Millennials and Recruitment

By Dave Nerz

OK, time is up. You have to figure this out…NOW.

Recruiters, time to stop bashing Millennials by calling them out and making a big deal out of the generational differences. Time to start managing your communication and reaction as you have for different audiences for years. Yes Boomer recruiters, I am talking to you and anyone else that is paralyzed by a generational difference.

How about this for a premise, Millennials are people and just have different experiences and motivations. As a successful recruiter you cannot treat a Ph.D. candidate and a recent college grad the same and expect a positive outcome. Just as each candidate is different based on educational experiences, so are the generations of candidates you interact with. Millennials, Boomers, GenXers all have unique needs and expectations that should be recognized and managed to improve communication and deliver better outcomes.

Consider this…every generation thinks the next generation is not as wonderful as their own generation. Boomers were thought of as a major downgrade by the Traditional generation that proceeded them. As history can do, it is repeating itself.

So let’s move on…

These tips are for anyone in any generation. It happens that these characteristics are attributed to a generation which we know is a wild stereotype. But in life, without regard for generations, you will find individuals that have these characteristics. Spend more time working on solutions and less time calling out the behavior…that is where success will be achieved!

If you feel anyone you work with or manage has a lack of problem-solving skills, guide them to increasing levels of responsibility for solving the problem. Coach with feedback on what was done well and what needs a new approach. Allow them ownership, do not hover or micromanage.

If a sense of entitlement or an unrealistic advancement goal is evident, lay out the guidelines for how to achieve the status desired. Make sure that your standards are fair and written out. Learn what makes people tick. Help them become better. Focus, highlight and maximize the areas of strength. If you are managing them as recruiters often do with candidates, give assignments that will produce positive results and challenge with assignments that will grow capabilities to the next level. Always reflect reality, but do it with discretion not a sledge hammer.

If people you work with are overly emotional, do not add fuel to the flame. Listen to understand the emotion rather than minimize it. We all have our days and topics!

If impatient behaviors are creeping in, celebrate small successes. Focus on incremental improvement of short-term goals that complement and feed into a longer-term plan.

People from all generations get frustrated with managers, co-workers, associates and recruiters. Consider working on some of these issues.

Unavailability: Make yourself available face-to-face, by phone, by text. Everyone has a preferred method…flex yours to accommodate as necessary.

Slow to Respond: Treat everyone like your best customer and things will be good!

Lack of Positive Feedback: Find good things and react! Find more straight out positive conversations to have. Do not sandwich good with bad. Just find more good things and highlight those.

Lack of Communication: Keep in touch with people. Connect. Work on a relationship that allows people to talk to you about anything. Remember, a text might as effective or more effective than a phone call or email.

Millennials prioritize pay and purpose. Asked about their career goals, 28% say making a positive contribution is a priority, followed closely by earning a lot of money (26%) and working with great people (19%). That seems like a fairly reasonable expectation, no? The talent pool recruiters draw from is quickly becoming dominated by GenX and Millennials. Time to get good at understanding how to work with what will be the future.

Just a reminder. Relationships and communications are two-way processes. If you are the cause of the block, the challenge, the disconnect, you own it too. Be introspective no matter which side of the generation difference you represent.

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