What should you know before loading up your workforce with today’s young adults — commonly known as millennials? The folks at Wayne, Pa.-based SkillSurvey, who conduct automated reference checks for thousands of corporate clients, have come up with some fascinating insights, based on what these job candidates’ bosses, mentors and teachers are saying.
SkillSurvey’s analysis is based on reference requests for 6,624 job candidates, seeking entry-level positions in industries such as engineering, nursing, finance, sales and customer service. Many (though not all) of those candidates provided their date of birth, with 75% saying they were born in 1980 or later. That would make the vast majority of the job-hunters age 35 or younger. SkillSurvey typically checks out slightly more than four references per candidate, implying that the survey overall covered about 28,700 references.
The good news, says SkillSurvey’s chief executive officer, Ray Bixler, is that references don’t regard millennials as lazy, demanding or hard to manage — regardless of what stereotypes might exist. In fact, these references credit millennials with being eager, dedicated people who score high on ethics and integrity. They take responsibility for their actions.
But there’s a catch.
A lot of millennials aren’t very good at managing their time or paying attention to detail. They haven’t yet mastered the art of independently making decisions. Presenting information in a compelling, effective way can be elusive for them, too. What’s more, in technical fields such as engineering and finance, millennials don’t always stay up to date on current industry developments.
Among the survey’s specific findings: 23% of candidates in sales development and sales management got low marks in terms of their attention to detail, as did 11.5% of candidates in customer service. Meanwhile, 18.4% of engineering candidates were deemed “needing improvement” in their ability to make independent decisions. In information technology, 12.6% of candidates needed improvement in managing multiple projects.
It’s a truism that each older generation in the workforce bemoans the sloppy habits and jaunty attitudes of young people. Somehow, the economy carries on, anyway. Either the newcomers become more careful and subdued — or perhaps the workplace culture simply loosens up a bit, generation to generation.
After all, our grandparents may have punched time cards and called the boss “Sir.” We don’t. In another generation or two, some of today’s workplace norms may seem just as stuffy and outdated, too.
This article was written by George Anders from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. SmartRecruiters is the hiring success platform to find and hire great people.