Attracting Millennial Talent- Part 2 or 2: The Hiring Process

This post was written by guest contributor Seth Barnett. For more information on this and other millennial engagement topics, plan to attend the Expo education session “How to Attract, Engage and Retain Millennial Talent” on Monday, January 11 at 1:20pm in Lagoon H. Attracting Millennial Talent: The Hiring Process

One of the most overlooked aspects of obtaining new talent is in a company’s hiring process. Most companies have a standard hiring progression in place and have not changed or updated it for many years. This means that the same actions and protocols that helped develop a company’s current workforce is the same that they hope will help you bring in millennial talent. The hiring process has changed, however, and those that stay competitive in the market are ones that adapt to these changes.

  1. The New Normal

Those that are recent college graduates and those that are in the early stages of their career have something that has not been present in the U.S. workforce in many years: choice. This means that as a manager, you may actually hear “no” when offering a position to a new candidate. The plethora of career choices and the vast knowledge base of recent college graduates has us living in one of the best economies for hiring new talent. Most graduates today have a knowledge base that does not reside around only one discipline but rather encompasses varied areas of knowledge. When I graduated from college I obtained a degree in business management, but my path to that degree was anything but usual. At the conclusion of my collegiate career I had coursework in marketing, sales, venue management, entertainment promotion, facility operations, merchandising, international supply chain management, and economics, just to name a few.  I could have obtained a degree by participating in business management courses exclusively. However, I wanted to have a wider variety of knowledge so that I could have more opportunities to fall into a career that I loved. This non-traditional collegiate path is becoming more of a standard. The good news for those seeking to hire is that the collegiate talent pool is more able to develop themselves in an array of careers.

The first step toward a new hiring procedure is to not overlook someone just because their experience or education does not align with your organizational goals. Who’s to say that someone with an English literature degree would not make a great sales person? They may have once excelled in some obscure communications course and didn’t even realize a career could be developed from that, but given the opportunity to use their passions and knowledge, they can easily excel within our industry.

    2. Sell Your Culture

Just as important to the candidate selling themselves to you is you selling yourself (and your business) to the candidate. The most obvious way to do this is by showing the candidate that your company needs them as much as they need you.

One of the best things to remember about hiring new talent, especially those in the early years of establishing a career, is that your office is not the only one they will walk into when seeking a job. If you intend to offer the person a position, it will most likely be associated with at least one other position between which that the candidate will be deciding. This means that the deciding factor could be something not directly related to the position, but more related to how you sell your business and the environment you create.

Most millennials on a job hunt are NOT looking exclusively for a company that can provide the highest rate of pay. They are looking for culture. Culture can be presented at the first moment a potential candidate learns who you are. This may be at a career fair, on your website, through a job board, or through word of mouth from one of your employees. Regardless of where they learn about you, it is important that you begin to display your company culture from the very first moment.

What exactly is culture? Culture can be a difficult thing to define, but those that do it well have no formal approach other than letting their culture influence itself naturally. Additionally, culture to one person may look different from that of another. It is important to be real and show your true colors with a potential career candidate. The worst mistake that companies make is appearing one way during the interview process and operating totally different once the person is actually an employee. If you feel that your company culture is best seen through its people, ensure that your candidate is around those people. If you take pride in your workspace, give the person a tour of your office. The most memorable interviews that I have been in are where the company displays their culture in some way.

    3. Things to Remember

Of the more memorable interviews during my career search was with a company that did everything right, until I was actually in front of them. As I sat in the reception area of the somewhat small office, I contemplated the questions I wanted to be sure to ask. I needed them to sell themselves to me. Being someone ready to find an opportunity with growth and advancement, I wondered about this company’s turnover rate particularly pertaining to new talent. While waiting for my initial interview, I heard someone on the phone calling job interview candidates. Of the eight or so calls this person made, I listened as they either stated to the person on the phone that the person had received a job offer and proceeded to invite them to an orientation,  or stated that the person on the other end was not selected for employment. Two things came to mind. The first is that I was impressed that they actually had someone calling to tell the person they were not being offered employment. As someone who has had many interviews over the years I can say I have never received a rejection by phone call. Most potential employers opt to send the rejection in the form of email, if they send anything at all. Secondly, I thought I had my answer to my high turnover rate question. I figured if in that fifteen minutes they offered four of those eight people a job, and the company was not that big, they must have high turnover. Being that I could hear that conversation happening and because I am wary of companies that have high turnover, I formed a judgment and made a decision that could not be overturned. Though the hiring manager assured me that they have the same turnover rate as other companies, I could not get those calls out of my head. Upon receiving the job offer, I respectfully declined. Had the person on the phone chosen to close their door on that day, things may have ended up differently.

   4. Millennial Talent vs. All Others

It is no secret that attracting millennial talent is a bit of a chore. However, the payoff will be worth the effort. Companies that are able to sell themselves well in the eyes of millennial candidates are already ahead of the game. There are numerous resources in the market today that discuss attracting new talent and outlines what culture actually looks like to the millennial generation. The biggest difference between hiring millennial talent and all others is that the millennials’ “long-term” is surprisingly much longer than most. Though public perception says that millennials are not easily content in their careers, I find it to be just the opposite. If given an opportunity to grow with and be a part of the company and the culture, the millennial will stick around. These are the future leaders that will help support and advance our industry many years into the future.

For more information on this and other millennial engagement topics, I encourage you to attend the Expo education session “How to Attract, Engage and Retain Millennial Talent” on Monday, January 11 at 1:20pm in Lagoon H. I will be joined in this session by Jessica Hutwelker, MAS and we will be looking at ways businesses in our industry can meet the growing engagement demand created by the generational divide.