Community Futures Meridian

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Hiring a Millennial

  • December 2, 2016
  • Written by Meridian Admin

There are a lot of preconceptions about millennials; the media often refers to them as entitled, self-absorbed, lacking commitment and loyalty, overly reliant on social media, and very demanding when it comes to who they deign to work for.

All this might make any employer wish to stay clear of millennials when looking for new staff. But how true are these statements, and are they all as negative as they first appear?

For a start, the comments are mass generalizations based on an entire group and it’s like saying that all boomers want to hang on to their jobs forever just to prevent young people from taking over. Millennials’ self-absorption is less about arrogance and more about focus; any lack of commitment or loyalty is more about employers not understanding their need to be challenged and their skills used to their best advantage. And, if they are reliant on social media – so what? Wake up and smell the roses, that’s the world we all live in today, that genie is well out of the lamp (apologies for the mixed metaphors).

Rather than focus on what we don’t understand, or perhaps relate to, when interacting with this generation, we should be looking at how we can better engage with them and get the best out of them as employees.

The future success of our economy lies in how effectively we engage and interact with this cohort. Within the next ten year’s millennials will make up approximately three-quarters of the workforce.

What do We Know About Millennials?

They vote, they do community service, and they are politically active. The HR Management Center in the U.S. recently reported that 91 per cent of millennials are registered to vote, 53 per cent are politically active and 63 percent participate in community service.

They are ambitious, tech savvy, and they want to change the world – or at very least make an impact on it. They are environmentally aware and engaged and they want their fair trade coffee made to their exact specifications.

How do you Keep Millennials Motivated?

Millennials tend to move jobs frequently, but this is less about loyalty or commitment and more about employers needing to keep them engaged, challenged and doing meaningful work. This cohort are surprisingly quick learners. Just because they don’t know a particular software program, doesn’t mean they can’t learn it in a very short period of time – often in their own time, if it means they can move on to more meaningful projects.

What’s Really Important to Them?

Flexibility – sure work is important, but so is life. Millennials are happy to work hard, but they want to play hard too. If you want to keep this generation happy you need to realize they will not be satisfied with a 9 to 5 schedule. They’ll put the required hours in, but on their terms.

Surprisingly, millennials look for mentors and expect good leadership. They do not suffer fools gladly.

Prestige, and meaningful work is often more important than money – although, owning their own home is a high priority.

Interviewing Millennials

Go back as little as 20-years and an interviewer expected an applicant to fight for a job. Employers would say something like, “So, what can you bring to the company?” today applicants are as likely to ask, “What can your company offer me?” Is this arrogance? Maybe, but it doesn’t come from a bad place; millennials are looking for the right fit. They will talk about work/life balance, flexible hours, future career opportunities, professional development. They want to see that you are a progressive company – one that is winning in the market place.

If you have a good applicant that you consider might be a good fit, ask them about their career and job expectations and talk about the level of responsibility and empowerment they will enjoy with your company. Remember too, that prestige is important but so is being rewarded for achieving, or exceeding goals.


The bottom line is millennials make excellent employees and will help your company grow. However, you have to realize they are different, very different, from previous generations – treat them like your older employees and you will not get the best out of them, nor will they hang around for long.

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