hiring Millennials


Millennials (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) have surpassed Gen Xers in the workplace, yet, according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 66% of Millennials go into a new job expecting to leave in three years. What is the secret to hiring Millennials and making them stick?

Hiring Millennials: The Interview Process

Millennials consider it rude to call someone without first texting. Be prepared to interact promptly with Millennials via text to initiate the interview process and for confirmation of steps all along the process. Email will not be effective and any delay in response will be perceived as lack of interest or even rudeness.

In addition to the typical interview questions, here are some additional questions from monster.com that will dig a little deeper to qualify a millennial and some will make your job more appealing to a millennial applicant:

  1. Have you ever had to wear a uniform, cover up a tattoo, or work at a time that was difficult for you, i.e. early morning or late at night? How did you handle that? (You will find out if the millennial can make compromises in personal style or conform to standards they don’t agree with.)
  2. Have you ever been passed over for an award or promotion you thought you were going to get? How did you react? (Millennials love participation awards. Through this question you will find out if they understand that everyone can’t win and whether they are resilient enough to deal with that.)
  3. How do you like to receive feedback? (Millennials fear making the wrong decision and are very sensitive to negative feedback. Checking the thickness of their skin is important!)
  4. What kind of relationship do you expect to have with your boss? (“Millennials want people to be friendly with them,” says Dr. Chip Espinoza author of Managing the Millennials: Discover the core competencies for managing today’s workforce. “Working for you may be the first time they have a relationship with an authority figure that they don’t perceive as being friendly.” )
  5. What do you read or listen to every day to get the news of the day? (Important to find out if they have an interest in the world beyond Twitter and Buzzfeed.)
  6. If we gave you time off to be involved with the community, what would you do? (This lets Millennials know you value philanthropy, a hot button in their world, and also lets you find out if they actively think of others.)

Hiring Millennials: Getting an Accepted Offer

This is the generation that breaks up by text message, so in a professional context, to have to let someone down or give bad news is terrifying,” says Lydia Pollak, a consultant on multigenerational issues at work. Ghosting or backing out on employers is most common among workers with two to six years of experience. Maintaining contact, again via text, is even more important at the offer stage. Inexperienced candidates won’t know to share other offers or even concerns they have about your offer. An ability to draw them out will be critical at this stage as they will volunteer very little.

Retaining Millennials

There are two important changes to make to your standard management processes for hiring Millennials and they revolve around performance reviews and definition of paths to promotion. Yes, Millennials have false confidence in their abilities but leaving them feeling underutilized is a sure way of losing them. Have performance reviews constantly. Millennials bloom under real time feedback and weekly one-on-ones. Instead of a once a year review, give 52 mini-performance reviews. Millennials want to be promoted in the 9-15 month range. Come up with some clear reward, if warranted, of course, to keep them motivated. Give them a map to promotion with clear milestones and tell them, “If you work hard and hit these milestones, this is what you will get.” Once you share this with them, they will hold you to it, and if you don’t fulfill a commitment, you will lose them.

“More than one in three Americans in the workforce are Millennials. The sooner the rest of us figure out the best way to work with them, the better off we’ll all be,” says Debbie Madden, CEO of Stride Consulting.

Interested in hiring Millennials? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Market Research Recruiter, Lindsey Bartlett, at [email protected].

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