ShoesWhen I started my career as a recruiter, I thought it would be a given that people would know how to prepare for interviews. As we all know, however, that is not always the case.

As part of the hiring process, my colleagues and I typically call our candidates to help prepare them for their interviews. This is not only an opportunity for us to impart some institutional knowledge about our client to the candidate, but also a way to ensure the candidate knows what’s expected of them as an interviewee.

The following are a few scenarios I’ve run into when preparing millennial candidates for interviews, versus more seasoned professionals. I’ve broken each scenario into the challenges and opportunities for both millennials and the recruiters working with them.

Scenario 1: Social Media Know-How

Recruiter’s Challenge: Ensuring a Squeaky-Clean Social Media Presence

Unlike previous generations, millennials have grown up using the Internet and social media. Hiring managers these days are much more likely to search for candidates on Google, Facebook, and Twitter — which means that recruiters need to know what exists there first.

Nowadays, millennial candidates are getting crafty with their social media settings by changing their names to a “first name and middle name” format to throw off those in search of them. Still, you should advise young candidates to clean house anyway.

Ask young candidates if there are questionable status updates or photos of them online. Don’t be afraid to tell your candidate that you’ve examined their social media profiles and found some things that you recommend they review.

PROTIP: Remind candidates that they should never post anything to social media they wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper. Recommend a tool like Reppler to help them clean up their social media profiles.

Candidate’s Opportunity: Use Your Social Media Prowess to Develop a Robust Online Brand

Social media can be a very powerful tool when used smartly. Maintaining a LinkedIn profile, personal blog, online portfolio, and/or a Twitter account can give a candidate an edge over the competition. Millennial candidates should leverage their personal brands online to tell employers what a one-page resume can’t.

BubblesDid You Know? The smallest demographic currently on LinkedIn is the age group between 18 and 24 years old. Encourage younger candidates to take advantage of this social network and stand out among their peers!

Scenario 2: Dressing for the Role

Recruiter’s Challenge: Sending Properly-Dressed Candidates Into an Interview 

It may seem like common sense to dress professionally for an interview, but not all millennials understand what that means — and, naturally, what it means to “dress professionally” can vary depending on the job and the employer’s company culture.

When I worked for my university’s career center, I witnessed just about every fashion crime possible from students vying for their first jobs at our career fairs. I’ve seen girls in short, tight dresses they’d normally wear to the club paired with blazers to “make it more professional.” I’ve also watched as students show up in their most casual street clothes to important interviews, expecting to get hired.

Bottom line: emphasize how important it is for candidates to look their best. Plus, research shows that when we look good, we feel good and project more confidence.

PROTIP: Tell your millennial candidates that they should dress “business professional” for an interview. You may have to spell it out for them: “You have to wear dress pants and a tie.”

Candidate’s Opportunity: Find the Right Outfit for the Interview

Get inspired by checking out Pinterest boards that serve as tutorials on how to dress professionally. Find inexpensive interview attire at thrift stores like Goodwill or department stores such as Kohl’s or JCPenney. Whatever their budgets, millennial job seekers can show that they are young professionals.

PROTIP: Err on the side of conservative, and you’ll be more likely to succeed. Show off your personality, but keep it restrained when it comes to strong perfumes/colognes, chunky (e.g., loud) jewelry, and makeup.

What other tips would you include? Feel free to share them in the comments section or tweet me at @EvelynXu15!

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