Sometimes millennials are the best candidates for the job. Here's how to find and hire the right ones.
At my company, User Insight, we work to understand the usage and impact of new technologies and trends.
Because millennials--roughly speaking, those who were born in the early 1980s to early 2000s--have grown up using technology, adapt quickly to new trends, and have learned the basics of how to apply both to real-world problems, some of the best candidates to fill the jobs I have at User Insight come from their talent pool. The challenge, though, is how to find and hire the right ones.
Millennials don't do typical job searches. They don't post resumés or search job boards, and their overall style is far more casual.
Here's what I've learned you need to do to recruit your own millennial talent:
1. Forget about recruiters.
Millennials don't trust professional recruiters. They believe recruiters are going to "sell" them a job, and they know there are far better ways to find one. The millennials' No. 1 approach to job hunting is to build strong social networks--online and offline. They see this as a way to enhance their job search--and their lives in general.
Look to LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and even Facebook to start to prequalify potential young talents and determine if they could be a good fit for your company.
2. Don't do interviews.
You and your company have been completely vetted before a millennial walks in the door. Millennials expect that you are doing the same to them.
There is so much information available about you and, likewise, your potential candidate, an interview with a millennial should be more of a continuing conversation about what you already know about each other. A positive outcome of this is that it moves the hiring process along much quicker.
A word of caution: If you think that participating in social media or posting your thoughts and ideas on a blog are a waste of time, a millennial is likely to feel the same about you and your company. This may be one of the roadblocks standing between you and millennial talent.
3. Meet informally.
Millennial style overall is more casual. So it's important to meet millennials in a setting that is less formal. This will help you get a truer sense of their talent. Also, adjust your expectations. You might have the best person for the job in front of you, but because he or she is not as formal as are members of other generations--in dress, language, or overall appearance--you might dismiss someone prematurely.
4. Encourage employee referrals.
Ask your millennial employees to refer others they've worked with in the past. Their contact lists of prior colleagues is vast and talented, and millennials always know someone great who is looking for a new job.
If you use this resource wisely, your millennial staff members will point you to like-minded individuals who will fit well with your company culture. This doesn't circumvent sticking to your standard hiring process but offers an avenue for introducing potentially viable candidates into your pool. Recently, I had a millennial leave User Insight; from her network, she helped locate and hire her replacement.
5. Keep a hot list.
It's true; millennials don't stay in jobs long. To help tackle this, I'm always "hiring," even if I don't have a position open. You never know when and where you might meet someone, and even if you don't hire that person right away, you might have a need in the immediate future.
I keep a short list of millennial candidates I can reach out to quickly. Just as in sales, if you never stop hiring, you'll always have talented people waiting in the wings when one of your millennials gets bored and is ready to move on.
Millennials have truly embraced the new age by successfully doing personal networking to get new jobs. Learn how to join them in conversation, and you will never have to post a job opening again.
ERIC V. HOLTZCLAW is a serial entrepreneur who has founded multiple startup companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises. His last company appeared on the Inc. 5000 list three years in a row. Eric advises clients on the “whys” of business – why customers buy, why teams work and the all-important “entrepreneurial why”. He is the author of Laddering and his weekly radio show, The 'Better You' Project, shines a spotlight on entrepreneurs' individual business journeys and successes. Learn more about Eric at www.ladderingworks.com or e-mail email@example.com. @eholtzclaw