May 9, 2016
One of the primary complaints that older generations lob at Millennials is that they are entitled brats.
Sure enough, I have encountered my fair share of young budding professionals who’s response to career development advice or constructive criticism has been the equivalent of:
Good for them. They’ll either make it on such fierce determination or learn their lessons in due process. Either way, they will grow with time and experience.
But there is another kind of entitlement at the opposite end of the spectrum that exists in our experienced workforce:
That looks more like this:
This kind of entitlement is just as unproductive and dangerous. Because it shows you think yourself above the process. That you don’t respect the way the organization operates. That you fancy yourself above all else.
And while experience is impressive and a key indicator in judging one’s suitability to walk into a position and succeed, it is not everything.
What about personality? What about drive and ambition? What about fitting into the organization?
You may have the best experience in the world, outlasted all of your peers, worked on the biggest projects on Earth, but if no one wants to work with you, guess what…
And so here is the truth of the matter:
No One Is Above An Interview!
No one. Not you. Not I. Not anyone.
Okay, maybe Tom Cruise.
But no one else!
Because an interview is designed to assess suitability for a job. If we haven’t met you, don’t know about your experience, your projects, your career trajectory, how are we supposed to know you are right for the job?
In some instances experience is key. If we need someone to fix an piece of enterprise software that only 8 people in the known universe know how to fix, well then…
But in other instances experience could indicate a one-track mind. Or an inflexible attitude. Or an unwillingness to do anything any way except theirs. In some cases, experience is the equivalent of banging ones head against a brick wall.
The purpose of an interview is to assess a candidate’s qualifications for a specific job. Unless they are an internal applicant, or specifically requested by the Hiring Manager, all candidates are subject to the same Recruitment process, whether they are fresh out of the classroom or fresh off of retirement.
What most experienced and entitled candidates fail to recognize about the process is that their difficult attitude is leaving them wide open for a less experienced candidates to come in and pitch the value of their lack of experience. Their ideas could be fresh and new. Their fire to succeed burns brighter. Their desire to convince the Hiring Manager that, if given the opportunity, they will strive to do whatever it takes to shine is stronger and more compelling.
A less experienced candidate who enters the interview dressed to impress will succeed over a senior candidate thinking they are owed something, almost every time.
Because they want to take risks and try new things. Because they are looking forward instead of back. Because they still have something to prove.
And so what a candidate may lack in experience they will make up for in ambition and drive. These are the types of people experienced candidates are up against. And the attitude that they are automatically superior due to their many years on the front lines, is what is shooting themselves in the foot during interviews.
And so we must start to change the mentality that experience speaks for itself. It does not. Experienced people must be able to speak to their experience, especially in an interview setting. Otherwise, how will the Hiring Manager be able to assess whether or not they are right for the job?
Instead they should go into the interview, like anyone else. Prepared, energized and ready to tell the Hiring Manager why they are the best candidate for the job. If there wasn’t a need for that, there would be no need to set an interview time in the first place.
So next time you are sitting in an interview, thinking the process or the questions are below you, just remember, there could be any nth number of people up next who have no problem respecting the process and speaking to their experience. Those are the ones who are getting the jobs. Those are the ones the entitled candidates are grumbling about. Those are the ones who are paving the way of the future.
Because just like all things, in times of change, the ones who are fighting against are the ones who are getting left behind.