The millennium generation – or collectively, millennials – is a generation of (now) young adults that are redefining social, political and economic consciousness. It’s a generation of confident individuals who are tolerant of others, yet are also seen as self-centred and entitled. The characteristics of millennials are very different to the former generation, which are now made up of millennials’ managers and bosses, so does this mean that one generation needs to adapt to another?
Tech-savvy to the hilt, inspired and informed by global trends, thought leaders, and online influencers, and mostly raised by the baby boomer generation that empowered itself during economically successful times, millennials seem to have it all. Unfortunately, what they also have is a bad reputation – one that warns of being spoilt, entitled, and lazy.
So how would you as a millennial ace your job interview? Carefully follow this advice:
1. Present yourself well
Dress to impress. Even if the company at which you’re interviewing seems fairly casual and laid back – sporting jeans and All Stars – you’re not hired yet, so don’t dress like them. It’s not just about what you wear, but how you carry yourself in your business smarts, your demeanour and body language, and general confidence. Appearing over-confident can also ruin your presentation, so be humble and respectful to whomever you speak to before, during, and after your interview.
2. Show your enthusiasm for the position
While you shouldn’t beg for the job or say flippant things like, “So, when do I start?” you do need to show your enthusiasm for the position you’re interviewing for. How? Before your interview, do as much research as possible about the interviewing company: when was it founded? Who is the current CEO? How many employees work there? What awards has the company won? What is their CSI policy? What are their values and do your own values align with them? If the interviewer asks a question like: “Why do you want to work here?”, you can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job by explaining in the company’s terms what makes you a good fit for them and vice versa.
3. Interview the interviewer
When the interviewer asks, “Is there anything you’d like to ask me?” you will certainly stand out from the rest of the interviewing candidates by asking insightful questions. Millennials have the bad reputation of being narcissistic, so ask questions like:
- What are the company’s major pain points? (If you can respond to the interviewer’s answer by explaining how your skills and experience can help to solve these pain points, you are very likely going to get the job)
- What is your policy regarding diversity?
- How much are employees involved in your CSI initiatives?
- What is your policy on flexible working hours and why? (This question shouldn’t come from the point of view of “Will you let me work from 10 until 4?”, but rather, what managers’ attitudes are towards employees’ ability to work independently. Explain this if you have to.)
If you have other questions that are important to you, how you will build your relationship with your potential employer, and your role in the company’s “bigger picture”, ask them.
4. Don’t focus on non-core issues
By all means, ask the questions that are important for your career development and the learning opportunities you’ll be exposed to on the job. But don’t appear to only be concerned about how much will be paid into your bank account at month end, the company’s policy on performance bonuses, and how much leave you’ll be entitled to. These questions can be addressed and discussed outside of the interview room (i.e.: when the job contract has been delivered to you and you are sussing out the terms), or only if the interviewer brings them up.
Demonstrate your ability to rise above the negative stereotype of the entitled millennial, your willingness to work hard and contribute as much as you can, and your passion for what you do, and you will put yourself streets ahead of the competition.
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