Are Your Interview Questions Keeping Up With Today’s Generation?

When I talk to Millennials, here’s one thing I hear loud and clear: their 2012 job-hunting methods are different than last year. They haven’t given up on old-fashioned applications and resumes, but they’re using social media more than ever as part of their job search strategies. Companies who are competing for top talent are joining them online. It’s a new year as the Class of 2012 enters the work force.

What about our interview questions? Are they ‘so last year’ or worse, from 1983?

1983 Focus Magazine “The 25 most difficult questions you’ll be asked on a job interview.” The top 3:

1. Tell me about yourself.
2. What do you know about our organization?
3. Why do you want to work for us?

Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Want responses that candidates haven’t rehearsed in “interview answers 101?” Ask new questions.

To come up with new questions for the Facebook generation that will give us much deeper insights than we can get from Facebook stalking, I went to the experts: Millennials who are part of the Ypulse Youth Advisory Board (YAB), a group of highly talented Millennials who keep us in the know about the latest trends in youth attitudes and culture.

First, how important is it for interviewers to identify with their age group? Answer from a YAB member: “It is critically important for interviewers to identify with the age group that they are interviewing with: especially when there is a generational gap between the interviewer and the interviewee.”

What do they think we should be asking to better understand girls of their generation?

The top 3 questions for the Facebook generation that we don’t know enough to ask:

Question 1) It’s 8AM, you just arrived at work and the whole computer system collapsed. You have no technology available. What do you do and how do you get on with your day?

Millennials are hooked on technology 24/7 – it’s the lifeline to everything they do. How will they gather information? What will they do without media links to the world?  How will they search without Google? How will they communicate with the person down the hall? Spell check? Calculate? Complete a project?

Look for: Problem solving, initiative and if they can think without a computer.

Question 2) When you see something on Facebook and other sites, such as a video requesting activism, an article about a celebrity’s recent breakup, or an inspirational quote from a famous person, do you:

A) Research the “claim” to see if it is legitimate before you share?
B) Research the claim out of curiosity whether or not you are planning to share?
C) Accept the claim whether you are planning to share or not, unless it seems super far-fetched?

Look for: Do they fly by the seat of their pants and react? Are they analytical? Do they investigate, collect facts and information before acting? Think before they act? Make decisions based on data or feelings?

Question 3) This two-part question can be asked about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+

– If your Facebook friends “like” a certain product or company or link an article they find interesting or music that they like, do you check it out to see what it’s all about, or do you not bother?

– When you link things onto Facebook that you are interested in, such as articles and music, do people tend to comment and share, or do they mostly ignore it?

Look for: Someone who keeps track of what their friends are liking, and presents the things they like in an interesting and engaging way which gets their friends excited, would be able to use social media to promote a company, or glean useful information about what people are into at the moment.

Women vs. Men Bonus Tip

When interviewing a female, how you ask the question is important. DON’T focus on the interviewee’s gender in a blatant way, i.e., “What can you, as a woman, bring to this position?” DO address gender issues in a more interesting way “What is your opinion on the relative lack of female CEOs in x business?”

Why this is important: Millennials dislike questions implying women have a different perspective or skill set. Also, it’s viewed as “incredibly sexist” to talk only to women about potential work/family balance – if you’re going to ask women this question, make sure you also ask men.

What are your interview questions or tips for the Facebook generation?