Boston-based CEO sparks debate with rant about Gen Z job applicants’ reaction to hiring process

A US CEO has divided the internet after calling out a Gen Z job seeker who refused to complete a 90-minute task as part of a job application process because it seemed like “a lot of work”.

The Boston-based employer, who goes by M Stanfield on X, formerly Twitter, expressed his frustrations on the platform last week.

His message read:

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“Me: really enjoyed the phone call. See the attached financial modeling test.”

“Gen Z applicant: This seems like a lot of work. Without knowing where I stand in the process, I don’t feel comfortable spending 90 minutes in Excel

“Me: … well … I can tell you where you are now.”

The post quickly went viral and was seen by 7.9 million people, with many quickly sharing their thoughts on the potential candidate’s behavior.

When asked if it had been made clear that the model test would be part of the process, the boss said “absolutely” and that it was one of the first things discussed in the interview.

‘I’m hiring an investment analyst. Securing potential real estate investments is the biggest part of the job. No one was surprised when I sent the test,” he said.

The employer, who would not confirm the name of its investment company, told Fortune that the modeling tests were “fairly common in the investment world.”

“How else is an employer supposed to know if you have the skills to do the job?” he said.

In another reply to his X-thread, a teacher who said she currently teaches Gen Z students said the candidate’s answer didn’t surprise her.

Stanfield responded that Gen Z members “would benefit from having more fistfights at a young age” and that “a few bumps and bruises go a long way.”

This answer was not well received.

“Okay Boomer,” someone said.

“I’m 30 and I’ve had fist fights. I don’t think the fighting has helped my employment history,” said another.

Those defending the applicant said they were right to stand up for themselves against what some called “free labor.”

They argued that companies often just use a “test” as an excuse to complete work they haven’t done yet.

“I support that applicant. I also congratulate them on their professionalism in pushing back that huge red flag,” one person said.

“How difficult is it for you to tell a candidate where he or she stands in a process before you ask him or her to work for free?”