By, 09/01/2011

I recently came across an article on Yahoo! News about incoming college freshmen, which got me thinking. The story is about this year’s Beloit College Mindset List. If you haven’t heard of it – you are probably not alone. I too had never heard of the list, but have often heard common sayings such as, “today’s college students have never known life without the internet” and the like. The list itself ranks unique identifiers that demark a change in the experiences each new generation has had as they start their college experience. Originally the list was created to help college professors understand who their new pupils were, and to alter their teaching style accordingly, but over time it has become an entertaining list for those just interested in random facts.

What does this list have to do with your career search or our recruiting? My opinion is a lot, if you give it some thought. Once an individual realizes the differences they may have before interacting with a recruiter or hiring manager, they can use this to their advantage. Acknowledge these differences and highlight them as positives, but also be respectful to those different from you. A mutual understanding of respect and varying life experiences can help bridge the gap between generations, allowing both parties to focus on the factors that are important to the job itself. Some firms are very innovative, like Fisher Investments.  Others are not. It should be easy to tell from the beginning of the hiring process which category a firm falls into. Use that to your advantage as you prepare for an interview. For a break, take a minute to read the list. Some items may make you smile, laugh out loud, or make no sense at all, but the lesson in understanding generational differences is timeless.