Interviewing Mistakes from Generation Y Construction Candidates

August 14, 2012 · 10 Comments

Generation Y  also known as the Millennial, Generation We, Global Generation, Generation Next, Net Generation and the Echo Boomers are those individuals with birth dates ranging from somewhere in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s all the way to the early 2000’s.  Generation Y construction candidates are mostly children of baby boomers where the trend toward smaller families has continued.  As a group they are marked by an increased awareness and use of communications, media and digital technologies. .  For this blog we are going to focus on construction candidates who are currently in or about to enter the workforce and therefore range form 18-32 years old.  I will discuss how their generational differences can cause issues with the interviewing process.

  • Social media: Their love of social media and all things digital can cause issues for anyone seeking a job interview.  With a quick Google search candidate’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profile can easily be found.  If they fail to clean up their profile or make it private, the prospective interviewer may be able to see all of those uploaded photos and comments.  Which mechanical project engineer do you think will get the job interview?  The one with pictures of wild fraternity parties or the one with photos  of them doing volunteer work building a home for Habitat for Humanity or working with Engineers Without Borders USA.
  • Acting Entitled: The byproduct of over-involved or helicopter parents is that some candidates from this generation may feel as if they deserve an easy path.  No, you will not be receiving 4 weeks vacation on your very first job as an Electrical Autocad Designer or Mechanical Assistant Project Manager.  It may not be possible for you to ski with Mom/Dad in January and go to the beach with them for a week in July while still having 2 week vacations with friends.  Welcome to the construction industry where working long days and weekends is the norm.
  • Procrastination on a job search:  Ideally, all college students should start to look for internships in their area of interest after their freshman or sophomore year of school. Sure, waiting tables may bring in more money and working at the beach may be more fun, but if you want to separate yourself from your peers you really need to get some “real world” career experience.  The difference in an assistant estimator or project manager internship can make the difference between who gets the interview or who gets hired.
  • Poor interviewing manners:  Young applicants have been known to show up late for interviews, to neglect to properly research the company they are interviewing with and to not show enough appreciation to the Project Executive/ Chief Estimator or Vice President for their time interviewing them.  A majority seem to forget the time honored and expected Thank You note (handwritten, typed or emailed).  If you want a job, act like it... show up on time, be polite and show interest in the company.
  • Relying too much on the job listings to get a job:  Sure it is easy to attach a word document and shoot off 5 to 50 resumes a week via a job board.  What really helps a candidate get an interview is working with a real person.  Network with headhunters specializing in your field like mechanical construction or electrical engineering can get you real interviews with real people not just another dead email account for your resume to land in.  You can also network with university alumni centers, professors or contacts you have made during your internship last summer with a general contractor.  That summer you were an assistant project engineer may not have been glamorous or exciting but those contacts are tremendous.

If you are a new construction professional or a seasoned executive and you are interested in learning more about how Sisk Consulting Group can help you make your next strategic career move.  Feel free to contact us by phone or email.


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Tags: Candidates · General

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