Follow my blog with Bloglovin

How Savvy Millennials Succeed at Interview

Eilidh Milnes

So you've fielded a first-class CV or resume. Your qualifications are perfect for the position. It time for that all important interview. How are your face-to-face communication skills? Can you talk yourself into the job you are so keen to win? Or do you look great on paper then let yourself down at the interview stage? Typically recruiters screen by telephone interviews, video calls, job fairs and traditional face-to-face meetings.

  • Today when Millennial candidates are advanced to testing processes and more rigorous interviews, many are letting themselves down.
  • Today, undeveloped social skills means that many capable candidates don’t present well, causing increased difficulties for those in the hiring process.
  • Today companies are reporting the growing cost and poor results from job fairs, as a result of under-developed interpersonal skills. Many candidates with pre-submitted CVs, look great virtually but are under-performing at the face-to-face stage. So although we know that our rising stars communicate and socialise differently to previous generations, at some point they must learn to engage in styles "old school" and with people in different age groups.

Now before you brand me a technophobe let me declare, "Our son is a CTO. I'm tech savvy and embrace the new. My phone is seldom far from my side. I've even been called a girlie-geek. However I'm a geek who can speak!" And that's the essential difference. 

a text mid-interview!?

The communication skills of many Gen Y are under developed, so they need extra time, support and practice to deliver an acceptable performance at interviews. They are a device-driven generation. Would you answer a text in the middle of an interview? I know of one failed candidate who did! This is simple social etiquette and yet when it is suggested to some GenY that they put away their smartphones there is an outcry! "You have breeched my social liberties!" they shout. Blackberries have been dubbed crackberries due to the addictive nature of these hand held devices!

First impressions are made in 7-10 seconds. How do recruiters sort out the best candidates in a situation where social skills are under developed and candidates are unable to make that initial rapport with an interviewer? Can you maintain good eye-contact and listen keenly while tuning in to whole gamut non-verbal cues? Many younger generations find this very hard. Gen.Y workers are some of the most independent-minded and tech-savvy workers employers have encountered. Changing recruitment models seems to be necessary not just to attract the best candidates, but to identify them too.

wind up your earphones

However my significant yet simple message to Millennial job seekers is this; be like your phone - be smart! From time-to-time switch off your hand held device. Put your the lap top on sleep mode, stop reading your iPad, wind up your earphones and practise good old-fashioned conversation. Yes talk to people! Talk to strangers! In the street smile and say, “Hello”; on the tube or train greet someone with a cheery, “Good Morning!” or the bus acknowledge a fellow traveller and thank the driver as you get off. Read my posts on networking confidence. Grab yourself a free smart sheet too, The Essential Guide to Networking.

Many competent candidates are not making the cut at interviews, simply because they don’t know how to communicate in a professional environment or even have a basic knowledge of acceptable polite and condiderate social interaction. If this is you then it is time for the sake of your career to practice the act of communication. See it is basic life skill and essential qualification no less important than your academic awards. 

This post was inspired by Dorothy Dalton's article, The Declining Art of Conversation.