Job Interviews for the Young and Not-Yet-Famous: Hiring Managers Pay Attention

A Recruiter's Perspective

Young Adult speaking publicly
Job Interviews for the Young and Not-Yet-Famous: Hiring Managers Pay Attention
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About the Author

Laura Machan

Laura Machan

Laura Machan is a Partner, Recruitment Solutions for a major human resources consulting firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Although she has been recruiting for quite a few years, she still gets a big thrill from calling someone to set up an interview and an even bigger thrill when she hears a happy dance as she tells them when their new job starts. Laura lives with her family in Oakville, where she has lived for over 25 years, and is a significant contributor to the Canadian Federation of University Women - Oakville and Women in Nuclear, Golden Horseshoe Chapter.

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I have been talking with 20-somethings who are looking for summer jobs or “forever” post-graduation jobs and what I hear about their interview experience is appalling.

You cannot use the same process for a 24 year old as you would for a 35 year old. They are not equipped to answer questions about work challenges and dealing with difficult managers.

If you are going to go with behavioural questions like: tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision, you had better be prepared for a description of what they went through when they were choosing which phone to buy.

And forget about asking why they want to work at your company. You’ll likely get a canned recitation from your website; but the real answer is that they need a job and your place seems like a good place to start.

Where do they see themselves in five years? Nope, not that either. Work today is nothing like it was five years ago – how do we expect them to predict what it or they will be like in another five years?

One of my young friends was going for an entry sales job. Do you know what they did? At the second interview, they dropped her and another candidate in the middle of an unfamiliar neighbourhood and instructed them to go door to door. The company would pick them up in two hours to see how they did.

I’ll tell you how they did. They used their phones to find a bus and went home. On they way, they jammed up their social feeds to tell all their friends about the lousy experience.

There are better ways to find out what these kids are about. Talk to camp counsellors and co-op program co-ordinators about realistic measurement questions and activities.

If we don’t, we will turn them off forever. And it’s tough enough out there to find great employees.



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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Valerie says:

    Great examples of “what not to do” – but how about some great examples of ways to really reach these candidates where they are, and with what they need?
    I feel like this was only 1/2 an article.


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