Managing Millennials & Moving On

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We’re inundated on a daily basis with content on millennials – a pervasive, complex, and reviled group of workers. So, I’ve been brainstorming about a key takeaway and what I could possibly say at this point that’s novel. I landed on a simple call to action: move on.

Here’s the deal: with the oldest millennials being about 36 years old, we finally have some definitive research on their workplace behaviors and can compare them to previous generations. Here’s the summary: there is little to no difference in levels of narcissism, job tenure, or work ethic amongst millennials and previous generations in their twenties. It turns out, all youth is narcissistic, indecisive, and distracted.

Okay, okay. You need evidence. After all, I’m a millennial – why trust me?

Most of the studies you see compare millennials to the current feelings and behaviors of Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. A study cited in Business Insider just this week provides a perfect example. “Daymon Worldwide notes that millennials are more obsessed with being unique and standing out than their parents and grandparents are.” (http://www.businessinsider.com/differences-between-boomers-gen-x-and-millennials-2016-6) I hope they didn’t spend a lot of money on that research because if I compare any 25 year old and their 75 year old Nana, I would certainly hope their level of maturity and narcissism differed.

In regards to the job-hopping, Baby Boomer’s actually changed jobs in their twenties at the same rate that millennials do now (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsoy.pdf)! Let me demystify this: young people usually take whatever job they can get starting off. They don’t know what they want to do long-term and millennials came of age during a recession where if you didn’t take whatever job you could get, you were perpetually unemployed. (Unemployed = no brunch. Millennials love brunch).

Lastly, millennials work differently but they are not aggregately lazy. Lazy is a really loaded word and I don’t have the space to enumerate the dangers of characterizing an entire group as something derogatory, so use your own intuition here. Every time you’re tempted to say “lazy”, replace it with “different.” Because the truth is millennials are very different from previous generations in their beliefs about work. We don’t always subscribe to traditional hours. We value work-life balance and sometimes prioritize it over a demanding career. We want to understand the why’s behind what we’re doing because we need purpose. Are these good qualities? Bad? Admirable? I don’t know exactly, but aren’t all those statements what people tell us to prioritize after it’s too late for them to change? Spend more time with your family. Do something you love. Work hard, but set boundaries.

On the upside, you’ll also find that we answer late-night emails. Because we grew up with technology, we constantly look for ways to be more efficient. When we find our passion, we’ll work however many hours it takes. The key for employers is to harness that passion and not let vintage expectations drive away a talented workforce.

So, that’s it. There’s your answer. Young people are needy and kind of difficult to work with and they always will be. Maybe in a few years I’ll be blogging on the pains of Gen Zer’s. Que sera, tale as old as time. Let’s stop dwelling it on it now.

Written by: Hannah Barfield Spellmeyer

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Reference Checks: One of the Most Important Pieces to the Pre-hire Puzzle

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We have all heard the phrase, “past performance predicts future performance” and I feel the easiest way to gauge future performance is from relying heavily on reference feedback. Whether you are a recruiter, HR professional, hiring manager or simply conducting interviews for your organization, checking references on potential employees is a must. Below are some tips, pulled greatly from past experience, on how to get the most out of checking references:

 

  • If a candidate cannot provide a readily available list of references, this may be a red flag. Most understandably, candidates that are currently working are not going to list their current employer and shouldn’t be expected to. However, if someone is actively job seeking and interviewing, they should have a prepared list of contacts to provide you to ensure someone can vouch for their work ethic throughout the pre-hire process.
  • A thorough reference list will include a great amount of diversity in the contacts listed. For example, being able to provide more than one contact from past jobs, contacts from all past jobs, and different levels of employees they worked with in those jobs, including both former co-workers and supervisors, is hugely helpful. It is also important that the candidate has made these contacts aware they are listed as a reference on their behalf. Nothing is worse than catching someone completely unaware of the reason for your call!
  • Keep it professional–nothing personal and stick with facts.
  • Remember to start by verifying the information provided by the candidate and then move into questions related to their specific performance in the role and with the company (some examples below). Additionally, when interviewing a candidate for a specific role, be sure to dig a little deeper into how their past performance will relate to what they may eventually do within your organization.

o   Are the company names, dates of employment, and titles correct?

o   How was their overall performance in the specific role? (Does title listed and job duties provided mirror feedback coming from the reference?)

o   How did they treat both fellow employees and external customers?

o   Were they prompt and reliable with work product and in regards to meeting deadlines?

o   Did they adhere to office culture and standards: attendance, dress code, etc.?

o   Are there any concerns? (Concerns are not always negative and may be helpful in determining how to train and ensure immediate success in the new role.)

o   Are they eligible for rehire? (Or sometimes can be phrased as, “would you hire or work with them again?” depending on the relationship of the candidate to the contact).

  • If you do uncover negative feedback in a reference, it may not be a “deal breaker,” but not worth ignoring. In this case, ask the candidate for more reference contacts as it is worth researching further to see if the feedback has validity and is consistently received.

