“Don’t tap the glass! You might scare the Millennial.”
As the social media manager for Riviera Advisors, a global talent acquisition consulting firm, I read numerous recruiting articles on a daily basis to share the latest trends in recruiting with our social media followers, and every week, without fail, I see article after article with titles such as “Understanding Millennials” or “Wild and Crazy Kids: Facts about Millennials” or “Get Inside the Minds of Millennials: What are they REALLY thinking?” I was surprised to see that college students, such as myself, and other Generation Y members had to be so closely scrutinized and recruited as if one were trying to bait some kind of mysterious animal. MANY of these articles make grand assumptions and generalizations about the entirety of the millennial population and call these simplifications “facts”. It’s a little insulting to be honest. These are just a few of the wild claims dubbed as “fact” that I have read and my rebuttal as a proud millennial:
1. Millennials are going to quit because they don’t know how to commit.
It’s true that millennials are still trying to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives and may not find the right fit the first time around. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t commit to a job. This can be true for anyone who has accepted a job that they later find isn’t what they really wanted. Millennials will work just as hard as and maybe even harder than their Generation X and older counterparts and stick with a company if they feel it is worth investing themselves in. Millennials are no different than any other worker in this aspect: if they enjoy their work, then they are going to stay, and if they don’t, they will pursue a better opportunity. An expert recruiter can do their best to find the perfect match between candidate and company, but people are bound to quit, it’s inevitable, no matter what the age.
2. Millennials want to work in a dorm room and not in a professional setting.
This couldn’t be more far from the truth. YES, you will meet the occasional millennial who does keg stands on a regular basis and still refers to people as “bro” or “dude” but trust me, this is not the majority. Almost all millennial college attendees are taught throughout the duration of their education on how to act as a professional. There are classes, tests, role plays, presentations, and the list goes on. We are prepared to work in a professional environment and are excited to work with other professionals in the career path that we have chosen. Most college students are ready to move past their college life and onto bigger and better things. We have had to write 15 page essays about the cultural significance of saying “bless you” when people sneeze (true story) and we are ready to just get down to business already. Give me complicated job assignments in a business professional environment, just please don’t make me take another thousand or more dollar class on stingray mating calls. We want people to take us seriously and understand that the dorm room mentality isn’t going to achieve that goal.
3. Millennials are greedy. They want high paychecks without having to work for it.
I remember being in middle school and my teachers telling me that when it was time for me to go out and join the workforce that I would never find a job. All of my high school teachers said the same thing and even my college teachers today are repeating: “You’ll never find a job” (Kind of kills your incentive don’t you think? But I digress.) Almost all millennials have heard that broken record statement growing up and most of us are ready and willing to sell our souls for a handful of nickels and a benefits package to the first company that offers us a job. We WANT to work and understand that we have to work even harder to prove our worth in the high competitive job market of today. Millennials know that with great paychecks comes great responsibility and they are ready to earn their keep.
4. Millennials are easily bored and need constant entertainment.
Millennials are not children that need to be constantly entertained. People have the assumption that because we were raised with the internet, video games and mobile phones that we need to rely on these gadgets like a pacifier; that without fancy new technology features and pretty bright lights, that we will find the work dull and mundane. This is not the case. Like any employee, millennials just want work that is going to challenge them and allow them to utilize their skills. We don’t need all of the bells and whistles to be happy at a job, just meaningful work that allows us to showcase our talents. It’s as simple as that.
5. Millennials don’t know when to keep their mouths’ shut and will tattle about their bad candidate experience online.
Why shouldn’t they? If a recruiter gives the candidate a poor experience, the candidate has free reign to share their experience. They cannot be upset when a millennial, or candidate of any age for that matter, calls them out on their poor performance. Companies should encourage people of all ages to share their experience with their company. It’s free marketing and if the proper steps are taken to ensure that a good impression was left, then this shouldn’t be a concern. Now not all people are going to be satisfied, no matter how great the recruiter. But in the world where people share everything, from what they ate for breakfast to what they watch on TV, a recruiter has to be prepared to take the good with the bad, learn from it, and understand that people are going to talk.
The point that I’m trying to make is that while Millennials do possess differing strengths and weaknesses than the previous generation, we have more in common than you think. The 50,000 articles (and counting) that are written about millennials aren’t all that necessary either. Some of them do have decent advice occasionally, but most make wild claims that only apply to a very small percentage of our population. We have been put into a box with all of the assumptions that are touted as truth and it’s disheartening to read how little is expected of us when we have worked very hard to prove otherwise. Instead of focusing on the differences and minutiae, recruiters should evaluate their candidates (of all ages) for their individual qualities and see each as a unique opportunity for their company to inherit a variety of talent and ideas. So take it from a millennial: think twice before you read another recruiting article with the title: “Millennials: who are they and what do they want!?” and don’t believe all the hype. We’re really not all that different.