As the most recent generation to join the workforce, millennials are unique in their age, mindset, and talents. The following commentary provides insights into how millennials are defined, the numbers on millennials in the workforce and value that they offer to modern enterprises, as well as tips for interviewing and hiring millennials.

What Are Millennials?

The ‘millennial’ generation refers to those people born between the year 1980 and 2000. According to The Council of Economic Advisors, millennials are both the most diverse and the largest generation currently in the U.S. Millennials are also the most educated generation to date.

Millennials in the Workforce

Renowned for their unique skill set, millennials currently make up approximately one-third of the U.S. labor force. In 2010, the unemployment rate for the millennial generation reached its all-time high of 13 percent; in September of 2014, that number dropped to 8.6 percent, and is continuing to descend. As the economy improves, more and more employers are looking to hire millennials.

Millennials are desirable in the workplace for a number of reasons. Perhaps most notably, millennials are known for their technological savvy. Born at a time when advances in technology both were and are rampant, millennials are more connected to technology than are any other generation.
What’s more, millennials are also advantageous in the workplace based on their values and their creativity. Challenging the standards imposed by previous generations in unique ways—from the home life to their communities—more people in the millennial generation name creativity as a desirable facet of a workplace environment. And as more millennials have a college degree than any other generation, the combination of being motivated by success, a unique skill set, thinking outside of the box, and education make them an extremely attractive group.

Tips for Interviewing and Hiring Millennials

Millennials are estimated to make up 75 percent of the workforce by the year 2030. As such, understanding millennials, how to interview them, how to hire them, and the impact they can have on a professional community is a key component of business success.

Millennials tend to have higher expectations about their employment than do their parents’ generation, and many millennials who have obtained higher education—including master’s and professional degrees—may still be living at home, unsatisfied by employment options. This is an incredibly important thing to understand when hiring millennials – millennials need to be incentivized by purpose, opportunity, and salary.

What’s more, millennials—when surveyed—are more likely to say that they want an employer who is friendly. The interview should never be so intense or intimidating as to turn a millennial off to the job prospect.

During the hiring process, make sure you seek out millennials who are hard working, innovative, and productive. Ask questions such as: How will this job meet your expectations and personal interests? When have you shown commitment to bettering yourself or going above and beyond? Can you give me a specific example of a time where you demonstrated ingenuity?

Millennials can add value to the workforce, but they can also have their limitations. When interviewing and hiring millennials, consider the above characteristics and look for potential employees who meet your company’s needs.