Young and old must work to bridge generation gap

Recruitment experts say older bosses need to learn how to get most out of recruits

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 4:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 4:59am

One day last year, a manager of a financial company sat patiently in his office waiting for a second interview with a fresh university graduate.

An interviewee showed up, but there was one problem: he wasn't the one who came for the first round.

"The person said that his friend told him to come to the interview because the friend had already found another job," corporate trainer Andrew Ma said. "He said his friend believed he was very suitable for the job."

Ma, executive director of Chorev Consulting International, said this was just one example of strange behaviour by the younger generation that he had heard from his friends, including top executives working in a range of industries.

"At first I found it hard to believe. But then I felt that [the young people] had really thought out of the box. What if the person who showed up at the second interview was indeed more suitable for the job? That could be a win-win situation. The manager said he had not thought about that," he said.

Ma had also heard of some young employees who broke down in tears when their bosses scolded them. Some would resign the next day.

"Some employers say working with the young generation is worse then raising their own kids," he said.

But bosses these days often had problems getting along with their young staff, Ma said, because some tended to be manipulative and did not know what their staff wanted - job satisfaction and coaching.

Ma said he had surveyed about 200 people born before and after the 1980s and found that the younger ones had less job satisfaction because their bosses lacked time to coach and compliment them.

"Many bosses … like to give orders. But they don't know that their young staff like to be coached."

Tony Pownall, Hong Kong general manager of international recruitment agency Hudson, said he had heard many cases of young recruits not showing up on the first day of work because they had found another job.

Cathay Pacific cabin crew manager Shirley Au Yeung said one problem she had noted was that some candidates were taken by surprise when they were asked to speak English.

Cathay yesterday organised a grooming workshop for more than 30 tertiary students to teach them what to be aware of when they were interviewed for cabin crew jobs.