Last week I went to the Australian Association of Graduate Employers’ Conference in Melbourne. It’s a hearty affair, with more than 350 industry types attending, across the range of employers, academia representatives, suppliers and industry associations. It was a good week, but rather than write lengthy sections on every session, here’s a quick ten things list. And very little of it has to do with grad recruitment.
Posts Tagged ‘graduate recruitment’
I’ve been engaged recently to be a ‘secret shopper’ for some friends. I’ve been applying for jobs through their corporate websites, and reporting to them on the resulting experience as a candidate. In some of those cases, I’ve done phone interviews as well, to skills test the internal recruiters. It’s been rather fun being a mystery candidate and evaluating the types of conversations and experiences everyday applicants are exposed to.
One of the things that struck me regularly was the utter lack of emotion in these calls. I rarely felt like I was talking to a person, let alone a brand ambassador for the employment experience. Often these calls were very one sided. “Tell us about you, and if you make it to interview, you can ask us some questions then.” In some cases (two recruiters in particular, both from the same company) the calls were very authoritarian. There was a clear sense of reading questions off an interview guide, of a rigid adherence to process that forbade any humanity sneaking in. I was literally told by one recruiter that he didn’t meed more information about my job history – a yes or no answer would do.
I’ve spent this week introducing our managers to our graduate marketing program. It’s a program that has been hand-built by me and a very dedicated team of designers and developers. It’s frankly awesome.
In nearly every meeting, these managers (who are largely technical types) have asked if the way we communicate – personal, informal, friendly – is a “Gen Y thing”. Because, you know, Gen Y love that stuff. And at every opportunity, I’ve taken pains to point out that no, it isn’t. It’s a people thing.
The people we want (and I suspect this applied to you too) don’t like being generalised. They don’t like being categorised. They like being individuals. They like having this recognised, too. People respond well to being singled out for the things they pride themselves on. In other words, people respond well to being recognised as a person.
Those Generation Y’s that managers are always complaining about have a reasonable point to make. As long as you keep seeing them as a generation, and not as individuals, you’re alienating them. Every person within generation Y has the same level of individuality in communication style, work preference and background as anyone else. They are as susceptible to cold, hurt, excitement, honesty and fear as anyone else.
Generations are a way of making broad classifications. They are a way of seeing. And every way of seeing, is a way of not seeing. If you continue to define people by their generation, you paint them with the ‘average’ of their collective public perception. You brand them based on the collective psychological impression the chronological group they belong to has given you. In short, you marginalise their humanity right from the start.
Need something to call your new graduates? Try their names.