Are You Ready for these 10 GenY interview responses?

This is a guest post from Sirona Says blog

Gen y cartoon kid
I have been having a good few gen y conversations with clients recently, and when we got around to discussing their interview processes they had some strange stories. Well, it appears that the gen Y’ers are returning to character (pre-recession) and living up to the type of gen Y traits I have written about before.

This issue got me thinking about interviews, and whether the interview itself will need to change based on responses from the genY and gen Z candidates. Below are some interview responses that may annoy you with their approach, but as the gen Y ‘arrogance’ appears in the work place (and it will I am sure), these could represent the milder interview responses. So here are ten gen Y interview responses to expect some time soon:

  1. I have a short attention span, if I don’t like this job then I will move on to something I do like.
  2. I have 2 other offers on the table so can I have a response now please?
  3. As long I get the job done, I don’t think it matters if a few rules are broken along the way.
  4. Is it possible to get the job without providing a reference, I don’t have any?
  5. Be nice to me, bear in mind when I get the job, I will be your boss.
  6. If a customer has a problem with how I work then they’ll just have to deal with it, I am not their best friend you know.
  7. After I have done my 3 month probation, what will I be promoted to?
  8. The only reason I want this job is that it is near my home, and I can stay in bed longer.
  9. I don’t need to take my headphones off – the volume on my ipod is low so I can hear both the song and you.
  10. I really like the job and the company, but I don’t like you. Can someone else be my boss when I get the job?

[These are real now – No. 9 happened to someone I know last week interviewing for staff in London!!]

I know that some of these types of answers are already appearing in the interviews that a couple of my clients are carrying out – most of their candidates fit the gen Y and gen Z demographic.

So as an interviewer – whether you are an agency or a direct employer – would you adjust your interview style, give them a quick rebuff during the interview or simply walk them straight back out of the door?

>>And of course, remember that they are just as likely to jump straight onto Facebook or Twitter and tell everyone about the interview they had with you and your company!

Now will that change your approach?


Tap into your Team’s Natural Leadership: here’s how

Have you ever watched a highly functioning department accomplish a goal or objective?   The secret ingredient I have noticed is that “natural leadership” is encouraged from every team member or participant.

Within groups, each participant brings a unique combination of skills, talent or style to the discussion.  Great groups take advantage of this uniqueness.

Consider the quiet, shy clerk who is newly hired and brought into a department project.  They bring a fresh viewpoint and, when encouraged to participate, can ask questions or “what if”s that others might not even think of.  Sometimes there is a “social butterfly” of the group who has a talent to draw out ideas and comments from the introspective members of the team.

So how can we tap into employees’ natural leadership?

1) Identify skills and talents of each employee – Have a one-on-one chat with each employee and ask them what their favorite project / role was, or to describe the most memorable job they ever completed.  Then ask them why it was such a positive experience. These conversations will give you clues as to the type of skills they employed and what they will “gravitate” to in terms of motivation.

2) Utilize skill assessment tools to identify or confirm employee capabilities – I use the DISC assessment model, which incorporates both behavioral styles and values based guidelines to tap into employees’ unique skills.  This model can be used to aid in select employees during the hiring process, to reposition employees into new or better-suited roles and to reward employees with career management planning tools.

3) Acknowledge the unique strengths of talents of each team member – set up team building opportunities where team members can be publicly acknowledged for their contributions, skills and talents.  This builds trust and confidence in a group or department.  Where there are personality clashes, facilitators are often helpful to move past negative opinions and set up positive objectives.

4) Create a forum for inclusive discussion – Find ways to creatively explore options.  The 6 Thinking Hats is a great exercise to consider an issue from all angles.  Assign different individuals to each bring one of the 6 approaches to an issue, so they are all encouraged to participate.

5) Appeal to individuals privately to put their best game forward – sometimes groups will experience a stalemate or blockage.  When emotions are elevated or stakes are high, some employees will “dig in” or shut down.   A quiet, private conversation appealing to them to use their natural leadership can often ease the difficulty.   Extremely shy employees may also respond to this approach.

