Article 4: Interviewing, Hiring and Training Generation Y

Think your work colleagues are from another planet? It could be due to the generation gap. ‘Bridging the Generation Gap’ is a five part series which looks at how the different generations behave in the workplace, with particular emphasis on Generation X and Generation Y.

Article 3 in this series demystified Generation Y (anyone born between 1977 and 1995). Now it’s time to look at the best approach to take when interviewing, hiring and training this generation.

Generation Y is young and talented; it is also completely different from the previous generations: Generation X and the Baby Boomers. .

Generation Y is highly technology-dependent. For Gen Yers the internet, mobile phones, tablets and laptops are part of their lives; they grew up with this technology and almost can’t function without it. Gen Yers prefer to interact via text or email. Setting up an interview is most likely to use these forms of communication rather than the phone.

Don’t be surprised if a Generation Y candidate knows more about the company than you do! Ready for the interview they’ll read up on the industry, your company and its corporate culture. They want to have the ultimate work/life balance and feel their work is meaningful, so they’ll seek a complete picture of your company.

They’ll look well beyond the company website. Gen Yers are excellent networkers and they’re likely to use their contacts to find out the real information on a company: including salary ranges and employee satisfaction ratings. With websites such as, this can be achieved even without an extensive network.

As with Gen X, the hiring process needs to be swift, but for different reasons. Generation Y craves flexibility. Gen Yers want to deliver good work, on time, but they want to be able to do that work whenever and wherever. They’d be horrified at the prospect of an eight to ten hour working day. That’s why many Gen Yers prefer to go off on their own. If your offer takes too long, not only do you risk losing a great candidate to your existing competition, but the candidate could well decide to fly solo and become your latest competitor.

Generation Y is very goal oriented and is the first generation to respect older leadership. Gen Yers expect their bosses and managers to mentor them and help them reach their professional goals. They are obsessed with career development and training; but remember that the training should be interactive and fun. Innovation is key too, so don’t be surprised when Gen Yers start recommending ways to streamline processes. Your newest employee could very quickly become a major asset to your company.

When interviewing, hiring and training Gen Yers remember, they don’t live to work. In fact, they’d rather not work at all, than have a job that’s unfulfilling, or fails to deliver on those promises made during the recruiting process. We’ve seen that a work/life balance is important to Generation X; for Generation Y a work/life balance is an absolute necessity. Without that balance a Generation Y candidate will readily work for themselves.

The final article in this series will suggest effective ways to manage both Generations X and Y.