Newly minted college graduates soon entering the job market could be facing another hurdle besides high unemployment and a sluggish economy. Hiring managers say many perform poorly — sometimes even bizarrely — in job interviews.
Human resource professionals say they've seen recent college grads text or take calls in interviews, dress inappropriately, use slang or overly casual language and exhibit other oddball behavior.
"It's behavior that may be completely appropriate outside the interview," says Jaime Fall, vice president of the HR Policy Association. "The interview is still a traditional environment."
Fall and other HR executives say such quirks have become more commonplace the past three years or so, and are displayed by about one in five recent grads. They're prompting recruiters to rule out otherwise qualified candidates for entry-level positions and delay hiring decisions.
The trend reflects a generation of Millennials — ranging in age from 18 to 34 — who grew up texting and using smartphones and social media, says Mara Swan, executive vice president of staffing firm Manpower Group.
About half of HR executives say most recent grads are not professional their first year on the job, up from 40% of executives who had that view in 2012, according to a recent survey by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania.
Fall says Millennials also have been coddled by parents. "It's (a mindset of) 'You're perfect just the way are,' " he says. " 'Do whatever you're comfortable doing.' "
Why some job candidates flunked their interviews:
• Taking calls and texting.
• Helicoptering parents. (Parents attending interviews or making phone calls to negotiate higher salaries.)
• Pets in tow. (Bringing pets to inteviews.)