Use the generation gap to land your next job

While researching a project, I was lead to an artigen y blogcle that described challenges of a workforce full of generation gaps.  Reading about Gen Y was like reading a horoscope: insanely general in its description, but alarmingly correct.  I’m every bit a product of my generation, and that’s totally O.K.  Here are my tips on using the generation gaps to ace your next job interview:

1. Short-attention span: As I write this post, I’m flipping between browser tabs, watching a Harry Potter marathon and tweeting about it all.  Gen Y have developed short-attention spans because of our media consuming habits (first is was news-in-under-a-minute now it’s updates of less than 140 characters).  This is a plus, why?: Ours is a generation of multi-taskers.  In your next interview talk up your uncanny ability to switch between tasks at a moment’s notice.  Crises come-up, deadlines change, a reporter needs that fact sheet now.  Let your interviewer know that you can handle unexpected shifts in projects with ease.

2. Tech-savvy: We’ve logged hundreds of hours on Facebook and are often called on to sync older Generations’ iPods.  This is a plus, why?:  Our generation learns new technology easily, while knowing the in’s and out’s of current tech.  Plus, we know how to use the power of the internet to swiftly search for solutions to problems.  Let your interviewer know about how you’ve used technology to develop your career and professionalism.  Maybe you have a Linked-In profile or have started a blog.

3. We’re invincible and deserving: Refrigerators across America pay homage to A+ worthy algebra tests and tee ball trophies collect dust in unused bedrooms as shrines to Momma’s Boys and Daddy’s Girls.  Our parents loved us and we ate it up.  The unequivocal attention to our accomplishments (no matter how small) is a blessing and curse: Gen Y believe we’re as invincible as Superman, but our egos are as fragile as fancy china.  We believe we can do anything, but if we aren’t recognized for our results then we crumble.  This is a plus, why? Gen Y believe we can do anything so we’re unafraid to take some risks.  At the same time we thrive on recognition (and we believe we deserve it more than anyone else).  Let your interviewer know that you want to take on new projects and you are confident in your abilities.  The pitfall to avoid in this situation is earlier-mentioned ego.  Say something like, “I believe in offering recognition to my team members for achieving their goals and appreciate the same kind of feedback.”

Try to remember that each generation is different in your job interview.  You should read the article linked to above to learn more about the older generations’ way of working.


  1. Great advice in this post. Will try it next time I get an interview!

  2. Another way to address the entitlement problem you talk about in point #3 is to come to the interview fully prepared, having done your homework on the company, industry, & job. Show that you want the job and can communicate a good story about how you’d be a good fit. Gen Y has a reputation for walking into interviews not prepared enough, which can come across as if you think you deserve the job and didn’t need to make any effort to sell them on you. Make sure you’re ready to communicate answers to the 3 Why’s -why am i interested in the company? why am i interested in this job? and why should you hire me?
    The 3 Most Important Interview Questions –


      • Zackery
      • September 26th, 2009

      Thanks, Greg. Good luck on your next interview.

      How’s it going Andrea? Great advice about the “3 Why’s.”

  3. This is such an awesome post! As a junior in college, i am currently applying for different internships and will soon be applying for jobs in the real word. A lot of employers have their misconceptions about hiring someone directly out of college because of the Gen Y that you talked about. I really enjoyed the tips that you gave and i know that they will help me to excel in a job interview in the future. My favorite was definitely the first one about attention spans. I know that i have a problem on focusing at one task for a long time, and knowing how to spin that weakness into a strength is perfect!

      • Zackery
      • February 23rd, 2011

      Thank you!

      Good luck finishing your Junior year and with the rest of college. It gets so tough sometimes.

      Even as I write my reply, I keep getting distracted by the work and errands I have to get done today. I’ve learned to stay focused by making a do-to list using an iPhone app. Also, someone recently suggested to me in a meeting the idea of making a separate list called “My day will be a success if I finish…” It should be a shorter to-do list than your normal one, but it really does help me stay focused on the more important tasks.

      Thank you, again.


  1. March 9th, 2011

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