6) Celebrate successes, both big and small – Your department will enjoy positive recognition and be motivated to continue their journey toward even bigger success!

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to “like” or “share” or “tweet” it forward to others!

Low Hanging Fruit Model – Prioritize for Better Business Results

One of the best tools to help you focus and prioritize progress and to clean up problems / procedures in a particular area of your company is the “low hanging fruit” matrix.

Here are 7 easy steps to turnaround complaints into results:

1)  Choose a topic area where you want to resolve an issue or improve processes

Some examples I have used in the past:  customer billing / invoicing, inventory management, logistics flow, contract agreements, business opportunities.    Your topic should be a theme (a complaint or else “we should do this opportunity”) that comes up in conversations regularly by employees.  Your goal is to identify areas which need management attention to deal with issues or opportunities.

2)  Call a meeting with key stakeholders

Make sure the attendee stakeholders include the vocal employees and some of the “complainers”.  Invite employees from a wide range of functional areas, and those who are interested in or accountable for fixing the issue or resolving the problem at hand.

3)  State your “theme” issue, then brainstorm a list of related problems or sub-problems

Set ground rules that all ideas will be accepted without judgement; one brainstormed idea may trigger even better ideas, issues or sub-problems.  Encourage breaking down the issue into smaller components and describing each.

List your brainstormed items on a whiteboard or flipchart.  Group any very strongly related items together into one statement or initiative.

4)  Quantify each resulting item as to High, Medium, Low –  in terms of frequency of occurence, and High, Medium, Low in terms of cost or dollar impact.  When this is done, get the group to agree where each item would be plotted on a grid using one axis for “Dollar Impact” and the other axis for “Ease of Accomplishment” or “Frequency of Occurence”

5)  Prioritize the issues into a ranked list.   Start from the right hand upper corner of your matrix (this is where highest value opportunities and easiest “quick wins” can give your project momentum).  Each quadrant offers different results, from fast and easy “low hanging fruit” to “big wins” which may have a longer term or more difficult implementation.   Make sure your group members agree on the relative positions of each item, and then as a group assign a top-to-bottom ranking.

6)  Build an Action Log, stating WHAT the Issue is, WHO is accountable, WHEN delivery of a solution is expected, and HOW (the “how” may be blank to start with, until assigned employees have met to discuss solutions)

7)  Follow up regularly.  Meet with the team to tweak your list and review progress on completing the Action Log.  By assigning accountable persons to each sub-project and reviewing status results publicly with the rest of the group, your team will be more motivated to stay on track.

How Leadership really begins with Mothers

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day, I was reflecting on how much of my late mom’s advice in my early twenties was akin to a mentor’s advice in business:

1)  Build yourself a career that you can always rely on or fall back on in hard times

(translation:  build your own career and don’t just rely on a husband for the rest of your life – stand on your own two feet, on your own merits)

2) Always treat others with respect, whether they are the janitor, the vice president or the kid down the street (translation:  everyone contributes in our society in their own way and deserves dignity)

3) Learn impeccable manners and etiquette.  This will support you in many stressful situations (translation:  Okay, Mom, when you said “eat everything on your plate”, I don’t think you were thinking about the fried silkworms and scorpions I had to eat during a joint venture negotiation in China!  But yes, those good manners will imply class, grace and confidence in difficult situations)

4) Never be late (translation:  if you are late, you send a message to others that you do not value their time)

5) Learn to golf (translation:  meet the guys in business on their own turf, where they are comfortable, and  improve your business relationships)

6) Dress upward, to what you aspire to  (translation: your dress code will influence how people perceive you)

7) Give back to the community by volunteering when you can (translation:  you are blessed with good fortune, volunteering will give you personal satisfaction, help you learn new skills, aid others and increase your business reputation)

8) Take the high road in all situations (translation:  your reputation is based on your behavior in the worst of situations; behave with integrity and ensure you are always held in high regard)

See some interesting parallels between life and business here?    Thank your own Mom if you still have the opportunity to do so.  

This post is in memory of my own  mother who passed away from diabetes related illness 13 years ago – Thanks, Mom –  some of your advice has made a difference!