10 Mistakes to Avoid When You Hire Millennials

Millennials Bring a Lot to the Workplace, but Challenges Exist for Employers

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Millennials are a difficult bunch, aren't they? They seem to have their own ideas about how the corporate world works, and aren't afraid to express them. The generational differences can sometimes make hiring difficult.

Still, it's not a good idea to dismiss them when their resumes land in your inbox. According to LinkedIn's 2015 Talent Trends Report, millennials will comprise 50% of the workforce by the time 2020 rolls around.

That's a 50% chance of not only a wide-eyed greenhorn showing up in your interview room, but you nabbing a youthful, energetic and talented employee for your company.

Here Are 10 Things Not to Do During the Hiring Process—and What to Do Instead.

  1. Write Vague Job Offers: When you reach out to millennials to offer a job, don't just give them a list of duties and responsibilities. Talk about concrete reasons why you chose them in particular and perhaps give them a ballpark salary range as well. They'd rather you use email to reach them, according to LinkedIn's Talent Trends Report—but LinkedIn Mail, phone calls, and text messages are also acceptable. 
  2. Chart an Unclear Career Path: Unlike their predecessors, millennials want to be leaders right off the bat. This desire to lead doesn't mean they want to be promoted as soon as they set foot in the office. Instead, they see a leader as someone who's able to make an impact in the workplace—whether someone holds a formal leadership title or not. If your company can help its millennial hires plan where they want to be five years from now, you're more likely to retain those hires.
  3. Refuse to Offer Flexible Work Arrangements: The traditional 9-to-5 setup just doesn't work for millennials anymore. They'd rather have a job where they have flexible hours, telecommuting options, and extra vacation time. It's not that they're lazy—it's just that this setup makes them more productive.
  4. Entice Them Only With Money: Most millennials would rather make a difference than make a ton of money. Compensate them enough for their work, but encourage them to give back to the community as well. You can also hold regular fundraisers, organize trips to impoverished neighborhoods, and do other things that will enable millennials to have a positive impact on the world.
  5. Disqualify Those Without the Necessary Skills and Experience: Yes, skills and experience help. Most millennials don't have either of these and have no other means of obtaining them other than through an actual job. It's better to hire the ones who show the most potential, have them learn on the job and make a decision about them from there. After all, that's how Google hires employees—and look where it got them.
  6. Use an Excessively Rigorous Hiring Process: If your company weeds out high-potential millennials on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to loosen things up a bit. In place of the usual two-three-round interviews, you can hold informal professional development classes, conduct informational interviews or show potential candidates around the office. Through these, you can let the candidates decide for themselves whether they fit your company's culture or not.
  7. Keep Them Away From Social Media: For millennials, a no Facebook rule in the office is a death sentence. One-third considers social media freedom a higher priority than salary. In a recent survey by web company WebpageFX, 90% of teenagers said they use social media more than three times a day. Encourage them to use popular social media sites for their age group—on the condition that they become ambassadors of goodwill for your company through those same sites.
  8. Use Corporate Buzzwords to Win Them Over: Millennials appreciate it when they're not bombarded with meaningless phrases like "bottom line" or "take it to the next level." They're more likely to gravitate toward a company that speaks to them in simple, yet punchy, language. Go through your job ads targeted towards millennials, clear them of corporate-speak and buzzwords, and watch more millennial resumes pour into your inbox.
  9. Try Too Hard to Get Millennials: If the feed of Twitter user @BrandsSayingBae is any indication, millennials can see right through a company that tries too hard to get cute with them. The remedy for this is the same as that in the previous point: Express your company's brand through copy that highlights strengths in simple, succinct language.
  10. Fail to Provide Post-Interview Feedback: According to LinkedIn's Talent Trends Report, 95% of millennials want to hear what you thought about them after the interview. It might seem like a ton of effort to follow up on applicants you rejected, but they need the feedback so they can improve for future interviews—and, perhaps, come back to your company so you can make use of their newly acquired skills and knowledge.
    These might seem like a lot of concessions to make to millennials. However, it's important to note that they just want to keep up with the times and hope that the company they'll work for will do the same. Avoid the mistakes mentioned above, and you'll be rewarded with a vibrant workforce. 


Sarah Landrum is a freelance journalist specializing in career development. Sarah's work has been featured on notable publications including Forbes, Business Insider, The Muse, and Entrepreneur.