Now that many millennials have had several years in the workforce, employers are weighing in on the pros and cons of this cohort.
On the positive side, employers see that this group does have a lot to offer. Among the major pros are:
They are technologically savvy. This group was probably learning to text and talk at the same time and, as such, are very comfortable keeping up with ever-changing technology and leveraging social media.
Growing up in a high tech world, they’ve become used to change and can adapt quickly, which also makes them incredible multitaskers. This is one area where they really have an advantage over older workers who are often seen as having difficulty adapting to change.
They are social and collaborative, which can help build a strong workplace culture. Especially considering they are more open to diversity than any generation before them due to the broad cultural reach social media affords them. Their ability to leverage this world-wide connectivity makes them more prepared to do business globally.
This group is very accepting of new ideas and more likely to take a variety of viewpoints into consideration when making decisions. They network with their connections and come up with unexpected solutions to problems.
Reverse mentoring is something many employers are finding helpful among this group. Millennials and older workers are being paired together to help older workers become more proficient with social media and technology.
They’re confident in their abilities and take pride in their work. That being said, a number of employers have seen a good deal of enthusiasm but not necessarily the hard work to go along with it.
Hiring managers are seeing a lot of “the bad” before an applicant even gets the job. Millennials make mistakes range from using their phones and wearing very casual attire during formal interviews to bringing their parents into the interview with them.
In addition, interviewers often see that millennials come to the interview very unprepared. They either ask questions they could have easily found the answers to if they had done some quick research on the company’s website, or worse, they don’t ask any questions at all. Either way, they aren’t indicating much interest in the company or the job.
Of course, the above mentioned mistakes are assuming they even get an interview. After posting inappropriate content on their social media sites and sending in generic cover letters and resumes, many millennials aren’t even getting past the screening stage. With technology providing tons of easily accessible information, there comes an increase in expectations for using that information. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort to personalize a cover letter, application or resume—but the lack of personalization conveys a real lack of effort and interest.
One of the biggest concerns is the feeling of entitlement. Millennials often come into either the interview or the job with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude. Rather than focusing on what skills and abilities they bring to the company, they place the emphasis on what the company has to offer them in terms of money and advancement. With technology, and thus information, literally at their fingertips from a very young age, this generation expects everything to happen instantly. And sometimes even faster than that. They don’t seem to realize that they need to get their hands dirty, work hard and pay some dues before getting the high level, high paying dream job they’ve envisioned.
Being expected to work hard, add value and actually earn respect or accolades can be a rude awakening for many millennials, whose every minor accomplishment (like graduating pre-school or just participating in an organized sport) has been considered award-worthy.
Overall, millennials bring many positive attributes to the table. At the same time, however, they could benefit from being much better prepared, developing a higher degree of professionalism, and realizing they need to put in time and hard work to add value and earn their place.
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