If you work in recruitment, you probably have a fairly wide mix of ages on your recruitment database when it comes to candidates. The generation known as ‘Millennials’, which depending on which definition you look at, usually includes people born between about 1982 and the early 2000’s, is now a huge feature of the working population, and older millennials – people now in their late twenties and early thirties – are also increasingly filling senior professional positions. Whether or not you yourself are a Millennial, it is likely you have a decent representation of millennials in your own workplace, too.
Why Are Millennials Different?
The most significant difference between millennials and older workers as professionals is that millennials have effectively always had the internet and mobile technology as tools in their daily lives, at least for as long as they’ve been in the workforce (the oldest millennials, even if they started work immediately after secondary school, would have done so in the early 2000’s when the internet was already established as a major part of working life).
Older workers have of course adapted to technology as it has been introduced, but millennials had their expectations moulded in a world where information was already easy to come by and communication happened fast. This gives older workers and millennials slightly different expectations when it comes to the process of getting a new job, and it can help to understand this when you are talking to candidates who are from different generations.
One key difference is that older workers tend to view references as really important. They worry about whether or not a past employer will give a good reference, they make sure they know who to go to to get one, and they are a bit surprised when a new employer doesn’t seem that bothered about checking them. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t tend to worry about this. If they’ve been asked to give references at all in the past they will have seen this as a formality. They will anticipate that the hiring company will have used things like LinkedIn and other social networks to find out about them, and will see this as far more important.
Unusual Interview Processes
Companies now use all kinds of different interview processes, with some doing group interviews, selection days, exams, psychometric tests, asking interviewees to give presentations, and all kinds of other things. Millennials tend to be less fazed by unorthodox interviews, and also have less of a rigid idea in their mind of how an interview has to be. Older workers may find it weird if the one to one interview is going to be a casual lunch meeting, or if they are told to dress down because the company has a very casual feel. Millennials may also be more comfortable with a recruitment process that involves several rounds of interviews, as this has become the norm, whereas older workers can feel frustrated that a decision never seems to be made off the back of one interview.
On the flip side, millennials will become frustrated if they aren’t contacted by their agent with updates and feedback very quickly – they may accept that the process takes time, but to millennials, communication should always be lightning fast and they expect to know whatever you know immediately.
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