2 Steps To Hiring And Retaining The Right Millennial

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 5.11.38 PM
It is possible to hire a Millennial employee that sticks around and actively contributes as a member of your team… or… you might find yourself:

  • Reading their resignation email
  • Repeating the interview process
  • Suffering low productivity and the opportunity loss during the interview period
  • Managing the learning curve of yet another new employee

Are you asking yourself “What is with these Millennials? They have no loyalty?” Well, perhaps their loyalty isn’t the challenge – perhaps you are hiring the wrong Millennial.

To hire AND retain the Millennial who has the core competencies and values that ‘fit’ with the job – most organizations and managers must shift how they interview and engage employees. They also need to consider what strong Millennial candidates look for in an employer… and what their organization has to offer.

Here are 2 Steps To Hiring And Retaining The Right Millennial

Step 1. The Interview Process

Conduct a structured – formal – measurable interview.  Most interview processes do two critical mistakes:

  1. Accept hypothetical answers to the questions
  2. Don’t measure the quality of the answers across all interviewees

Discovering the best person to hire… especially with Millennials… is where a Behaviour Event Interview (BEI), is an invaluable tool to identify predictable behaviour.

Millennials realize their past work experience might not be extensive – but that doesn’t mean you can’t discover great potential and a great corporate fit.  When someone doesn’t have lots of work experience you have to look for predictable behaviour in their life experiences. Even family events can demonstrate how an individual did handle a situation – be it stress, confrontation, deadlines, hierarchy or and standing up for your values… whatever is important for the position you are filling.

The key to a BEI is that it avoids hypothetical answers and lets you uncover real past behaviour… and past behaviour will give you clear insight how they will  behave in the future… or predictable future behaviour.

There is also a side benefit to a BEI.  As the interview progresses you learn valuable information that helps you build a valuable relationship / partnership and understanding of their past experience (stories), abilities… which leads us to Step 2.

Step 2. Leave Time To Discuss Expectations

Within the first interview, leave time to discuss your expectations… and ask them about theirs. For example:

  • Hours / Overtime (is overtime compensated?)
  • Training You’ll Offer
  • Their need to be patient… typically how long it takes to learn the ropes
  • Opportunities for advancement / compensation / travel

More and more candidates are also coming to the interview with their own questions. Therefore, be prepared to answer questions like:

  • Why should they join your company vs. your competition (from their perspective)?
  • What exposure (to people / work), will they have that will expand their skill, knowledge and experience?
  • How will working here satisfy their work/life balance? 
    • Perhaps they like to ski and you are close to a ski hill… could they do flex hours in the winter?
  • What about the benefits package? 
  • When can they begin taking courses that the company will pay for?
  • They volunteer a lot? Would your company offer a week off (no pay), to do volunteer work?

You are looking for younger – savvy employees who can help your company creatively respond to a quickly changing market while providing excellent customer service and brand pride.  So, show them you are a winning company that can keep up with them.Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 10.07.57 AM

If you have a great place to work then show it, let them see it, live your product and corporate values.  It’s part of the value proposition of your organization.

Now, let’s say you are at the end of your second interview.  You still like the candidate and you have already checked references. Now might be the perfect time to go deeper in the area of expectation management. So, before you hire them build an even deeper relationship with them and have another conversation with them:

  • Share why you think they might be the right candidate
  • Ask them why they think you are their right employer
  • Ask them why they think they are the right employee

Example 1. Uniqueness

The Mini Cooper retail success story because of their ability to ‘personalize’ each car.  A great example of ‘fitting in’ and ‘uniqueness’.  It doesn’t stop there… their advertising is unique when compared to other car companies. At the time of this post (winter), they have an advertising campaign that says “Seize Winter By The Snowballs” which is bold, playful and unique… just like Millennials.Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.52.16 PM

Example 2. Benefits

Multigenerational misunderstanding goes both ways. I was speaking with a Millennial about priorities just the other day and he was puzzled that priorities like Work/Life balance and financial reward might be different for a Boomer than the Millennial.  He asked for an example – so… I suggested the following.

Assuming everyone’s basic shelter needs are being satisfactorily met, it’s salary review / raise time. Our Millennial has a choice of a $4,000 raise OR a $2,000 raise plus 1 extra week over the next 12 months where they would do either volunteer or education activity. Without blinking he chose the lower amount and the opportunity to volunteer for a week. He seemed surprised when I suggested that when most Boomers were his age would have likely taken the $4,000. Simple reality is that personal values, goals and the employment market have changed.

Step 2 Summary: What one Millennial will see as a benefit might not satisfy the next Millennial. Salary and vacation are only one part of what employees are looking for. Millennials especially are looking for:

  • Ongoing training / personal and professional improvement
  • Incentives / recognition / reward… which may be money – or may something else of value

Are you able to offer employees benefits and a progressive environment that meet their lifestyle and career goals?


Changing your interview process to include a Behaviour Event Interview (BEI), will have great impact – but don’t let it stop there.  After you hire them, have another interview like conversation with them.

  • Ask Questions
  • Provide Feedback / Ideas
  • Weekly one-on-one strategic meetings
  • Give your process a 360 evaluation – ask them why they said yes?  What was important to them?

Even if we come from similar backgrounds – today more than ever it’s likely the things that fulfill us will be VERY different. While Millennials have more social pressure to ‘fit in’, they have also always had more desire and more opportunity to be unique.  That’s one reason why the Mini Cooper © is such a success for this younger audience… and an example how to give Millennials choice.

Happy Hiring… and Communicating.

Imagine work being easier. Imagine work being more productive.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Mini Cooper © 2001 BMW Canada Inc. All rights reserved.

About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

I’ll enjoy reading your thoughts and your experiences.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: