Today’s article was written by Jenna Goudreau, Forbes Staff.
In today’s job market, older workers have a definitive edge over younger workers. According to a new survey by recruiting firm Adecco, hiring managers are three times more likely to hire a worker that is 50-years-old or older than hire a millennial.
The survey of 501 hiring managers was conducted in late August and defined millennial workers as those born between 1981 and 2000, meaning workers age 31 and under. The recruiters seemed most concerned with millennials’ long-term commitment, professionalism and reliability. They also said millennial workers need major improvement in their interview skills.
Here are the top five interview mistakes millennials make, based on the survey results—and how you can avoid them.
No. 1: Wear Inappropriate Interview Attire
The top interview mistake millennials make is wearing the wrong clothing, according to 75% of hiring managers surveyed. When Angela Romano Kuo was vice president of human resources at professional job-matching company TheLadders, she recalls being appalled that a young man came to an interview wearing a golf shirt, shorts and flip flops. He did not get the job. “Err on the side of being overdressed to make a good impression,” she advises. In an interview, stay away from flashy jewelry, plunging necklines, too-short hemlines, t-shirts, and shoes that are too casual or too difficult to walk in. “You never want to wear something that can be distracting, so if you have to think twice about it—skip it.”
No. 2: Have Posted Questionable Social Media Content
An overwhelming majority (70%) of hiring managers said millennials make the mistake of posting potentially compromising content on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Conversely, managers reported that only 19% of older workers post improper content. According to a recent survey by Intel, top social media faux pas include posting inappropriate or explicit photos, sharing too-personal information about yourself or others, using profanity, and writing with poor grammar and spelling. Young people should be especially careful of their grammar, considering that 46% of hiring managers believe millennials need to improve their writing skills.
No. 3: Haven’t Done Their Research
Hiring managers are generally skeptical of millennials’ research skills, and 62% said it hurts them in an interview when they have not done enough research or preparation on the company and position. While young professionals are most associated with being creative (74%) and strong networkers (73%), they are not believed to be organized (8%) or detail-oriented (17%). The easiest way to flip this assumption on its head is for millennials to be as prepared as possible for the interview. Do internet research on the company, position and interviewer; read as many recent articles as you can find about the industry; and use your LinkedIn connections to talk directly to someone already working there about the culture and environment.
No. 4: Don’t Ask Enough Questions
Three in five interviewers say that millennials often show a lack of interest in the job by not asking questions about the company or position. If you don’t ask smart questions, you’ll appear indifferent or clueless. Some of the best questions for a job candidate to ask in an interview are: How would you describe the ideal candidate? How does this position fit into the company’s long-term plans? What can I do for you as a follow-up? Questions you should stay away from in an interview concern salary, benefits and hours, which should be discussed once an initial offer is made.
No. 5: Overconfident In Themselves
A whopping 57% of hiring managers say millennials can be overconfident in their abilities and experience in an interview. “I love Gen Y, but we all know that they have been conditioned to have a wonderful sense of self-esteem,” says Kate White, longtime Cosmopolitan editor and author of career guide I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This. “One mistake younger people tend to make is making it all about them.” White recommends keeping the focus on specific accomplishments and how you’d apply what you’ve learned to get results in the new position.