This afternoon, I was scrolling down my Twitter feed, when I saw something that caught my eye. It was a link to this article, Managers to Millennials: Job Interview No Time to Text, on CNBC. While texting during an interview is obviously a terrible idea, the article goes on to rail millennials in a fashion that I find to be down-right generalizing. Using anecdotal evidence to judge any group of people as a whole, much less an entire generation, seems like sloppy reporting at best, and promoting discriminatory behavior at worst. To me, the article screamed of hiring managers attempting to justify their own bias. Some of the stories they shared, are obviously outliers, but are too good not to repeat.
Aside from the texting and calling during interviews, which these particular managers claim happens fairly frequently, they told a few more gems. A man in his late twenties bringing his father to an interview was one example. Another was a father calling to negotiate pay for his recent college grad son. Those two were regarding helicopter parents, which in my opinion, is just as much the parent’s fault.
The last one, which really takes the prize: A WOMAN BROUGHT HER CAT TO AN INTERVIEW. Obviously that’s not normal behavior! Maybe the crazy people in our generation find new ways of showing it, but don’t tell me we’re the first generation to blow interviews, because that’s nonsense. To claim this extreme behavior is indicative of an entire generation is just as silly as the behavior mentioned.
Some commenters on the site, had already pointed out much of what I’m saying. One commenter in particular, had a particularly insightful comment. User lumpkinj, said this:
“This is not a new phenomenon. Not everyone has the drive or understanding that it takes to excel in a professional career. Some folks prefer to go through the motions and settle for a 9-5…. While taking a phone call or responding to an email/text in an interview is absolutely ludicrous, I’m sure that interviewees from prior technological generations found ways to completely blow interviews as well.” The comment read.
“Unlike prior generations, more and more students come out of school with upwards of a quarter million dollars in debt and are competing against higher and higher amounts of college grads and MBA’s. While some of the folks described above stick out like a sore thumb in the interview process – the job pool is arguably more qualified and driven than perhaps ever before.” lumpkinj continued.
The job pool is much more competitive due to an excess of well-educated people, like lumpkinj pointed out. In addition to there being more qualified candidates, there’s less jobs. It’s tough enough for millennials as it is, without having older generations bash us in the media based on some extreme behavior from a select few. Replace recent college grads with a race, gender, or sexual orientation, and see how ignorant and bigoted the language in that article, and articles like it sound. Not to compare this struggle to any of those others, because it’s obviously not as harrowing. All in all, I think it’s just inappropriate for anyone, especially hiring managers, to generalize, and complain about a large group of people. It’s called generalizing.