The Hiring Disconnect
I’m not gonna lie, as a senior in college, I was confident that I had secured the perfect job upon graduation. I felt I had done everything right; four years of exceptional internships, two separate international experiences, three years of student leadership, two marketing awards, and even a publication of writing in a school journal – my resume had been packed to the brim with what I felt every company would want. After pulling a few strings through close connections and a handful of successful interviews later I was promised an incredible position in my dream city of New York.
I was counting down the days to graduation. Three months, two months, one to go. With graduation in view and my sights on the Big Apple, I felt like life couldn’t be better.
And then came the unexpected.
“Dear Mr. Jeppson, after careful consideration and review we’ve decided to go in a slightly different direction with the position in question. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”
And that was that, I was crushed. The day before my graduation and I was out of a job. I didn’t know if I should cry or scream or just collapse in despair. But I picked myself up, walked with a false confidence masking my newly developed fear, and walked out into the void of the unknown. Immediately, I started a desperate search for something. Copywriter, marketing analyst, social media specialist, anything. And interview after interview after interview I heard the same story like a terrible rendition of Groundhog Day. “We’ve decided to go with someone with a bit more experience. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”
More experience? I had just spent the last four years of my life spending every moment gaining experience that, at least according to all of my professors, was supposed to prepare me for the “real world.” Hundreds of writing prompts, countless group projects, and seemingly endless hours of study and preparation spent for the most painstaking exams and presentations – all of which was assured by my accredited university to be absolute necessities to getting that golden ticket to the world of nine-to-fives.
Finally, after months of searching I got what seemed at the time to be a godsend in the form of a yes. A supposed leadership position with remarkable benefits and an unreal pay for the city I was going to be moving to. All of which quickly turned to a game of smoke and mirrors when I discovered it was just a ploy to develop a sales team that was overworked and underpaid with a company that not only mistreated its employees, but dealt dishonestly with its customers and I had enough. So I walked. And somehow that pegged me as the villain. A slacker. An underachiever. A “true Millennial.”
The worst part? After talking with many friends and acquaintances, stories like mine aren’t uncommon. I’ve had friends who have moved cross-country for jobs that turn out to be stipulated into three month contracts, or promised benefits end up being only offered after years of work with a company; I even heard a story where a friend, top of his class, was promised advancement after reaching certain goals in team building, and after building a rock-star team, was let go and replaced by someone with “more experience” to lead the team he built from the ground up.
I’ve heard it all. And according to the world what we want is a beanbag chair, artisan coffee, and the world on a silver platter. And I’m here to tell you that that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a rising generation all we’re asking for is to be treated with respect and dignity. And then to be given a bit of faith. Long gone are the days where a high school diploma and a job at the local car garage can buy a house in the suburbs and provide for a family of five.
We may not have had to survive wars or economic crashes, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to work hard. What we do know, however, is how to be accepting of all people, regardless of race, religion, or sexual preferences. We have been proven to care more about interpersonal connection than any other generation previous to us. We learn quickly and are eager to progress. We aren’t afraid to ask questions, and if we discover something that works better than what’s been “tried-and-tested” we aren’t afraid to jump in with both feet and build from the ground up.
We are a generation of entrepreneurs. We aren’t afraid to think big, and yes, because our parents and teachers told us we could do anything if we worked hard enough and set our minds to it, we chose to believe them. Is that such a bad thing? A generation that wants to end hate; who, if given the chance, could cure cancers, improve technologies, and help change the world for the better? Who wouldn’t want to hire someone who is excited to learn and progress? It just doesn’t make sense.
So maybe someone out there could answer my question. What is it that is truly causing the disconnect between companies and the rising generation? What’s holding you back from giving us a chance? What is it that we’re missing? Is it really just “experience?” And if so, what’s stopping you from giving us the chance to gain that experience? Who knows, we might just prove you wrong.