How Not to Hire a Millennial

jan, dan, and tracy

Hello everyone! My name is Tracy Stevens and I am the new Marketing Intern at #HireVentures and I am a Millennial! When some people hear that, it makes them cringe. But why?

The Millennial generation, or Generation Y, are those born between the early 1980s and 2000s. We make up about 32% of the U.S. population, which has surpassed the Baby Boomers by 11 million. Also, a good percentage of us have not yet earned a college degree. While many employers don’t give much thought to my generation, NPR credits that, “(millennials) are the most racially diverse generation in U.S. history — and embody the changing face of America.” So, if we are so diverse, does this mean that hiring managers must change their practices to better understand how our brains work? Or should the young person move away from the norms of their generation to remain in a career?


The answer for both of these questions is no, neither party has to change. We just need to understand how our differences can become our strengths. Here are a few of the characteristics my generation has to offer and how they are a pro for your business, instead of a con:

  1. Being tech-savvy: The millennial generation has grown up around technology and many have not known a life without these amenities. Millennials are also seen as the most connected generation, with their whole lives on display through social networks. This might seem like a con in the workplace, with the many devices and “distractions” included on each device. Turn these distractions into strengths by including them in everyday work. Also, when looking to recruit a millennial, take the job search online. There are great applicant tracking systems on the market (like our partner JazzHR) that will give you all the features needed to enable your on-line recruiting and develop your employer brand through social sites. By extending the job search online, your company would receive many more applications from this tech-savvy generation.
  2. Need for Attention: Gen Y is often seen as the generation that demands everything. While we want to multitask most of the time, we also want to be recognized for the hard work put in. even calls millennials the “Me, Me, Me generation,” and how, “the average middle-class American family today walks (around their house) amid 85 pictures of themselves and their pets.” In the workplace, try having an experienced employee become a mentor to the young person. A millennial craves constant reassurance because we want to know if the job is being done right. This mentor could help guide the millennial through the challenging work, provide advice when the standards are not met, and show appreciation when a job is well done.  This is when an effective on boarding program can make or break your new employees.
  3. Job-hoppers: The millennial generation is supposedly the generation that has multiple jobs in the same field for short periods of time. According the Pew Research, millennials are actually just as likely to stay with their companies as much as Generation X, their older counterparts. Even with this research, millennials are likely to job-hop until they find the perfect fit, and why not. When hiring a millennial, make sure that objectives are stated very clearly. We are more likely to accept a job offer and stick with the career if we know the standards that need to be met. So, maybe establish frequent performance reviews or feedback sessions.  The old annual performance review program just isn’t enough anymore.

Consider this scenario.

You are a millennial and have just started looking for a summer internship. After applying for some positions, you receive an interview. A couple days later, you go to the interview and are wowed by the company but they barely look at your resume. Once you show up for the second interview, they take you out to a neighborhood to “see if you’re a good fit” by going door-to-door selling TV subscriptions. After doing some research, you find that this company has been doing this same “bait and switch” act with many others. What went wrong?

The scenario above is not just a “what if” scenario. This has happened to many young people and will continue to happen, unless companies change their ways.


So, that brings us to the crux of this article, #hownottohireamillennial.  These are the mistakes that we see our clients make on a regular basis:

  1. An outdated recruiting process, such as paper applications and long lead times between receiving the application to interviewing applicants.
  2. No collaboration or feedback.  Waiting for an annual performance review to be completed is so last generation!
  3. Writing vague job offers that not even the seasoned employee can understand. This goes along with the “bait and switch” in the above scenario.
  4. Using an excessively vigorous hiring process. No one wants an inch-thick stack of hiring papers.
  5. Failing to provide post-interview feedback. It might seem like a lot of work but we would like to know why we did not receive a follow-up interview.

Companies in 2018 are now seeing that practices from 30 years ago will not work today. Some of the mistakes listed above could simply be corrected by updating policies and procedures. Millennials, as stated before, are not like anything this business world has seen. We have different ideas and work in completely different ways.

  • Does that make us difficult to work with? Maybe!
  • But does that mean companies should change their cultures to suit us? No!

Millennials are definitely a tough bunch to figure out. We are very different from other generations and have very different needs. But we are essential to the growth of any company. We can bring new ideas and innovation to the table. We might sound like a tough cookie to crack but with a little time and effort, every difference can become a strength to your company.

Everyday, millions of millennials are entering the job market, searching for their perfect career. To make sure your company hires the best, avoid these mistakes and you’ll be sure to make an amazing hire!


EDIT: This month is our 17th anniversary in business! Throughout this month, we are offering some special deals through our partner, JazzHR. To read more about the special offers we have for March 2018, click here.

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