Millennials (a.k.a. Generation Y) have earned a less-than-stellar reputation in the recruiting community. You’re not alone if you’ve found young candidates to act "entitled" to jobs or not know basic rules of professional etiquette. As someone who spends a lot of time with college students and young professionals, I admit that I observe these traits fairly often.
Fortunately, I can also report that many career-minded college students are eager to work hard, impress recruiters and become savvy professionals. This is most evident during the lengthy Q&A sessions following my college workshops, when students ask thoughtful, detailed and serious-minded questions about how to get jobs.
In the spirit of helping us all understand each other a little better, here the three most common questions I receive from Millennial job seekers. I believe the companies that answer these questions—and communicate their answers to entry-level candidates—will go a long way toward winning the hearts, minds and productivity of today’s best and brightest young workers.
1. Will you really remember meeting me at a job fair or campus recruiting event? You’re handing out pens; they could use Paxil. Students stress out about these events like you wouldn’t believe. And, what’s most stressful is that it’s unclear how much these face-to-face opportunities "count" in the recruiting process.
When I was a tour guide in college, I used to announce at the beginning of each tour that I had absolutely zero say in whether a prospective student would be accepted. Everyone was then able to relax and learn a lot more about whether the school was really a good fit for them. Could companies do the same if these events are purely informational? Or, if these events really are an important piece of the hiring process, wouldn’t you want students to know they should make a really strong impression?
2. Should I follow up if I don’t hear from you? My answer when students ask this question is yes, it’s a good idea to follow up a resume about two weeks after you’ve sent it in. I recommend that they follow up by email (phone calls can be intrusive), mention the specific job they’re applying for and provide a very brief reminder of why they’re a good fit.
Is this good advice? Bad advice? Does it depend? Wouldn’t it help everyone if companies provided some brief follow-up guidelines, including absolute "don’ts," perhaps with a brief FAQ on their websites? Students would be spared the uncertainty and recruiters would be spared endless "just following up" phone calls.
3. Are you really checking out my Facebook profile? One cannot write for long about Millennials without eventually talking about Facebook. Sometimes it feels as if an entire alternative reality takes place on Facebook while we all go about our in-person experiences someplace else. The question is, what role are recruiters playing in the Facebook universe?
Some companies are openly, actively recruiting and communicating on Facebook. Other companies are stealthily, quietly vetting candidates on Facebook. More than a few companies are afraid of Facebook. I know what you’re thinking: Students should know that whatever they post online may be viewed and judged by potential employers (and anyone else for that matter)! Students should be smart with their privacy settings! Students don’t have to be on Facebook! I agree. And, I think students would be more cautious about their online activities if companies were more upfront about their Facebook vetting practices. Plus, I can’t help wondering if the companies transparently recruiting on Facebook will have a big advantage as social networking becomes a more and more important component of job hunting and recruiting.
These three questions provide a brief glimpse into the questions on the minds of Millennials. If you’d like to learn more, seek out a nearby twentysomething and ask some questions of your own. The more dialogue between recruiters and young candidates, the better choices we can all make for our companies and ourselves.
Note: This post originally appeared on The Cheezhead blog — http://www.cheezhead.com/.