Newly minted college graduates soon entering the job market could be
facing another hurdle besides high unemployment and a sluggish economy.
Hiring managers say many perform poorly - sometimes even bizarrely - in
Human resource professionals say they've seen
recent college grads text or take calls in interviews, dress
inappropriately, use slang or overly casual language and exhibit other
"It's behavior that may be completely
appropriate outside the interview," says Jaime Fall, vice president of
the HR Policy Association. "The interview is still a traditional
Fall and other HR executives say such quirks
have become more commonplace the past three years or so, and are
displayed by about one in five recent grads. They're prompting
recruiters to rule out otherwise qualified candidates for entry-level
positions and delay hiring decisions.
The trend reflects a
generation of Millennials - ranging in age from 18 to 34 - who grew up
texting and using smartphones and social media, says Mara Swan,
executive vice president of staffing firm Manpower Group.
"Life has gotten more casual," Swan says. "They don't realize (the interview) is a sales event."
much off-the-cuff speaking in tweets and text messages has left many
young people with stunted social skills, says Jonathan Singel, director
of talent acquisition for Avery Dennison, a packaging and label maker.
Fall says Millennials also have been coddled by parents. "It's (a
mindset of) 'You're perfect just the way are,' " he says. " 'Do whatever
you're comfortable doing.' "
About half of HR executives
say most recent grads are not professional their first year on the job,
up from 40% of executives who had that view in 2012, according to a
recent survey by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College
The HR Policy Association recently
launched a website, jobipedia.org, to provide advice to first-time job
seekers about interviewing, resumes and workplace behavior.
Why some job candidates flunked their interviews:
• Taking calls and texting.
A male graduate student seeking a managerial position in Avery
Dennison's research and development unit took a call on his smartphone
about 15 minutes into the interview. The call, which lasted about a
minute and wasn't an emergency, ruined his near-certain chance for a job
offer, Singel says.
"If he thought that was OK, what else does he think is appropriate?" he says.
• Helicoptering parents.
A man in his late 20s brought his father into a 45-minute interview for
a material handling job on an assembly line, says Teri Nichols, owner
of a Spherion staffing-agency in Brooksville, Fla. At Cigna, a health
insurance provider, the father of a recent grad who received an offer
for a sales job, called to negotiate a higher salary, says Paula Welch, a
Cigna HR consultant.
• Pets in tow. A college senior
brought her cat into an interview for a buyer's position at clothing
retailer American Eagle. She set the crate-housed cat on the
interviewer's desk and periodically played with it. "It hit me like -
why would you think that's OK?" says Mark Dillon, the chain's former
recruiting director. "She cut herself off before she had a chance."