Many of the young candidates who are applying for jobs nowadays are bright, intelligent people who have earned good qualifications from college or university. Many too are highly conscious of the fierce competition in today’s job market and so prepare well enough for job interviews to give a good account of themselves. For employers, what both of these things mean is that it can be easy to forget just how little work experience these youngsters have and how little they really understand about the workings of a business. Instead of taking the time and trouble to go through the basics with them, there is frequently the temptation to assume that they know more than they actually do and to let them pick things up as they go along.
The jobs that most young graduates have done during the course of their short working lives tend to be ones which entail little by way of responsibility and which require little knowledge of how the business as a whole works, its financial considerations, the links between different areas of the business and so on. When taking on young and inexperienced members of staff, therefore, it is important for employers to ensure that their induction and other workplace training adequately covers the areas that they are unlikely to be familiar with. Another extremely useful way to bring them up to speed more quickly, however, is by assigning a mentor to these new recruits.
Youngsters tend to be very conscious of their lack of knowledge when they first enter the workplace in a full-time, permanent capacity and often it can be hard for them to ask questions of their bosses, colleagues and co-workers which they think might make them sound “wet behind the ears.” The trust which develops between a new hire and a mentor, though, typically means that the former has greater confidence in asking the more “obvious” questions, so that the new hire learns and grows into the role more quickly. If possible, try to assign a mentor or “buddy” of a similar age to make the transition into the new position smoother and to make communication easier. Older or more experienced workers sometimes have a habit of talking down to their younger counterparts, which often doesn’t go down well, whereas those of a similar age tend to communicate on the same level and the more experienced of the two can better remember what it was like to be “the new guy.”