3 Qualities Millennial Candidates Should Have To Get Hired

Kaytie Zimmerman, Forbes
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If there is one phrase I have heard too many times, it’s that millennials are lazy. Just as often, I hear millennials responding with their extended work ethic, trying to prove they are not lazy. No matter what the studies and critics say, there is no way to broadly encompass an entire generation with a trait such as lazy. However, this rumor had to start somewhere, meaning there has to be some lazy millennials out there.

As a hiring manager, if you were to play into the stereotypes, you would steer clear of any young candidates, for fear of hiring someone you will someday have to fire. Before you write off any twenty or thirty-something, take a look at a few suggestions for finding the right candidate. The good news is that, when it comes to hiring, there are not too many differences in what to look for or watch out for.

According to Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Ideal Team Player, there is a certain type of candidate that you should aim to hire, especially if you’re looking to avoid hiring a lazy millennial.

Lencioni says, “For organizations seriously committed to making teamwork a cultural reality, I’m convinced that ‘the right people’ are the ones who have three virtues in common—humility, hunger, and people smarts.”

Humble

According to Lencioni, there are two types of candidates that you should filter out for a lack of humility. “The most obvious kind is the overtly arrogant people who make everything about them. This is the classically ego-driven type and it diminishes teamwork by fostering resentment, division, and politics.”

What is the other type of person lacking humility? “These are the people who lack self-confidence but are generous and positive with others,” said Lencioni. “They tend to discount their own talents and contributions and so others mistakenly see them as humble.”

In a way, you have to avoid candidates on both ends of the humility spectrum. Those with too large of an ego cause tension with coworkers and can’t work with a team, but those who do not claim credit for their good work do a disservice to their peers. They will make it difficult to celebrate wins and assign responsibility for repairing errors.

As much as you are looking for a candidate with the right amount of humility, you should also understand that a millennial expects a lot out of you as an employer.

“During the interview process, it’s important to gauge the candidates understanding of professional development, humility, and expectations for upward mobility,” said Alissa Carpenter, Career Discovery and Personal Development Coach at Everything’s Not OK and That’s OK, a millennial life coaching company. “Millennials are hard workers but do expect a return on their investment. Without setting a clear framework for your organization’s structure, you may find yourself looking to fill this position again rather quickly as millennials want to be compensated for their performance.”

Hiring and employment are a two way street when it comes to millennials, so you should be prepared to show them where the path can lead, lest they blaze their own path elsewhere in a year or two.

Hungry

If you are fortunate enough to avoid hiring a lazy millennial, you’ll likely end up with a hungry one. Often times these traits transpose one another, so if you can weed out the lazy millennials, you are on the right track.

“Hungry people are always looking for more,” said Lencioni. “More things to do. More to learn. More responsibility to take on. Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity. And they loathe the idea that they might be perceived as slackers.”

Hungry candidates might be the easiest to identify. They are the ones that are able to list multiple extra projects they completed in addition to their day-to-day responsibilities in their current or previous roles. Hungry millennials can also be identified by checking how long they were in a role before they were promoted or changed jobs. Candidates that stay in a role for extended years are likely not very hungry.

“We’ve been able to predictably assess candidates based on our hiring framework and broader perspectives in the interview process,” said Nick Candito, CEO and co-founder of Progressly, an Operational Performance Management platform. “Our hiring framework is to look for those who are intrinsically motivated, have a growth mindset and are capable of delayed gratification personally or professionally. Major warning signs are external motivation, a fixed mindset (giving up on challenges) and a pattern of immediate gratification.”

Candito touches on another great point about hungry millennials. When hiring, you should be looking for the intrinsically motivated individuals. A millennial that is just looking to earn a trophy, title, award, or salary will eventually get bored or run out of external motivations to keep them hungry.

People Smart

Finding candidates that are people smart can be difficult, simply because their character often does not easily reflect in an interview or on a resume. People can hide their mess fairly well too, making it difficult to avoid hiring damaging individuals until it’s too late.

“It has everything to do with the ability to be interpersonally appropriate and aware,” said Lencioni. “Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way. They ask good questions, listen to what others are saying, and stay engaged in conversations intently.”

It’s important to hire candidates with people smarts, but know that hiring even one person without people skills can destroy an entire department or organization. One employee with a bad attitude or disrespectful treatment of peers can infect everyone around them.

Avoiding a lazy millennial hire means intentionally seeking candidates who are humble, hungry and people smart. As mentioned previously, sometimes it’s difficult to assess these qualities in a short interview. If possible, aim to take the candidate out to lunch or have them interact with other people in the office. If you are able to speak to people who have worked with them before, ask about these particular traits.

 

This article was written by Kaytie Zimmerman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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