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Effective Strategies for Hiring Top Millennial Employees

“Our research — which provides an in-depth look at what defines Millennials as employees, people, and consumers — both confirms and casts aside some of the myths about this particular generation . . . on the job-hopping question, we found that 21% of Millennial workers had left their job in the last year to do something else, a number that is more than three times higher than that of non-Millennials who report doing the same.”  Source: “What Millennials Want from a New Job,” Brandon Rigoni and Amy Adkins, Harvard Business Review, May 11, 2016

Generalizations tend to be . . . well, general. But the fact remains that most millennials don’t want to work for just any company – and if they land a job in a company that they don’t like, they won’t stay around long.

One reason is that they hope to contribute their efforts and hours to a company that stands for something beyond making sales and making money. They want to share in the vision of a company and if they join yours, they expect that working for you will be in some way important.

As a result, the hiring paradigms have changed. In the old way of hiring, job applicants sold themselves to companies. Today, the company is being interviewed too, and needs to sell itself. When recruiting millennials, hiring companies need to bear in mind that there are certain important attributes that millennials are looking for – an exciting environment, a clear and understandable path to advancement, a chance to exercise personal autonomy while still being part of a stimulating team, and more.

How can your organization recruit and hire top millennial employees, and then make sure they keep working for you for the long term? I would like to recommend these strategies which I have used successfully.

Create a Personal Career Plan for Every Millennial Applicant and New Hire

In the past, baby boomers have been comfortable with the idea that they could discover the of how to build careers after they were hired. I have observed that millennials want to know the game plan and the rules before they come on board.

I have succeeded in recruiting strong millennials by creating personalized career plans for them, which should be discussed during the interviewing and hiring phase. The focus should be on questions of what your company expects from successful workers and what positions lie ahead. Individual career development plans are big differentiators in convincing millennials to take your job.

Please note that this advice does not pertain to everyone you’re hiring, only to employees who want and advance and remain with your company for the long term. You needn’t create a personalized development plan for short-term summer employees, for example, or for elder employees who are only looking for part-time jobs during their retirement years.

Stress Autonomy, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

In general, millennials like to express themselves through their jobs – not to be “cogs in a machine.” They like to make decisions, create and implement plans, and make personal, recognizable contributions to the companies where they work. Stressing that creativity is part of the job can go a long way toward differentiating your company from others that are hiring.

Reduce the Unknowns

Millennials like to have specifics spelled out. Even though they have earned a reputation for being “loosey-goosey” and casual, most of them are not. The more specific and concrete you get in setting out expectations, the more they will want to come on board. If they will have regular weekly check-ins with their supervisors instead of quarterly reviews, for example, talk about that. Talk about benefits, about required travel, about reporting lines – and all the details that apply. The more you explain and reveal, the more honest and desirable your company becomes.

Introduce Job Applicants to Future Supervisors and Team Members

It is again a generalization, but being part of an energized team is often more important to millennials than it is to Boomers or members of other age groups. For many millennials, teamwork really counts – even though they want to be strong, recognized individuals. The operative strategy is to have your company interviewers introduce desirable applicants to their potential managers and team members – preferably in the actual location where the applicant will work. The more millennials feel that your job is an invitation to join a stimulating team, the more likely they will be to take your job offer above others.

Test and Screen for the Right Abilities, Aptitudes and Attitudes

Why is it especially important to consider job fit when hiring millennials? One obvious reason is that good fit helps assure that the millennials will perform well in their new jobs. That’s a given. But there’s a subtler reason too, which is that millennials are generally less likely to stay in jobs that they find frustrating, overly difficult to perform, or repetitive and dull. With greater speed than Boomers, millennials will quit and move quickly to other jobs.

That is not because millennials lack company loyalty or are “job hoppers.” It is because they want to enjoy a sense of progress and accomplishment in their work. And remember that if they leave you, you incur the costs of recruiting and training new workers.

Offer Excellent Training

For boomers who are considering job offers, the promise of excellent training can be a big determining factor that convinces them to choose your company. It is a generalization again, but many millennials like the idea that they will be able to perform their jobs capably from day one instead of learning by trial and error.


About Evan Hackel

Evan Hackel, the creator of the concept of Ingaged Leadership, is a recognized business and franchise expert and consultant. Evan is also a professional speaker and author.  Evan is Principal and Founder of Ingage Consulting, a consulting firm headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts. A leader in the field of training as well, Evan serves as CEO of Tortal Training, a Charlotte North Carolina-based firm that specializes in developing and implementing interactive training solutions for companies in all sectors. To learn more about Inage Consulting and Evan’s book Ingaging Leadership, visit Ingage.net

Evan Hackel

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