Loxo Blog

While I’ll admit I technically qualify as a Millennial, I will vigorously contend that there is a huge break in how candidates born in the 1990’s approach their careers.

For kids of the ’80s, cell phones were a novelty for emergency only, I learned about Google at university and Facebook was restricted to the Ivys during my collegiate years. In contrast, kids of the ’90s got their first iPod at 10 or younger, first iPhone at 13 or younger and may have no idea what Encyclopedia Britannica is because, uh there’s GOOGLE. Facebook is “kinda old school,” but hit them up on on “IG” (Instagram) or Snapchat. They are truly a digital-first generation: always connected with enormous amounts of (empowering) information at their fingertips (literally).

While these generational labels are hotly debated, it isn’t about making a positive or negative association. It is about acknowledging how different these candidates are and how recruiters need to adapt to successfully match them with the right opportunities.

A colleague shared a recent experience with me that highlights the challenge. She had a 23-year old on her team who was very bright, ambitious and respectful. Yet after a meeting with an important client, she had to remind him to stay off his phone, pay attention and show respect during meetings. Puzzled, he look at her and stated he was paying attention, he was just using his phone to take notes. Shocked? We are used to people taking notes via pen and paper, but we automatically assuming that typing on one’s phone is texting or Facebooking, not using Evernote to store their notes in the cloud.

Maybe you’d rather just not work with this segment of the market? Well, U.S. Census Bureau data states that 3.4 million people will turn 65 in 2015, the common age of retirement, and the next generation has to help fill that void.

So what are some strategies to bridge the generational gap?

  • Don’t play the age card. Emphasizing your differences only exacerbates them and jokes about age difference can come across as condescending.
  • Meet them where they are. Millennials are inherently social and on-the-go. They expect to be able to read and respond on their phone, not have to find a desktop to access a website or a job description. LinkedIn is the new resume, so invest time and money there. You also can find out more information about them from their social footprint than older candidates, so use this data to save yourself time and qualify them before reaching out.
  • Focus on the total opportunity. It’s not just about salary and title. Millennials want a role where they can immediately contribute, are seen as having value (not just another cog in the wheel) and have upward mobility. They value work/life balance and the total employee experience (e.g. modern offices, perks, flexibility).
  • Acknowledge their candidate-driven perspective. Call it the “me me me” generation, but these candidates grew up in an era of positive economic growth (no depression era mindset of being thankful to have a job) and have access to a ton of information (even if the reality of Google is slightly different than the movie “The Internship”). They want the best and won’t accept being treated like the bottom of the pile strictly because of their age.
  • Adapt to the candidate-driven market. With the growth in employment, there are lots of opportunities and millennials are not shy about looking at multiple opportunities and choosing what they believe is best for them.

None of this diminishes the importance of evaluating their strength as a candidate, but a slightly tailored approach will help you find the best of the best, regardless of age. What have you found most effective in placing millenial candidates?

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Image Credit: Time

Loxo Blog