Friday, August 16, 2013

Thinking About Hiring? Be Sure Not to Discount the Millennials

When a business begins to grow, it may mean that it's time to begin hiring people. Sure, your partner or your children may have been able to pick up some slack here and there, but a part-time or full-time employee can be much more helpful, considering the dedication they must have to the business. But how do you select the right employee from the candidate pool? The obvious answer is to interview the candidates and consider each of them individually, but what if your own thoughts about people--specifically, those in regard to age--are getting in the way of your selection? Your biases could be holding your company back, so you better get past some stereotypes that are floating around largely thanks to media.

Some of the most ridiculous stereotypes out there right now surround millennials, people born between the years 1982 and 2000. Considered to be lazy, apathetic, and prone to mooching, the millennials are getting a bad rap for reasons that escape many of those that are included in this demographic. Like baby boomers before them, the news media has put millennials under the microscope and dissected them bit by bit, typically reporting findings that are negative. For instance, a number of articles have highlighted the fact that some millennials are still living with their parents. Though this is true, wasn't it true for previous generations like Generation X? People fall on tough times and with the massive costs associated with college--and the social expectation to enroll--countless teenagers have been groomed into educated, indebted twentysomethings.

An infographic explaining some of the intricacies of Generation Y. | Courtesy of Flowtown
Combine this with the economic downturn and, suddenly, many of these newly graduated college students couldn't find a job, let along afford an apartment. When the media started asking why, they began examining and blaming the personality traits of those who had received the short end of the stick. Of course they found negativity and apathy and angst: Wouldn't you be upset if you were told that college would get you a great job and those expectations fell flat? So, now there is an educated class, eager to work toward and for their passions, but many people have been convinced that they are lazy good-for-nothings, further complicating the debts they cannot pay. These stereotypes are false--many millennials possess entrepreneurial spirits and tend to be marketing savvy. They know that quality of product matters and that success takes hard work--their life experiences so far have largely convinced them of this latter understanding. Moral of the story is this: Do not underestimate millennials when considering them for a position. In fact, don't underestimate any applicant based on your own assumptions--it could mean the difference between your business succeeding or failing.


  1. At least you Millenials get attention. Gen X was a ghost. The media focus was: Boomers, Boomers, Boomers, Millenials, Boomers, Millenials.

    I will say this, Gen Xers did sometimes live with their parents, but not in nearly the numbers of the Millenials. And not for nearly as long. I do agree that Millenials got a raw deal as regards college costs. For a lot of people college is a huge scam - not helpful at all, a one-way ticket to indentured servitude. But Gen Xers got hit really hard when the housing bubble popped. We didn't own homes as early as Boomers did because the economy in the early nineties was in the tank and jobs were scarce, particularly stable ones. A lot of us are upside down on our mortgages and also have student loan debt.

  2. This:

    is a typical post about the problematic Millenials. Gen Xers were considered slackers, though, by Boomers and Silents and the GI Generation. So how much of this is "Kids today..." kvetching I don't know.