Dispelling the Millennial Work Stereotypes

By Joe Stein

No one likes the concept of people having to deal with stereotypes, however, it is an inevitable aspect of life.  When it comes to work and finding a new position, it is imperative that a Job Seeker works to dispel any possible stereotype.  This is especially important for a millennial (generally considered those under 35 years of age) who most likely has to deal with the work perceptions of a much older Hiring Manager.

In this week’s article, let’s examine some of the work stereotypes associated with the millennial generation and how you can alleviate any concerns associated with them.

 -  You Will Want an Impossibly Flexible Schedule – It is a stereotype of millennials that they want to work a non-traditional schedule with an emphasis on the work hours that fits best for the person.  If this type of work schedule is important to you, then focus on companies with the reputation for providing this flexibility.  In any other situation, limit your “schedule demands” and be willing to pay the necessary dues.

 -  You Will Demand the Best Technology – The stereotype is that you will always be tethered to your technology, and will not be as productive as you should be because of it.  Do not ask questions in the interview about which equipment you will be receiving (assume you will receive what is standard).  You should also keep your smartphone out of sight and turned off during any interview.  Don’t just talk about tools, but also stress the relationships you’ve created along with your ability to work well with others.

 -  You Will Get Bored Easily – In this example, the belief is that millennials need constant stimulation and new activities to keep from being bored.  Unfortunately, in the real world, virtually all positions contain repetitive tasks that have to be completed.  If you have been in a production oriented environment, then you can stress how efficient you were in the role. It may also make sense to note that you understand that all positions have basic tasks which must be completed.
 

-  You Will Have an Entitlement Mentality – The thought is that you will expect to start at a certain level (especially if you have a degree) and that you will progress quickly (in months rather than years).  In the interview, stress how willing you are to come in and learn the organization, along with stating your desire to “roll up your sleeves”.  The more “demands” that you make while in negotiation, the more likely that you will activate a “red flag” with the Hiring Manager regarding your expectations.
 

-  You Will Require Tons of Recognition and Encouragement - The stereotype of millennials is that they will be overly sensitive to constructive feedback.  On the opposite side, they will require lots of “pats on the back” which, in general, will entail considerable managerial time.  You can combat this perception by stressing how you work well independently and that you take pride in being low maintenance. You can also consider sharing a time when you adjusted your style or a work process based on feedback you received.

 -  You Will Question Everything – One of the best aspects of millennials is they tend to be inquisitive, but that can also lead to the perception that you will be unmanageable and question everything.  To combat this stereotype, speak to how important one of your Managers was to you in your brief work career.  You can consider providing an example of when you really learned something by listening.

 -  You Will Not Stay Long – Probably the most common stereotype of a millennial is that they do not stay in any job for very long.  The term “job hopper” (often defined as someone who rarely stays more than two years at a job) is often associated with a millennial. Consider stressing to the Hiring Manager how you want to grow with the organization and you are hoping to have a long tenure with the company.

Each year a wave of new millennials enter the workplace seeking employment.  Finding a job is all about giving yourself a competitive advantage versus the others seeking the same position.  You can do this by working at dispelling any myths attached to your millennial status.

As always, best of luck in your job search.