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We’ve all heard the horror stories about entitled, job-hopping Millennials (aka, Generation Y) in today’s workplace.  But before they enter the workplace,  many of them start as candidates being placed by independent recruiters like yourself.  Whether or not you buy the stereotypes attached to this generation, it’s clear that placing them can be challenging as recruiters determine how to relate to them. Here are some tips for navigating the recruiting challenges involved with placing these young candidates, who were generally born between the early 1980s and early 2000s:

  1. Don’t blame it all on their generation. The Millennial label tends to be a scapegoat for any weakness or issue a young candidate may have. But some candidates are entitled, arrogant, and just downright difficult, and it has nothing to do with when they were born.  In these cases, you may be better off setting the candidate free.

  2. Don’t assume they know the basics.
    This group may need more coaching than you are used to providing candidates.  You may think it is common sense to dress appropriately for an interview and to not ask about salary right out of the gate. You may not think it’s necessary to tell someone that the abbreviations they use when texting aren’t appropriate when emailing a potential employer.  But many recruiters are learning the hard way (i.e., from their clients) that these young candidates are not as savvy as they would hope.  It’s far better to over-educate and over-prepare your candidates than to have them potentially damage your reputation with a client. With that being said, some candidates may require formal training on basic skills such as interpersonal communication and business writing.
  3. Employers need to be coached, too. Your clients likely have a lot of preconceived notations about Millennials, just like the ones we mentioned at the beginning of this post.  Certainly, young workers new to the workforce are going to have a different approach. But different doesn’t mean bad. In fact, Millennials bring a lot of positive attributes to the table:  They are good at multi-tasking. They are skilled critical thinkers. They are technology wizzes. If you can get your clients to adapt and look past potential biases, they may find some of their best employees within this generation.
  4. Be patient and understand their needs. Millennials are notoriously picky when it comes to accepting a job, so be prepared to field numerous questions. They want to make sure that the job meets their needs: collaboration, technology, work-life balance, innovation, etc. They want to work for a company that is socially conscious and can fulfill their long-term career goals. Understanding what is important to Millennials can save you a lot of hassle because you will be less likely to present them for opportunities that are not a fit.
  5. They may not be cut out for traditional employment. Some Millennials (and members of other generations for that matter) really are job hoppers.  They thrive on variety and can’t stay in one place too long. Or maybe the typical 9-5 grind doesn’t work for them and they need a more flexible work arrangement. It can be nearly impossible to find a direct hire position for these candidates that will work for them in the long run.  Instead, you may want to find contract assignments that provide the variety and flexibility they need.

Yes, recruiting Millennials can be difficult, but once you learn how to manage them and what motivates them, you will find that they really aren’t that different from other candidates.  They want to make a living but not at the expense of having a life.  They want to be respected. They want to have a job they can enjoy and be proud of.  You have a unique opportunity to help them do that all while filling critical openings for your clients.

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