Can Gen-X Career Discontent Work for YOU as a Job Seeker?

by | January 22, 2010

If you're an older job seeker, you've most likely felt thesting of age bias.  When we're lookingfor a job, though, we often forget to feel the pain of those sitting across theinterview desk from us.  After a fewweeks, or even months, of unemployment, it's only natural to get a bit jadedand focus only on OUR need for employment. 

This can be a big mistake and here's why. 

The generation gap actually works in both directions per a recentAP article from Martha Irvine.She noted that the Gen-Xers are feeling squeezed between the Boomers who won'tgo away and the up and coming Gen-Yers. According to Robin Erickson, manager at Deloitte Consulting, once thisrecession eases only 37% of Gen-Xers plan to stay in their current jobscompared to 44% of the Gen-Yers and 50% of the Boomers, from a survey done afew months ago.

For the Xers, it's the lack of promotional opportunitiesthat has them most resentful.  40%offered that as a reason for their restlessness.  This number far outranked the 30% responsefor Gen-Yers and 20% for Boomers who said the same. 

unemployment

These are interesting results because they provide a glimpseinto this economy from an age perspective. While Gen-Yers will have the luxury of time to overcome this economic bumpin their career, many Boomers will retire (forced or otherwise) with this"recession" being the unwanted exclamation point on theircareer.  This doesn't have to be the casethough.

What's important here is that your job interview most likelywill be with a hiring manager from the Gen-X generation.  Typically, as the job candidate, we mightassume that this hiring manager is totally satisfied with his/her careerprogress.  In light of the aboveinformation, this may not be the case. Some, if not many, of these Xer hiring managers may well fall withinthose 63% who are dissatisfied with their own stalled career.  They might be ready to move on to greenerpastures themselves as soon as the economic conditions improve.

From a job search perspective, here's the take-away: Ifyou're either a Boomer or a Yer, how do you work this to your advantage whenyou're sitting across from a Gen-X hiring manager?  According to Irvine, these folks aren't toothrilled with you.  If you're a Boomer,they see you as not going away.  Ifyou're a Yer, they see you as getting all the attention and crowding them outbefore they've had their place in the sun.

Here's one possibility: Look for ways to help them while youhelp yourself. First of all, you'll want to mollify any potential distrustfulfeelings of this hiring manager by addressing Question #3 of the "5Must Answer Interview Questions" - Are you a team player? Can you be managed? They'll want to be assured they have a new employee who canquickly fit into their system, take direction well yet hit the groundrunning.  No prima donnas.

Next, see yourself working under this supervisor ormanager.  Probe for areas during theinterview where this hiring manager sees as issues that need to be tackledfirst or projects that have the most urgency. If you can demonstrate how you can help solve the most urgent needs,then you help make this manager shine.

While careers and promotions for Gen-Xers may be stalled nowat many companies, your role is to be a star as a team player.  This will reflect well on your immediatesupervisor. Since self-interest works for us all, it might make sense todemonstrate solid return on investment ways that you can use as examples tohelp solve their immediate problem and let them take the credit for thesuccess.

Summary 

Remember that the hiring manager who interviews you hascareer issues too.  Take yourself out ofthe job search mode for a moment and view life from the hiring manager'sperspective.  Ask yourself, "Howcould I make life easier for this person if I worked for him?"  "How could I help to make this person astar in this company?"

By using some of the answers you identify, you may well hitjust the right button that wins you the job.

A former recruiter, Joe Turner spent 15 years finding andplacing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers.  The author of Job Search SecretsUnlocked and Paycheck 911, Joe also hosts his JobSearch Guy Radio Show as well as weekly Resume Writing Workshopsto thousands of job seekers across North America.  You'll find Joe's free tips and advice onlanding a job in this tough economy at: www.JobSearchGuy.com.   

Filed Under: Job Search


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