What Interview Questions Should You Ask Millennials

What Interview Questions Should You Ask Millennials

What Interview Questions Should You Ask Millennials?

As alien as Generation Y may seem to older bosses or hiring managers, they are becoming an increasingly important and omnipresent sector of the workforce. By 2020 Millennials will represent nearly half of the workers in the United States and knowing what to expect when looking for and bringing on these prospective employees is paramount to getting off on the right foot. No longer can you simply scan the employment history of an interviewee and expect to have the full picture while peppering them with the classics such as where they see themselves in five years or what their greatest weakness is (turns out everyone just works too gosh darn hard, as it were). Being able to adapt your line of questioning and gear it toward this younger set will help you establish expectations from the get go as well as feel out how good a fit the job seeker is with respect to their potentially nontraditional professional history.

– What are some past experiences you’ve had that will help you do this job?

Millennials may not have the professional work history that hiring managers or HR personnel are used to looking at during the hiring process. That’s not to say that their experiences don’t hold loads of potential value, however. From volunteer programs in America and abroad to out-of-the-ordinary experiences in nontraditional work in any number of fields, this wide array of crossover skills shouldn’t be dismissed. The ability to adapt to changing conditions and apply problem solving skills in novel and innovative ways are assets picked up off the beaten track that may not have occurred to those who’ve been in the business for a while.

– What do you want to accomplish with this job? What are your professional goals?

This question serves a few purposes. While actually getting a picture of what they’re looking for professionally in your business, it also helps you indirectly ask if they’re only interested in a position as a stepping stone on the way to other work in another organization or if they’re in it for the long run. Is the prospect looking to put in the work in order to reach a potential professional milestone or promotion or are they less likely to commit to longer-term goals and potentially no be worth the effort of bringing on board.

– What do you think this job requires?

Though Millennials are reputed to sport a strong work ethic and dedication to a team or project, they also look for clearer specifics than other generational groups might have sought. It’s important to discuss the specific expectations on both sides of the interview table with regard to raises, promotions, the hours employees are expected to be on hand as well as any number of other points in order to clarify any vague points and more clearly define in what direction each party is looking to go.

– Under what conditions or in what kind of environment do you work best?

Again, without tipping your hand, it’s useful to pose questions that help show how a prospective new hire is planning on approaching a given position and what conditions they imagine that happening under. Some businesses find that an open-floor collaborative environment best suits their mission and goals. Younger employees may bristle at the idea of strict hours coupled with generic cubicles and the standard office canteen devoid of any personality. That being said, some employers may also bristle at the idea of running the office as a sort of free wheeling play place where people come and go as they please and the standard way of conducting business has all but melted away into obscurity.  Do potential employees expect to operate with less resources but a certain level of autonomy or are they looking for a well-funded and capable operation that’s subject to multiple layers of oversight and decision making?

Discussing the workplace culture, flexibility – or lack thereof – of hours and scheduling, and how employees are expected to function on and off the clock, and when that clock is even ticking, are essential in avoiding the dreaded ‘bad hire,’ or headaches and wrinkles that require ironing out after the fact.

-What kind of relationship do you expect to have with your boss?

Lastly, you’d be remiss in discussing workplace culture without addressing how the different layers of staff are expected to interact with one another and within the outfit at large. Where younger staffers may envisage a more relaxed and informal relationship with their managers or bosses, the older set may find the lack of formality an impediment to expedient business. Millennials coming out of college or nontraditional occupations may have never had the type of professional relationship that others take as simply de rigeur in the workplace. By clarifying everyone’s assumptions, whatever they may be on either side of the interview, you are preventing a potential mismatch in expectations that could throw the proverbial wrench in the works further down the line.

The Millennials Are Coming

No matter your stance on the positives and negatives of hiring from this sector of the workforce, it stands to reason that in time there will no longer be a choice in the matter. Familiarizing yourself now with the ins and outs of working with this generation now will help you position yourself for success now and in the future. Adapting to change and adopting new and innovative methods of doing business aren’t simply traits of this younger set of potential employees, but rather the hallmarks of companies positioning themselves to take advantage of the growing wave of applicants that is sweeping across the business landscape.

About author

Philip Barry
Philip Barry 19 posts

Philip Barry is a featured contributor to AgeOfTheSmallBusiness.com. After graduating from Fairfield University with a B.A. in French and International Studies he lived in Bordeaux, France for four years before serving with the U.S. Peace Corps in Ethiopia.

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