Why Millennial Recruiters Need to Toss Old Ideas

Barry Lenson

Okay, this article is not going to be what you expect.

It’s not going to be one more article about how to hire millennials. You can find plenty of articles about that all over the Internet, not to mention in magazines and even newspapers. Those articles will tell you what you supposedly need to know if you are hiring millennials – they like technology, they like flexibility, they might not stick around your company for terribly long after you hire them, and so on.

So we aren’t going to write those same things again for you today. Instead, we are going to assume that you are a millennial who is hiring other people. And make no mistake about it. Plenty of millennials (roughly defined as people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s), are now managing hiring operations. After all, millennials are now successful entrepreneurs, venture investors, consultants, and lots more.

And if you are a millennial who has the responsibility for hiring other people, it’s time to clean out your mental closet. It’s time to get rid of some of the old ideas about hiring that folks who are older than you used to believe.

Get Rid of the Idea that Technology Will Only Get Candidates in the Door

This idea took hold among baby boomers who were hiring, who generally thought, “Okay, I can use technology to make a first-pass choice of job candidates, but then I have to engage in lots of hard work and invest hours and hours to meet them all and fill out forms, because technology can only get me so far.”

If you are a millennial who is hiring, it is time to toss out that way of thinking. Technology is more than just a screening tool. It offers a way to meet and interview candidates, to share the hiring process with other members of your hiring team, to track candidates, and lots more. So toss the way people used to hire and start thinking in new ways.

Get Rid of the Idea that You Should Never Think about Personal Stuff When You Are Hiring

This is another way of thinking that took hold in the baby boomer cohort, many of whom came to believe the idea that they should never think about the personal traits of the people they were hiring.

To build a strong team of employees today, you have to think about mix, and you have to think about hiring a diverse workforce. Because today, diversity is the secret sauce that makes companies top performers.

Of course, you shouldn’t openly ask job applicants about off-limits topics like their religions, lifestyle orientations, or ethnic backgrounds. But as an empathetic millennial person who is hiring, strive to get a sense of who applicants are and rely on your intuition and intellect to put together a varied team.

Don’t Be Afraid to Accept the Fact that the People You Hire Might Not Stick around for Years

In general, baby boomers who were hiring managers really had big blind spots in this area. They had the flawed expectation that the people they brought on board were going to stick around forever. Then when those employees quit, they were supposed to act surprised and start hiring replacements who were supposed to stick around forever. It was all some kind of charade, and a costly one.

As a millennial who is hiring, you should start to think about this issue in new ways. Many of the people we are hiring today are apt to be “hired guns” who we need to perform specific functions – maybe for only a limited period of time. If you are a startup, for example, you might need certain technical employees to come in and stick around for only a year or two, not to stay with you for years and years. If you are a franchise that is planning to acquire a lot of new locations in the next year, maybe you need to hire a small team of experts who have experience doing just that.

Even though you might not want to ask applicants, “How long do you plan to stick around,” there is nothing wrong with thinking about that question when you hire.

Focus on Skills, Not Diplomas

Baby boomers liked to hire people who had graduated from prestigious colleges. That is a generalization, we know, but if you think about it, you will see is was often true.

As a millennial hiring manager, you can toss that way of thinking, focus on hiring people who have the specific skills you need, and develop a group of employees who can do exactly what you need done. Some of them might have earned certificates, not college diplomas. Some of them might have attended community colleges, not tweedy institutions. After all you are trying to build an agile, high-performing organization, not recruit members of a country club.

In Summary . . .

Baby boomers might not have thought in the ways we are writing about in this article. But are you a baby boomer? No? If you are a millennial, don’t let trickle-down baby boomer ideas about hiring limit you.

Think new, hire better.

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