A Guide to Selling a Gen Y Candidate to a Hiring Manager

Generation Y (or the “Me Me Me Generation” as Time Magazine recently went with) has a reputation for being negative, lazy and selfish. Just about every generation has said this about their juniors - when times get tough, so do the critics. But is it impacting on you as a recruiter? Are generation Y stereotypes making it hard for you to sell promising, young candidates to hiring managers?

Don’t let it put you off - here’s how to convince them some young blood might just be a good thing.

A Diss is a Miss

“Now they ARE a generation Y candidate, BUT...” This is possibly the worst thing that you could say to a client, even if it’s meant in good humour and is followed by the most dazzling, fantastic selling points known to man. The fact that you’re even mentioning their age plants a seed of doubt, as if to say “I know you’d rather they weren’t...”

Why start off the conversation on a bad foot? If you don’t sound sure that your generation Y candidate is a good bet, your client isn’t going to be either. They may not have heaps of experience, but sell them on what they do have: a desire to prove themselves, value, and creativity.

Experience isn’t Everything

One of the biggest problems hiring managers have with generation Y candidates is experience (or the lack thereof).

Well, it’s all about perception. A hiring manager could be all too ready to overlook someone who doesn’t have the exact combination of experience they are looking for, without accepting that what they’re asking comes at a much greater cost – often an unnecessary cost.

Experience is great, but sometimes less can be more. Say you had 10 years of experience managing a recruitment agency. That might make you astounding at basic candidate resourcing, but are you going to be happy in a job where that’s your only responsibility? Of course not – you’re going to be bored stupid and quit within a month! This, of course, is the case in any other industry too.

At a time when the media encourages employers to believe that it’s a buyer’s market (even though, as recruiters well know, this is far from the case in niche or professional services recruitment), hiring managers are often setting the experience bar too high. And it’s not just at their cost – it can create a nightmare for the recruiter who has to keep dredging up new candidates.

Internships and Placements Show Determination

They might have a rep for being lazy, but many generation Y candidates will have slogged away at unpaid internships, voluntary work or placements just to gain experience and a bit of respect. If your candidate has done any of these things, SELL THEM. It shows positivity and determination, and could just convince your client that generation Y is the way to go.

And, After All, You’re the Expert!

In a world where the customer is always right, it can be tempting to quietly accept it when they reject CVs - but allowing them to overlook an entire generation comes with the possibility you’re overlooking a whole pool of outstanding. More candidates, more choice, more placements.

Remember there’s a reason your client is paying you to do their recruitment for them: you’re the expert. If you think a candidate they’ve ignored is still the best fit for them, whatever generation they belong to, say so!

Kara Shorthouse

Kara is a Digital Marketer based in Glasgow. In her spare time she loves a good gig, ponies and flattering Snapchat filters.

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