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How Not to Hire a Millennial

By February 7, 2018September 6th, 2023Finding Talent - Recruiting


Hello everyone! My name is Tracy Stevens, 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. A good percentage of us have also 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 maintain a career?


The answer to both of these questions is no. Neither party has to change. We simply need to understand how our differences can become our strengths. Here are a few characteristics my generation has to offer and how they can benefit your business:

  1. Being tech-savvyThe 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. Such transparency and tempting opportunity to be distracted might seem like a con in the workplace, but you can 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 excellent applicant tracking systems on the market (like our partner JazzHR) that will give you all the features needed to enable your online 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 has a rep of being 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. Time 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 we are doing the job right. This mentor could help guide the millennial through the challenging work, provide advice when the standards don’t get met, and show appreciation when a job is well done. Having an effective onboarding program can make or break your new employees.
  3. Job-hoppersThe millennial generation is supposedly the generation with multiple jobs in the same field for short periods of time. According to Pew Research, millennials are actually just as likely to stay with their companies as their older counterparts, Generation X. The key difference being that millennials are likely to job-hop until they find that perfect fit, and rightfully so. When hiring a millennial, make sure that objectives get very clearly stated. We are more likely to accept a job offer and stick with the career if we know the standards. 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 of days later, you go to the interview and get 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 exact situation has happened to many young people and will continue to occur 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 regularly:

  1. Having 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. Updating policies and procedures could easily correct the mistakes listed above. Millennials, as stated before, are not like anything this business world has seen. We have different ideas and work in entirely 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 may be different from other generations and have drastically different needs, but we are essential to any company’s growth. We can bring new ideas and innovation to the table. All we take is a little time and effort!

Every day, 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 a fantastic hire!



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