Thoughts on Gen Y job applicants

Over the last several weeks, I have been doing phone interviews for a couple sales and marketing positions here at HRI. Our focus has been on soon to be college graduates and, for our internship, current college students. It’s been awhile since I have interviewed college age applicants and I wanted to share some of my observations for others who may consider hiring members of Generation Y (I think I have that label right):

➢ These young people are impressive. Prepared, curious, enthusiastic, performing well in the classroom and engaged in multiple activities outside class. Many are engaged in charitable efforts.

➢ Many of the candidates have sought experiences to deepen their knowledge in their particular field of interest. Whether summer jobs or current work activities that coincide with their studies, these young people will bring relevant experiences and insights that we expect will be valuable. Additionally, many soon to be graduates are hungry for meaty opportunities that will challenge them rather than jobs for the sake of a job. Not one has uttered any concern with employment in “this economy”.

➢ While I have an overall positive impression from all the candidates, the young women I have spoken with have distinguished themselves. More confident, more insightful, more clear about their objectives and expectations.

➢ Many have studied or are studying abroad. The prevalence of this activity was surprising to me but my expectations are that such an experience would reflect an individual that is curious and willing to take some risks.

So what are my takeaways for you? There have been many stories about this generation and their attitudes about work. Many of the stories have actually been rather negative. Clearly, I won’t know how it all plays out until I have these folks engaged within the business but my recent experience working with the younger generation has been very positive. My plan is to challenge them, give them responsibility with the appropriate level of guidance and be there for support. I have very high expectations that these young people can have a positive impact on my company. Engaged appropriately, I believe they can have a positive impact on your business as well.


  1. Shaun, thank you for standing up for Generation Y. As a five-time intern and member of said generation, it’s refreshing to hear for once about the strengths of Gen Y: our compassion, well-rounded education, and curiosity for the world, rather than another critical article. Are we different from other generations? Of course. Does that make us bad workers? Absolutely not.

  2. HRBecky says:

    I agree with Allison. I’m a recent college graduate and in my fourth internship, and it’s a great experience when a company takes the time to help you learn. I think members of my generation can be more motivated than others, and it’s great to see company’s taking a chance and hiring new college grads!

  3. Shaun says:

    @HRBecky…Thanks for the comment…We have two new interns that started last week…Both will be juniors and are already contributing…

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