How to hire a millennial

By Jack Purser


Millennials (or Gen Y) is the name given to people born between 1980 and late 1990’s and whilst you may imagine them to be young, could be anywhere between 18 and 35 years of age. In fact by the year 2020, half of our workforce will be millennials and by 2025 over 70%!.

So what do we know about the mindset of a millennial? Well being one myself makes it easier… firstly, we have grown up with technology being an integral part of our lives, with how we socialise, communicate and even learn. This means we have a vast array of information at our disposal which naturally results in more diverse opinions.

Not only are millennials more than willing to use technology at home and in the workplace, they almost demand it: they expect that the best tools for them to work the most effectively and proficiently are displayed on the face of a UI. 

This access to technology has paved the way for millennials to think and act differently from the generations before them which in turn has impacted attitudes to work and their ways of working, thus having a greater impact on future generations and so on and so on…

The view that millennials are just “Generation X+1’s” (known for being pragmatic individualists who are willing to take risks in an effort to survive) is not necessarily true. Many view millennials as the same but more extreme, which is why they are sometimes called “Generation Y”. This entirely misses the true nature of generational cycles. Where X’ers are individualistic, millennials are collectivistic. Where X’ers are cynical, millennials are optimistic and hopeful. Where X’ers lack trust in institutions, millennials are willing to work with and build them.

Millennials are followers, not naturally but affectedly – and if companies aren’t adopting modern employment trends, then the moment an opportunity that does becomes available; for the millenial it would be an opportunity worth exploring.

Millennials change jobs more than any other age group, although it is unclear if this is driven by age, business cycles, generational differences or less of a willingness to just settle. What is apparent however, is that a millennial needs to be kept interested. Getting this right will certainly help you not only hire one, but retain a millennial.

A recent study showed that 96% of millennials think the reputation of their company is important, 98% think a companies vision and values are important, 100% said the company they work for must stand for something and 89% think their potential job title is important – is this a sign of status and vanity, or do they just care more?

The millennial mind-set is now being adopted by younger age groups, thus meaning businesses must adapt to change if they want to hire and retain a millennial. Millennial workers appreciate a healthy work-life balance, more often over financial or professional advancements and they are not convinced that devoting excess time to work is worth the sacrifice, which means that millennials would favour flexible hours or remote working. So in summary, what can we do to attract and keep this talent?

  • Provide a mentor/mentors
  • Clearly communicate the companies vision, mission and values
  • Adopt a flexible attitude to working practices
  • Create an attractive, infectious culture
  • Provide external-learning rather over company-led training

By understanding the millennial mindset and their new ways of working, three core values of modern employees can be identified: Socially Conscious, Tech Driven and Collaborative. These core values drive behaviours that affect every employee in the workplace, as well as the business and career decisions they make as a result and we’re only going to be hiring more and more.

Being only 21 and working in the recruitment industry I definitely get to see both sides of the story, but being a millennial myself I may be a little biased! 

All thoughts and opinions are welcome! you can comment below, email me at

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