Who's Hiring from the Fortune 500 - Vol 18
Minnesota Recruiters #9 | Fall 2009 | Recap

Yeah I'm Young - And Awesome

Guest post from Dana Larson (Minneapolis, MN). Catch her on Twitter @dlarson15 and LinkedIn

Looking to hire a new marketing professional in your business? Don’t just look at their age - look at their qualifications.

I’m 25 years old. And I know that, to the rest of the world, that means I’m young. I don’t necessarily agree with this, as I just started wearing night cream for the wrinkles, but it is true that 25 is young.

I also have a great deal of experience in the marketing world. Graduating from a top journalism school in Minnesota with a degree in public relations and marketing, I joined a well-known and progressive online marketing agency. After three years of learning as much information about SEO, social media marketing, PPC, website analytics and online research as my brain could absorb, I joined a start-up software company as their marketing manager. Now in charge of all outbound communications and marketing efforts, I’ve helped increase rankings, awareness and conversations about our business, and signups for our product have increased by 500% in three months.

This is not meant to be a post discussing how fantastic I am, but rather as a post letting employers know that the fact that a job candidate is young has little-to-no impact on their ability to do the job for you. You just need to take a closer look at that candidate and make sure their experience, their ability and their attitude fit your needs.

Colleagues of mine have mentioned how frustrated they get when they hear comments from employers and coworkers about how young they are. “You’ll understand when you’re older,” is true for some things, but when it comes to the professional setting, only alienates team members and can discourage the sharing of new ideas and opinions.

So what are the most important traits and qualifications to look for in a job candidate?

Experience - What has the candidate done in their previous position? What results have they generated? How long were they in that position and what did they accomplish there? Did they receive any recognition or a promotion at their previous companies? Finding out this information shows their past professional experience, as well as gives a strong indication of what they can and will accomplish at your company.

Energy - What do you feel when sitting across from the candidate in the interview room? Are they giving off a strong energy, and speaking effectively and with enthusiasm when talking about their experience? Are they getting excited with the possibility of working at your company? Learning how to read this energy from your job candidates and choosing a candidate with high energy can mean they will excel in their new position by bringing that energy to the team and the company.

Attitude - What’s the connotation of their resume? Do they use more positive than negative words when speaking about their past experiences? Are they smiling a genuine smile? Do they seem happy to be in the interview? Negativity breeds negativity, so make sure you hire a candidate that has a fun, positive attitude to help encourage positivity in your office setting.

Age - I know I said to not use age as a discriminator, but sometimes a younger person can bring great benefits to the table. They will have younger, fresher ideas as to what is hip and trendy, and can bring a new way of thinking to bring in a younger customer base. Younger people also tend to be more in tune with new and emerging technologies, which can greatly impact the efficiency, reach and organization of your people and your business.

What you need to understand most of all is that a younger person can potentially accomplish the job at hand just as well as - if not better than - an older person. Try not to disregard a candidate based on their age, but on how well you feel they can succeed in the position they are applying for. When you make the right hire, no matter their age, you will be significantly impacting the future success of your business.

Dana Larson, OnePlace Marketing Manager, represents the best of a new generation of communicators adept at engaging across all media, from traditional to social. A sweet but somewhat snarky gal whose career in marketing has easily transcended from big agency to agile small business, Dana blogs regularly about business, collaboration and productivity solutions. You can reach Dana at dana.larson at oneplacehome dot com.


Terry Schultz

Dana, very good article. The only thing I'd amend is the statement about 'fresher ideas' and 'more in tuned with new technologies'. That's a pretty general statement and as an older person, I could, but don't, take offense to it. There are many of us at my age that are well versed in new technologies, social media trends, and work with younger people so we know their thought processes.

But as I said at the first, good blog and some very good points about experience and attitude. It's good to get a different perspective on the 'age' conundrum.

Dana Larson

Terry - thanks for the comment! And you're right, there are many people who are older than I am that are very in tuned with new technologies and social media trends. I'm glad you pointed this out, as I am not meaning to offend anyone - just pointing out a new perspective could possibly bring in new ideas. But again, like you said, that isn't to say those ideas aren't already existing in a business. Thanks again.

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