Q: Most of the resumes on my desk come from candidates in the "millennial generation." Do you have any tips on interviewing them and how to keep them motivated in the workplace?
— Chad Knavel, Rugged Rental and Sales, Salt Lake City
A: Looking at candidates from the millennial generation is an increasingly prevalent scenario that hiring managers are encountering, and the car rental business is right in the midst of it.
One defining feature of millennials is their connectivity to everything. Understanding that they have grown up with access to extensive information — thanks to the Internet — hiring managers should feel confident that millennials are going to do their homework on the company they’re applying to before interview time.
With that in mind, many of the initial interview formalities can be expedited as hiring managers focus on what will provide workplace satisfaction to a millennial candidate.
Here is a list of 10 interviewing tactics that can improve a millennial interview:
Talk culture over compensation. Most candidates already have a general idea of what they’ll be making based on the position. This generation grew up having a variety of choices in terms of their personal and professional environments, and millennials will gravitate toward the environments that are attractive to them culturally — meaning showing alignment from a values-based perspective. The compensation is a value they’ll receive; spend time discussing values they’ll experience.
Discuss growth and development. The millennial generation, statistically speaking, is the most educated in terms of formal schooling. Spend some time discussing what intrigues them in terms of professional and personal development and how your organization can offer these opportunities.
Talk behavioral experiences, not hypothetical responses. If past performance is truly the greatest indicator of future performance, find out what the candidate “has done” as opposed to “would do.” Given the amount of exposure to opportunities and cultural experiences this generation has had, the behavioral interview style will likely set up both parties for rational expectations of workplace tendencies.
Be transparent about problem areas. If there is a particular area of the business or an issue the candidate will need to address immediately upon hiring, be upfront with the parameters and anticipated results at the earliest possible time. Once the millennial receives a task, results are sure to follow, and he or she will appreciate your initial direction.
Get ready … they’re going to want some free time. Millennials are flexible by nature. They need flexibility in the workplace, and for many, the lack of it will be a deal breaker. Consider asking questions like, “What is your ideal work schedule?” or “What do you consider ‘reasonable’ hours for working?”
Strengths are what they know, so engage them on how they’ll use them. This generation has been rarely told that they can’t do something. Instead of forcing them to discuss a weakness, learn how they view themselves in terms of strengths and where they’re looking to share them within the organization.
Communicate company strategies. Texts, tweets, email, messages and blogs are all areas in which the millennial generation has grown up sharing their thoughts with the world. Discuss your company’s communication strategies and try and find some alignment that they’re familiar with and will employ.
Discuss a personal driver of success and how your company will help facilitate it. Whether they’re goal oriented or status motivated, millennial candidates like to “begin with the end in mind” in terms of what they’ll accomplish. Show them that a road map for success exists, even if it’s not necessarily the rate in which they’ll navigate their course toward it.
Listen closely to what questions they ask. Millennials are letting you know what’s important. If they don’t ask any questions about the company itself but ask about continuing education coverages and flexible work schedules, it will be easier to manage future expectations.
Move quickly. Let’s face it, millennials get frustrated when a Web page doesn’t load in five seconds. Without an expeditious response to their inquiries or a post-interview follow-up, they’ll assume disinterest and probably pull out their smartphone and apply somewhere else. Be clear and direct regarding the timeline for completing the hiring process.