It is no secret that millennials have dismayingly short attention spans, a tendency to jump from one job to another at the drop of a hat, and a general restlessness that symbolizes their generation. But it is equally true that brands and businesses have no hope of moving forward without this cohort. Technologically advanced, socially conscious, and fiercely competitive, millennials have changed the way people looked at ‘jobs’. It is fair to say that they have redefined the norms and we’re loving it!
Hiring millennials can be an uphill task today, given the massive competition in the market and their need for work that satisfies their financial, intellectual, and creative needs – all at once. Companies often make a mess of the recruitment process by going the traditional way. Gen Y, as this group is popularly referred to, is not afraid of saying no.
My experience suggests these achievers are looking for jobs that fit their priorities, lifestyle, and personality. And while I’m not suggesting giving in to all their whims, there may be certain things you are doing (consciously or unintentionally) to turn a potentially wonderful candidate off. For this very reason, I’ve compiled a list of six mistakes that hiring managers and the people responsible for new talent acquisition must avoid making. Read on.
Mistake #1 – Providing convoluted job descriptions
The job title and description is perhaps the first touchpoint that makes your target group interested in your company. Often, organizations tend to use heavy verbiage and fail to explain exactly what the job entails. This can be a huge turn off for a prospective candidate who is unable to understand your requirements, or even worse, get the wrong candidate interested in the profile in question.
Aditya, a 28-year-old culinary professional, recently told me about his experience with a well-known five star hotel – “I wasn’t explained the scope of work in detail during the interview process. It was a huge opportunity for me to join their in-house team of chefs and showcase my abilities. But within a week or two, I realized that my job was limited to preparing a set menu that involved zero experimentation. Imagine cooking the same set of dishes every single day for the rest of my life! I quit within two months.”
Mistake #2 – Expecting to woo them by throwing in big numbers
Millennials want money, but a good pay package can no longer be considered as the sole puller. Money and benefits are huge factors, of course, but there are other (equally important) things that candidates look for in a job.
Nikita, a 29-year-old senior graphic designer, says, “A handsome salary is just the icing on the cake – I already know I deserve it because of my credentials. Instead, what I look for is the scope of work, diversity in terms of clientele, work timings, overall environment that I’d be working in, and opportunities to climb up the ladder in the ever-evolving design ecosphere.”
Mistake #3 – Not following through after the interview
Hrishikesh, a 31-year-old techie, says, “The hiring manager at a giant IT firm took 40 days to come back with the final offer and the appointment letter. By that time, not only had I found another job, but also developed a negative feeling about this company, since they didn’t hadn’t even bothered to drop me a simple message saying they’re sorry for the delay and that they’re still interested in me.”
It isn’t a smart move to presume that a prospective candidate is not looking for other options. I believe it is absolutely essential for your HR team to ensure that the top contenders for the job are kept engaged until a final decision is taken – or even until the selected person joins the team. Demonstrating to them the value of work, the opportunities to develop and grow, and even showing them pictures of the workplace (their workstation, the colleagues having an animated chat, or the team lunch) could prove to be a good way to get them hooked on to not just the job profile, but the organization, too. I often recommend hiring managers to offer a prospective hire a virtual tour of what day 1 will look like – it is a great way to keep them interested and involved.
Mistake #4 – Using too many corporate buzzwords
Thought leadership. Bottom-line impact. Paradigm shift. Best practices. Core competency. Holistic approach. Stop. Doing, This. Right. Now.
Interviewers and recruitment professionals often use jargon while describing a job profile or briefing an interviewee about the company. Millennials appreciate it when someone can speak their language and connect with them in a friendly manner. While formality in interviews is a given, it is not a bad idea to experiment with a slightly informal interview process that makes them feel more at home. Throwing unnecessary heavyweight mumbo jumbo can make you seem pretentious and hollow. Plus, it may also make them feel like the company culture is too conformist – something that millennials run away from.
The other side to this story is trying to get too ‘cool’ and pulling off a Microsoft. Don’t try too hard!
Mistake #5 – Immobilizing them
Chaining millennials to their desks is the worst thing an organization can do. These are free-spirited souls who love to work at their own pace, at their own time. They like a little bit of fluidity in terms of time and space, since it allows them to feel more relaxed and give it their best shot. A typical 9 to 5 job sounds alien to most of them today. Companies must understand this and make certain that they provide their employees with an environment that allows them to express themselves freely (flexible timings, telecommuting options, work scheduling, job sharing, etc.).
Mistake #6 – Not challenging them enough
“As technology and the Internet enable new avenues for entrepreneurship, not only do recruiters have to compete against other companies wooing young talent but now have to also compete with millennials’ passion and entrepreneurial aspirations.” Ryan Jenkins, renowned millennial keynote speaker, is bang on target there.
If the job you are offering fails to challenge a millennial’s cognitive, problem-solving, creative, and communication abilities, his/her interest in it fizzes out eventually. These multitaskers aren’t even aware of how much they can do, so it becomes imperative for organizations to push them to the edge, enable them to learn, and give them challenging projects.
According to LinkedIn’s Talent Trends Report, millennials will comprise 50% of the workforce by 2020. These collaborators, learners, team players, and result-oriented folks hold the key to the present and the future of every industry. How we can satisfy our long-term goals by providing them with short- and long-term gratification is up to us. To get you closer to your hiring goals, we recently published an article on what job applicants in India look for in an employer. It would be a good first step towards assessing whether you are on the right track.
What do you make of this list? Are there any other hiring blunders that you fixed in order to make the job (and the process of acquiring it) smoother for millennials? Tell us in the comments section below!