great Idea

I like my generational stereotypes as much as the next person. There’s a certain comfort in finding an identity amongst a group of people born within a certain span of years and recognizing similarities in experiences, attitudes, and beliefs.

When I started managing Millennials (those born between 1977 and 1992) certain generational differences became very apparent. I won’t bore you with the details; we’ve all heard about Gen Y's infatuation with itself and its abilities, as well as its general lack of regard for hierarchy, qualities not exactly endearing in most workplaces. And it doesn’t matter that many in my generation (Gen X) created these little monsters. (Hey Adam—shout out from Mommy!) (Actually, I blame those overindulgent Boomers who waited until forever to have children—yeah, they’re the problem.)

But seriously, we humans love our cliques, don’t we? So, Gen X is one of my “cliques,” and part of our group consciousness is criticizing Gen Y, or um … our children.

However, I’m drawing a line in the sand today, because the Millennial who brought a cat to a job interview is in a class by herself. I can’t blame this complete lack of common sense on her generation. Uh huh. No. This is beyond.

"I'm sorry, could you repeat that? Where do I see myself in five years? Hmmm ..."

And while we’re at it, here are a few other things NOT to do at a job interview—
  • Don’t stare at me blankly when I ask about a job listed on your resume, pause, and then say, “Well, here’s the thing. I didn’t write my resume.”
  • Don’t come thirty minutes late, and then slip into the chair opposite me as though you’re fifteen minutes early. If you’re thirty minutes late and you haven’t called to update me, before I even see you, I better hear you saying “My apologies …”
  • Don’t choose “Never” to such common human failings as “I’ve disappointed a friend” or “I’ve shaded the truth to make someone think better of me” on your workplace personality test. The test writers know you’re lying, and when I see the results, I’ll know you’re lying, too. And then I can’t hire you.
  • Don’t hit on me. I don’t care how much of a charmer you fancy yourself. Just don’t do it.
  • And of course, don’t bring any animals to the interview (see earlier). Or you Mom. Or your lawyer. Please.

Do you have any interviewing advice to share with our young job seekers? Spill it!


  1. I used to work in HR/Recruiting. I still remember doing an interview with a man in his 50s who in the middle of my questions said "you are extremely attractive, have you ever been on TV?" When I told him that was inappropriate, his response was "I don't believe in that". Well I missed the memo about THAT unique religion. I told him to discuss that with his career counsellor and refused to submit him to the client.

    1. "I don't believe in that." Too funny! Perhaps he was a Millennial at heart? (Or just a creep …)