I had a conversation with a young woman who had an interest in a job we had already filled, however not announced. During the meeting, she pounded really hard on the fact that she was a hard worker and got along with everyone. It hit me that I wouldn’t hire her even if the position was still open.
Why? She certainly said all the textbook answers. Except, I don’t hire people based on how many tasks they can get done. I hire people who can solve a problem. I hire thinkers more so than doers. And I don’t really want super agreeable people on the team. I want people that have an opinion and derail the direction once in awhile.
I think this younger generation has a tough road toward finding employment because they have been trained by Gen X parents and Boomer instructors who in our early years were taught to be robots. “Do your job and work longer hours than everyone else and you will get promoted. Then, on top of that, be agreeable all the time.” We, as the employer, then hire these young people because they are “like us” and then smack them for not bringing anything new to the table. They are caught in a vortex of having to say the traditional answers to win at an interview and then having to decide if they can fake being a robot for the next 5 years or let their true colors of being creative thinkers come out thus risk losing the job.
Just once, I personally would love to interview a Millennial that would say to me, “I am committed to doing good work, regardless of the job at hand. I am always professional but am comfortable disagreeing when I feel that the team should consider another direction or solution to secure a better end result. I will work the hours needed to do my best work, but I value my life balance.”
At the end of the day, the work has to get done. But BETTER work gets done when we take the factory mentality out of the team and insert a little entrepreneur DNA into the climate. That said, Millennials regardless of bright you are if you cannot complete the job at hand, you won’t survive. Very few companies can afford to have someone ponder new ideas 40 hours a week.
When people are allowed to create their own paths, new roads are built for the entire team to utilize. The goal is for everyone to show up at the same place in the end. But, when it comes to HOW everyone gets to end of the race….who cares? If I take a boat, and you drive a go cart and someone else rides a donkey, but we all cross the finish line on time, within budget and ensure we have a happy client, should the individual’s path to that end matter? I think not.
-Betsy McCloskey | Principal/Partner