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Employing millennials

Employing Generation Y

Record high employment rates and on-going skill shortages have made it difficult for employers to find suitable candidates in recent years. And to add to this, more-and-more people are choosing to stay in their jobs.

With employers focusing their attention on trying to win over experienced people with proven skills and track records, there remains one untapped resource – graduates.

With employers focusing their attention on trying to win over experienced people with proven skills and track records, there remains one untapped resource. We have growing numbers of new entrants to the marketplace looking for work, and with a career in marketing becoming even more popular, it’s a pity that many employers ignore them. Not acknowledging what they have to offer continues the very real risk of losing a generation of talent – it makes no business sense, because without a blend of youth and experience, the workplace will no longer reflect the marketplace.

There’s a misplaced ideology that the new generation of millennials are a tad lazy, politically sensitive and self-absorbed and unlikely to stay in a job for longer than 12 months

But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Many millennials do want to add value, don’t job-hop and want to work alongside people, who can help with their careers. They’re also looking for real purpose and personal life balance in their work. Interestingly, we’ve also found that millennials and younger job hunters, particularly those looking to work in an agency or in-house marketing environment, are less concerned about starting salary than their predecessors.

Some agencies have started to recruit at graduate level, as they see this as a way of reducing the pressure on senior staff and training from within. This can be rewarding, particularly if your new hire is a success and adds value to your organisation.

Furthermore, employing graduates straight from uni allows you to hire people who are free of bad habits and can be moulded and developed to fit your culture and ethos. The risk here is, how you go about assessing a graduate, because there’s very little track record to evaluate. Often, the only solid thing an interviewer has to go on is examination results, which won’t tell you much about their reliability, dependability, integrity, time-keeping or how commercially-savvy they are!

Ideally, you want to find a graduate who will add value, here’s some advice on how you can go about doing just that:

STAGE ONE: Pre-interview

Interviewing a lot of graduates can be time-consuming. Decide who needs to take part (two people maximum), timetable the exercise and make sure everyone who’s involved is free to take part when they’re supposed to. Produce a list of common questions for candidates, which will enable you to gain a fair basis of comparison. Although, of course, it’s legitimate to ask varying questions to different candidates, depending on their backgrounds and core competencies.

It’s essential you empathise with graduate-level candidates, as doing so will bring out their true personality and skills. There’s little point in intimidating a junior candidate with a large interview panel, posing tricky questions, especially at first interview stage. Be proportionate and sympathetic.

For most positions, we recommend that one person conducts the initial interview on their own. They can be more flexible with interview times and will be able to whittle down the field to a decent shortlist for the remaining interviewers to meet at the next stage.

STAGE TWO: During the interview

Explain the culture of your company – warts and all. It’s best to be open and honest so there are no surprises when your candidate starts. Explain the benefits so your candidate understands what’s in store for them, both in the short and long-term.

Establish a good understanding of why they’re interested in the role and try to discover whether the job would be enough to encourage them to stay in the medium or long-term.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for discovering a diamond in the rough, but there are some questions you can ask graduates to help understand their personality, motivation and hidden strengths:

Q. ‘Have you worked during your degree?’

It’s important to hire someone who has a good work ethic and has been exposed to working in a commercial environment. Any work experience, no matter where it’s been gained, will give a graduate a more reliable and mature appreciation of the workplace.

Q. ‘What do you know about our company?’

It may sound like an obvious question, but it’ll tell you how much a candidate is genuinely interested in your organisation. By demonstrating how much research they’ve carried out, they’ll illustrate how genuine their commitment is.

Q. ‘What’s your idea of how our industry works?’

You want to be reassured that the candidate has acquired a credible understanding of your industry and, perhaps, even an assessment of your competitors. This is quite a decent question because it takes the ‘what do you know about us/role’ a step further and highlights the candidates who’ve taken the time and effort to gain a healthy insight into your profession.

Q. ‘What did you learn at university?’

This is an interesting and open question and will help you gauge what this person is truly about. You’re looking for real life answers and positive experiences that your potential employee has encountered during their studies. A gap in their memory may illustrate that their education may not have been their main priority!

Q. ‘Why should we hire you?’

This may be the most obvious question of all, but it’s surprising how often it’s left out of interviews. Without question, the candidate who can demonstrate genuine enthusiasm, interest and, most importantly, a willingness to succeed is worth progressing. Candidates who are interested in what salary and holidays you’re offering, as opposed to the quality of the role, may still be worth considering, but not without careful deliberation – they may be off at the first sight of a better offer.

Q. ‘Do you have any questions?’

This is the killer one and a candidate who passes on the opportunity to ask questions at this stage of the process raises questions about their true interest in the opportunity. A candidate who demonstrates the ability to ask sincere and authentic questions demonstrates a credible interest in the future of both the role and company.

Once you’ve employed a graduate, the key thing is to mould them into the way your company works. Giving your new recruit a level of responsibility within their role will encourage motivation,
trust and loyalty.

STAGE THREE: Post-interview

Your reputation will suffer or grow depending on how you deal with candidates during and immediately after the interview process.

It may be that another role comes up the following year that a rejected candidate may be ideal for. If so, they’ll be eager to be considered if they were treated with respect the last time around. You’re under no legal obligation to provide feedback, but we strongly recommend taking the time to do so. It creates a positive lasting impression of your company and will ensure goodwill in the market, not to mention, the future.

For more insight, check out ‘Hiring the right candidate.’ In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the best way of recruiting millennials or need our help with doing so, then give us a call or drop us an email.

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