 

Candidates that have done the necessary due diligence in providing prompt, thorough, and detailed reference information will undoubtedly be heavily considered for any job!

Written by: Rebecca Faulk

How to Help Newly Hired Employees Hit the Ground Running!

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You’ve put an incredible amount of effort into hiring the right match for your position, your offer was accepted, and now you’re anxious to see the results.  Your work is done, right?  Not quite!  A few easy tips for helping your newly hired employee get off to the right start:

  1. Give them a warm welcome! Whether or not you provide a formal orientation, introduce them around so that coworkers will know who they are and where they are working. Allow some time for interaction via the water cooler or a personal introduction.  Give them information about customs that may be unique to your firm.  Have someone invite them to lunch the first day if possible.
  2. Make sure the newly hired employee feels you are ready for them. Are business cards in? Is the computer set up? Do they have office supplies?  Little things matter.
  3. Be wise in choosing the trainer. Like most small businesses, if you don’t have a formal training program, be cautious not to assume that the employee with the most expertise is also the best trainer. Often, you will want to involve multiple people in the process so that the newly hired employee understands how their role fits into the organization.  For example, sales professionals should spend time with customer service or technical support professionals so that they understand the customer.  Also, be aware that people have different learning styles—some need to “do” rather than just hear or see.
  4. Set clear expectations. This is your chance to start with a clean slate.  Let the new hire know what is expected of them and how they will be measured.  Let them know how often you will meet with them and how to have questions answered.
  5. Put their success in the hands of the entire team. When the team feels it is in their best interest for a newly hired employee to be successful, they are more likely to support them and give the newly hired employee the best possible chance for success.

 

Written by: Julie Godshall Brown

Julie is the president and owner of Godshall Professional Recruiting and Staffing. She has been with her family business full time since 1995 and remained as president and owner when her parents retired in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Clemson University and a Master of Personnel and Employee Relations from the University of South Carolina. In addition to leading her firm and several industry related organizations, she is a very active community volunteer who has made an impact on the future of the Upstate.

How to Market Yourself for a Job When You are Overqualified

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Here’s the scenario: You see an interesting job posting online. You think to yourself, “I have this experience, and I could be great in this role.” You’re considering applying for the position, but then you pause and reflect, “Wait, what will they think? I did this two steps back in my career. I’m overqualified!”

Believe it or not, this is a common dilemma for many job seekers. Talented individuals go through many stages in their careers, and at times, they find value in taking one or multiple steps back. People consider this scenario for a variety of reasons. This post is not designed to answer the question why, but instead to provide direction on the question: how does someone who’s overqualified garner strong consideration from hiring managers?

 

First, it’s important to understand why a company would shy away from overqualified candidates. There are many potential reasons, but I’ve listed a few commons thoughts below.

  • The person is too far removed from doing the hands on work required for the role.
  • This is a temporary step back for the person applying and as soon as an opportunity at their level emerges, they will leave.
  • There’s no way this person would be willing to take direction to do a job they used to supervise. They’ll feel the role is beneath them.
  • They won’t be willing to learn how to do the job “our way” because they’ll insist that their process is superior.

These are just examples of thoughts going through a hiring manager’s head. None of these assumptions may apply to you, but they exist nonetheless. Your goal should be to justify your motivation and interest in the role and, to the best of your ability, persuade them that you are the best person for the job.

 

A few things that may help you in your mission:

  • Instead of a traditional resume format, consider one that bullets your skills. You’ll want to list your places of previous employment as well as titles, of course, but lead with your skills. Focus primarily on the skills that the job posting requires and how you succeeded in those areas.
  • In your bullet points, be sure to highlight your unique accomplishments and provide some quantifiable details related to those accomplishments. Example: As an accounts receivable clerk with ABC Company, I successfully reduced our 90 day accounts by 80% within a 6-month period bringing over 75 customers into current status.
  • Use your objective to communicate a viable message to the company as to why you are looking to make this change in your career and why it would benefit them to consider you. Be brief but honest. Do your best to dispel their concerns about your motivation.
  • Utilize your network. There is nothing more powerful than a referral. Think about how many times you’ve asked friends, family, and co-workers to recommend a store, service, product, etc. People like helping other people. If you know someone associated with the company you’re applying to, ask them to put in a good word for you. You can deliver a message in a resume all day long, but having a neutral party speak on your behalf can speak volumes.

In summary, being overqualified does not mean you are not the perfect fit for the role. What it may mean is that you need to take additional steps to help that hiring manager understand why they would be doing themselves a disservice to not call you.

Written by: John Riddle

John joined the Godshall team, having previously spent 9 years in sales and management as well as 4 years in recruiting. After earning his Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University, John spent the last 13 years working and living in Washington, D.C. He most recently managed a recruiting team in the D.C. office for SPARKS primarily supporting HR and administrative roles. John is a member of the professional team at Godshall and recruits for administrative, accounting, legal, Banking, and HR.  A recent transplant to Greenville, John moved here with his wife and two sons. His wife, Laura, is a native of Greenville and Wofford College graduate.