5 Mistakes Companies Make When Hiring Millennials

Credit: Forbes

Credit: Forbes

This post is in response to a Forbes article entitled “5 Interview Mistakes Millennials Make.” Their post describes five things that generation y job seekers have done that hurt their interview prospects. Those items are listed below:

  1. Wear Inappropriate Interview Attire
  2. Have Posted Questionable Social Media Content
  3. Haven’t Done Their Research
  4. Don’t Ask Enough Questions
  5. Overconfident in Themselves

When I ran my firm with a partner, I had a need to hire some computer programmers for some large jobs we had taken on. Our office was close to a technical school, so we put out a posting to students and recent graduates. We interviewed many, and hired a few. Most came in suits and ties, and took the position very seriously. They asked questions, had some some research, and were fairly timid (too much so).

One of our last interviews was a 19 year old man who came dressed in shorts and a polo shirt (not unlike that described in the Forbes article). He had no “filter” and was extremely confident in his abilities. As far as an interview is concerned, he did everything wrong. What he did bring to the table was passion. This was a kid who loved what he did, and he talked a good game. We hired him on the spot. He worked for us for several years, and was the best and brightest I’ve ever worked with. His career exploded and he is doing amazing things for the open-source software community all over the world.

I’m not recommending millennials to dress poorly and not take their interviews seriously. Forbes is right in calling these “mistakes” looking for a job with large reputable firms. But the firms are making some mistakes of their own.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Millennials can be extremely talented, and they live in a very different world and culture than the generation before. By turning up your nose at someone who disavows a stuffy culture, you may be sending the most talented person you’ll find to one of your competitors. What these people post on their social media outlets are their business, not yours. Interracial relationships were “questionable” once upon a time. Judge them on their skills, their abilities, and their passion, not what they do in their free time. Watching the news, I’ll bet you can name plenty of unsavory and compromising situations involving people far older, more experienced, and more “professional.”