A recent survey conducted by staffing juggernaut Adecco had some great insights relating to the millennial generation. As a crusty old hiring veteran, I have interviewed hundreds of job candidates over the last 10 years and I have witnessed first-hand the behaviors documented in the survey. Reading the Adecco survey compelled me to write this article for the sake of job seekers, and for the sake of recruiters who want to do a better job of preparing their candidates for the interview.
Seventy-five percent of the hiring managers interviewed said the number one mistake made by millennial candidates during an interview was wearing inappropriate attire. Millennials reading this, I can hear you LOLing, but this is serious business, so pay attention.
Men, you should be clean shaven and wear a suit and tie. Doing this shows your interviewer that you are serious about the position and that you took steps to prepare for the interview. When I worked for Bank of America I passed on many young male applicants because they came in with 5 o’clock shadow and casual dress. This is not OK; stop doing it, people!
The only exception to this rule may be for people applying for warehouse or ‘light-industrial’ positions. In this case you should still shave and, at the very least, wear a polo or button-down shirt. This is an area that staffing industry recruiters can really help their candidates make a good first impression.
Female candidates: you need to know where to draw the line between stylish and sexy. Dress professional; pretend you are going to court. If you are unsure about the sexy/stylish line, err on the side of caution! I recently had a candidate declined for a position for ‘dressing to sexy’ on the interview. The interviewer was the wife of the business owner and was a very conservative person.
Additionally, the survey pointed out that many candidates post highly inappropriate things on their social media sites. I check Facebook and Twitter at a minimum for every candidate I plan on presenting to a client. If you have obvious red flags on your social sites (e.g. pictures of you binge drinking or pictures of you in compromising positions), I will absolutely pass on you regardless of your experience or ability. This may sound harsh, but this is the world we live in.
Recruiters and staffing agency people, you would do well to check your candidates’ social sites ahead of time; they are a reflection on you once they are in front of a client or hiring manager.