Six Reasons Why I Love Interviewing & Recruiting Millennials

Posted in: Point of View | July 26, 2015 at 10:08 AM
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People Together-1By: Kim Cole - kimcole@thesaleszone.com

Full disclosure: Before you start reading this post, I need to let you know up front that the title is misleading. Ultimately, I had to do away with the label Millennial. You’ll understand why by the end of the third paragraph. Disclosure aside, I do hope that you’ll read on…

When I Googled, “What is a Millennial?” the first thing that popped up was this definition:  “a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000; a Generation Yer.” Wikipedia states that, “researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s” to define Millennials. Given the lack of a precise range of dates to pinpoint this group, I came up with a new name to define people who are within the first 10 years of their post-undergrad years. This post is about New Professionals (#NewPros for short).

We have unfairly given NewPros a reputational uphill battle to climb, fight, and overcome. They’ve been given labels such as not being loyal to employers, spending too much time on devices, not working hard enough, and having an entitlement mentality, to name a few.

I am not a NewPro. I am one of the first Gen Xer’s. Back in the ‘90s, I read my share of articles about Gen X. The issues that were written about Gen X are so similar to what is being written about NewPros that I feel like we are really first cousins once removed. Scratch that. Some of them are our children. Whatever. I have to confess: I simply love them. Lately, I have been spending a good bit of my recruiting week interviewing NewPros. Each time I speak with one of them I come away inspired. I’ll let you know when I find a bad one in the lot, but for now let’s just say that these are my new BFFs. Here are six reasons why:

1.)    I learn something new every time I speak with them. Whether it’s something about a new app that they are using, or a new Excel trick that I don’t know about, or how they approach a work situation, or a tip about social media, NewPros are on the cutting edge of everything, and they absorb information like sponges--which is why you need to hire them.

2.)    They ask a lot of questions. College has gotten more difficult and it shows in the questions that NewPros ask. They ask excellent, and often high-level business questions. And no they don’t start off by asking about vacation time and work life balance. They keep me on my toes!

3.)    Yep, they love their devices. NewPros were raised with devices. We may not have been, but somehow we all have them now and we all love them. We’re learning that multi-tasking is not a good thing, and eventually they will too, but for now let’s see what we can learn from their device-driven behavior. It’s fascinating to observe.

4.)    They have varied interests in addition to their day job. 

  1. Many NewPros have their own blog. Maybe they started it in college for a class project; or maybe out of necessity when they couldn’t get a job (because older people messed up the economy for them); or maybe they started their blog simply to have something to do in order to keep their skills fresh while they searched for a better job. It doesn’t matter why, it just matters that they have taught themselves about content marketing and now they are ruling the world, and you’re not (oh, and if it appears that they published something during work hours they probably pre-scheduled it in their content management system so LET. IT. GO. Bringing this up just makes you look out-of-touch. Either way, trust me, they will more than make up the time in other ways).
  2. They are charitable. Many NewPros are seriously into giving back. Their counselors in high school suggested that they do something in the way of giving back in addition to everything else they had going on in order to differentiate themselves on their college application. They obviously listened and now so many of them volunteer that they make the rest of us look lazy and self-absorbed.
  3. They are active. Not all of them played team sports in high school or college. Now, however, they are skilled at sports that some people have never heard of. And yes, they like their weekends…not because they like to lay on the couch and play video games, but because they like to do something involving a board, a bike, skis, or a trapeze and they want to burn off some steam. What did you do this weekend?

5.)    They are loyal to employers if employers deserve their loyalty. NewPros want to be loyal to their employers, but this loyalty is a two-way street. NewPros need to see their employers being loyal to everyone around them. This crowd is all about the team and if you are dissing one of them, you are dissing all of them. If they see their friends getting laid off they will at best disengage and at worst be out the door--sooner than you’d like. Also, you have to remember that many NewPros saw their parents getting laid off a few years back. So don’t blame them for lack of loyalty blame yourself and your company! Maybe it’s time to rethink your management strategy, your corporate culture, and your employee engagement approach.

6.)    What entitlement mentality? The first time your expense report has a $300++ charge for a hotel room in NYC and your NewPro co-worker turns in one with a charge from Airbnb, guess who’s gonna be in the hot seat?  Not the NewPro, but you—and I am talking to you Top Sales Producer. Since you exceeded quota last year, you’ve made the executive decision to spend a little more of the company’s coin on your T&E because, after all, you’re worth it! Now who has the entitlement mentality? True story: I was speaking with a candidate recently and we were going over the mundane issues of scheduling a Skype interview. With upcoming travel looming on his end, there was a casual mention of using Airbnb for the first time because, as he said, “I couldn’t see charging my employer $300 for a two star hotel in New York.” Maybe it’s time for the rest of us to rethink our T&E strategy because the next thing you know the CFO is going to be having a word with you and it won’t be about the bar tab you ran up on your last client visit.

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If you’ve got a great story that debunks the myths about #NewPros, Millennials, or whatever you want to call them, even better. We’d love to hear it!