Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Grow Up, Be Respectful

2010-09-22 00:04:47

On one of my LinkedIn recruiting groups, there is a discussion going about candidates that are confirmed for interviews and then don't show. This is a shocking thread to me. It is a global problem, and seems to have a couple of common themes (although apparently not limited only to these two factors): type of roles (support/admin) and general age of the candidate (young - 18-25 or so; GenY).

Additionally, I recently posted an ad on Craigslist for a technical position for one of my hiring managers. There was no email address listed, and the directions *very clearly* stated that to apply for the position, candidates must follow the (provided) link for consideration. I received the usual spam, but at least three candidates that hit the "reply to poster" button and didn't apply online. Guess what? I deleted their resumes. For this particular position, the employer requires (and it has to do with federal compliance EEOC/AA guidelines) all candidates to apply directly online to the job. No exceptions. Now, this particular job is very much just beyond entry level; the manager was looking for someone with 1-2 years of business experience out of college. So what does that say to me? That probably 99.9% of the applicants are in their 20's. If you cannot read basic directions, you aren't the right person for this job.

Regardless of age, the above-referenced behaviors are *unacceptable*. Period. And believe me, employers *do* blackball you in their own databases.

There are a lot of generalities about GenY and their approach to the workforce, their place in it, and how they interact with others. I've been reading blogs, white papers, articles, and books on this topic and have found an overwhelming support for many of the suppositions people make.

The Digital Natives bring an amazing skill set to the workplace. They are technically savvy beyond any generation before them. They are amazing multi-taskers. I don't believe any previous generation has managed to truly capture the concept of "collaboration" as well as this current age bracket. BUT: some of their habits and behaviors are off-putting to the extent that they can become unhirable in today's market.

So let me tell you GenY, a few things about the workplace.

1) It's not all about you, how companies can best accomodate your needs. It's about the bottom line ($) and finding and retaining the talent that is going to bring the most bang for the buck. That means you need to prove you can hold a job long enough to make a valuable contribution to the company. This means that you shouldn't be job hopping yearly or every two years of your own volition.

2) Chances are that you are not going to be the head of the international marketing team, traveling all over the globe at your employer's expense, one to five years out of college. Believe it or not, there is a career path. Prove yourself for a couple of years, then jump up that corporate ladder. The common thread running through this all is *prove yourself*.

3) Social media is important, but don't let your texting/tweeting/facebooking/etc. get in the way of doing your job. Most businesses have established time to *work*, and that doesn't mean attending to your social network for 3/8 hours is okay just because you work until 8 PM. You are expected to be productively working for the general eight hours everyone else is. Why? Because this is when most of a business' customers expect them to be available.

4) Everyone else you work with is focused on their own responsibilities, including your supervisor. In general, *no news is good news*. If you don't get negative feedback on your work, that is the same as receiving *positive* feedback. The fastest way to change someone's good opinion of you is to constantly *ask how you are doing at your job.*

4A) Most people in professional settings need to focus on tasks, and constantly interrupting them or expecting an instant response to a non-critical communique is not appreciated. Learn patience.

5) Your job is not a LARP. Your team is not playing a game with you. This is not a video game. This is a business. Treat it as such, not as some real-world version of WoW.

6) And "open door policy" does not mean that you should go to the VP of your division with every idea for better ways to do things, or to try and work around the procedures that are in place (for a reason). If you have process improvement ideas, try talking to your manager first. If s/he is unresponsive, talk to his/her boss. Believe me, if you go over heads too many times, you are quite replaceable, especially in today's economy.

If you are unhappy with the way things are run at the company that is paying you, please feel free to go open your own business; you can run it how you want, implement whatever policies you feel are reasonable, and manage your time and working conditions exactly as you please. But while someone else is paying you and you choose to stay, you need to play by their rules. It's sort of inherent in the fact that you are accepting their money.

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