Average Rating: 5.0
Your rating: none

The millennial approach to interviewing

Younger employees include social media and mobile devices in their job searches

by Mary Jawgiel

Millennials are projected to make up 36 percent of the workforce by next year. And in 2020, the percentage rises to nearly 50 percent. They are here to stay and they are changing the way recruiting and interviewing takes place. These younger employees will be around long after the boomers and many of the Gen-Xers have retired. They don’t respond well to the old ways of recruiting, where the company had the upper hand. So, if you want to hire younger employees, you are going to need to adapt to some new techniques.

Millennials seek out much more information than past generations on organizations that interest them, and they use this information to decide if they even want to apply. They are also quick to leave an employer that has not provided them with their “dream job.” They search for their dream by continuously trying out new positions (the term job-hopping comes to mind) and not looking back if their expectations are not met.

The average length of employment for a Millennial is just three years. At any given time close to 80 percent of these younger workers are open to the idea of a new career opportunity, with many actively seeking new positions while they work (2012 Candidate Behavior Study done by CareerBuilder and Inavero).

One new wrinkle in Millennial recruitment is provided by their pervasive use of mobile devices. Think of all the places where your ad for an inside sales rep appears online – on your website, on social media, on your local newspaper’s website, on an industry job board, etc. Are all those sites mobile friendly or does your ad get passed over? Or even worse do those sites make your company look old-fashioned? (Shameless plug: ICP Job Board listings look great on smartphones and tablets).

Younger job seekers won’t even read your ad if it does not look right on a mobile device. In a recent survey by Glassdoor, an online jobs and career community, 89 percent of employees who say they’ll soon be looking for a new job confirm that they will be using their mobile device as a resource for their job search. They are not only using their mobile devices to job search, but they are also doing research on companies. Sixty-eight percent use their device weekly to conduct job searches. They want to be able to apply to your job opening using their mobile devices. If you are sending them to a specific URL on your website, make sure they can import their social profile data instead of uploading a resume or, even worse, having to manually enter data! Your website must be mobile friendly and your process streamlined, or you will never even meet these tech-savvy candidates.

Job searches take Millennials about 28 weeks on average from start to finish. Many times a new search will begin within weeks of starting a new job – the grass does not grow under the feet of this generation. They will “like” Facebook pages of the companies they might be interested in, follow these companies on Twitter, and sign-up for e-mailed job alerts. Then they will use their shared generational values (flexibility, feedback, making a difference) to compare organizations and weed out those that don’t make the grade.

Millennials are more willing to share their daily activities and thoughts than past generations. When a Millennial goes on a job interview, he is very likely to share his experiences with friends and followers through his Facebook page, Twitter account, personal blog or on the latest new social media vehicle. When he posts about his recent interview with your company he’ll most likely include the company name or handle. In the past, when someone had a job interview, they called up a friend and shared the experience. Now, they are sharing their thoughts where just about anyone can read them today, tomorrow and forever. So, the young person who texted while you were interviewing them and saw the “look” you gave them is probably telling their friends all about the experience. And, they’re telling their friends.

Social media also offers you the ability to check out potential candidates by reviewing their LinkedIn profiles, Facebook postings and Tweets to see their activities, publically posted pictures, likes and comments. All this can help you get a better idea of how this person might fit in your company’s culture before you consider them for an interview. Another way recruiters are getting to know potential candidates is by conversing over Twitter to develop a clearer picture of the potential candidate’s skills and interests. Then if you do decide to bring them in for an interview, a rapport has already been established which can make the situation less stressful for both the candidate and the recruiter, allowing for deeper probing of areas of either interest or perhaps concern.

Make sure your social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. is open and friendly and reveals lots of company information. Remember, this generation is constantly sharing information about themselves with the world and they expect the same from their employer. Your write-ups should accurately reflect your company culture and values. Post profiles of employees so potential candidates will feel like they know you. If your company does a lot of promotion from within, by all means use your employee profiles to provide insight in to your company’s career paths. You want Millennials to feel that your company will be a good fit for them as an employee, and a place they can learn and grow—for more than the three-year average.

The research Millennials do may also include Internet searches for things like “most asked interview questions” (Google has 118,000,000 results on that particular search). They are likely to have developed answers to the most common ones, so you need to be ready to dive deeper with follow-ups that can provide you with some unrehearsed responses. This is a good way to see how your candidate thinks on his or her feet.

This generation is by far the most ready to relocate for a job they consider their dream job. Don’t discount someone who lives out of your local area but is otherwise a viable candidate. However, rather than flying across the country for a face-to-face interview, Millennial candidates are at ease being interviewed via video conference like Skype. Make sure you are able to offer this option. Video interviews can also be conducted for other reasons such as the candidate is away on vacation, at school, etc.

The one constant in this world is change and the Millennial generation is definitely changing the recruitment process. Smart companies will adapt quickly to meet their needs.

Mary JawgielMary Jawgiel is ICP program director for the PTDA Foundation and is managing the new ICP Job Board at Mary’s life-long passion has been working with young people. Industrial Careers Pathway (ICP) is a cross-industry initiative supported by the ISA Foundation, NAHAD: The Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution and the PTDA Foundation. For more insights on recruiting, hiring and training Millennials in the distribution industry, subscribe to the ICP Talent Tipsheet at

This article originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. 2013 issue of Industrial Supply magazine. Copyright 2013, Direct Business Media.


Post comment / Discuss story * Required Fields
Your name:
E-mail *:
Comment *: