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Dear Recruiter: A Candid Response to the Top 5 Millennial Stereotypes

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Across the recruiting industry, there has been a near-constant discussion about millennials in the workplace. Organizations have spent a lot of time and money trying to understand the best ways to connect with them—as they should since millennials will take up about 75% of the entire workforce by 2025.

However, many recruiters and organizations are hesitant about what’s to come. They’re afraid to take chances with millennial hires and avoid it altogether. While it’s true that culture fits are half the pie, it’s possible that this millennial crisis is due to a simple misunderstanding—one that costs countless recruiters and hiring managers time and money.

We’ve written many blogs about millennials, all supported by hard data and facts, but emotional connections to those facts make them all the more powerful.

The Honest Truth about Millennials in the Workplace

That’s why today, I’m going to respond frankly with some personal stories. Following these stories are honest recommendations for recruiters and hiring managers.

I understand that, like millennials, recruiters and hiring managers are all different. So throughout this piece, I'm more so speaking to the ones who govern their decisions off of stereotypes.

I also recognize that these stories are anecdotal evidence supporting the latter side of this argument, making this mostly an opinion piece. As such, I’ll leave it up to you for interpretation and encourage your feedback—whether it’s good or bad.

I’d like to provide some context: I’m nearly 26-years old, graduated college at 23, and have since fallen victim to almost all of the following stereotypes about millennials. Initially, I didn’t mind; I found humor in it. However, as one could imagine, a degrading generalization of 75 million people can wear on a person.

Let’s just jump in.

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1. Millennials are lazy

If by lazy you mean enjoying an extra hour of sleep every day, wearing clothes that make sitting at a desk for 8 hours more comfortable and dreading a 2-hour meeting that can take away from pressing work, yes, I’m lazy.

But if by lazy this stereotype implies that I don’t want to dominate the workplace, collaborate and create with an innovative team, and trump my competition? No, I’m not lazy.

Recommendations to recruiters and hiring managers

Please take into consideration that we offer unique perspectives despite operating on a different system. Will our delivery be a little wonky? Maybe, but we see things through a new lens. We shouldn’t be punished for that.

Try not to be too hung up on the “this is the way things have always been” mantra. It’s time to accept that just because we’re shaking things up doesn’t make us lazy.

2. Millennials aren’t loyal

Millennials don’t tolerate certain types of behavior like those in previous generations. And on behalf of all millennials, I will not apologize for that.

I have to say; I do fit this (assumed) mold: in the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers, my resume says that I’m not loyal. I am a "job hopper." But, here’s the truth:

I will not remain at a company where CEOs demoralize and humiliate employees and blame that behavior on a particular management style. I'm 100% willing to face unemployment and lose a competitive salary if it means I'm leaving a toxic work environment.

I will not remain at a place of employment where I’m not challenged, learning new things, or growing professionally.

Surprisingly, that’s where I don’t quite fit the mold. Research says that millennials put a higher priority on contributing to the common good and helping others. I, however, prioritize my professional growth and development.

So please, stop assuming we’re all the same.

Recommendations to recruiters and hiring managers

Hardly ever are things as simple as they seem. Next time you come across a resume or interview a job hopper, think about the possibility that she was professionally stagnant. Why penalize her for staying when her mind felt dormant?

And don't be weirded out or skeptical if she dishes the real scoop about why she left. After all, you're the one who asked. We don't like feeling like we have to fib a little to make it to the next step. Plus, you can learn a lot about how someone handles both personal and professional conflict when you're open to honest answers.

3. Millennials don’t want to work very hard

During my first job out of college, I was the talk of the office. After writing for 5 hours straight, there would be times where I’d chat with some friends, grab a coffee from the kitchen, and briefly hop on Instagram.

Sometimes if I felt uncomfortable at my desk, I’d go to one of the big comfy chairs around the office and sit cross-legged with my computer on my lap. One time, I literally heard someone say, “If she wants to sit like that, she might as well go home.”

I was thinking, “Duh, don’t you?”

I was appalled that by taking a brain break or getting more comfortable was a declaration that I wasn’t working hard. I never missed a deadline, I never failed to network and I built relationships in the community for the sake of the company, and not once did I refuse more responsibilities. And also, like, why were the chairs even there if you're going to be weird about it?

Recommendations to recruiters and hiring managers

Veer away from finding someone who checks every single box. Be open to varying creative processes and personalities. If a candidate has a proven record that she gets her work done, gets along with her peers, is learning and growing at every job, what’s the problem?

4. Millennials are so entitled

You’re right, some of us are. And honestly, I was. I was a huge brat. I was eager to learn, but I did a really bad job communicating that.

I reached a point where I knew I needed to improve my behavior at work. The only way to do that was to ask for some raw feedback from a previous employer. Let's just say she brought me way back down to reality. Unfortunately, receiving this type of honest feedback is few and far between. In fact, even asking for feedback isn’t all that common. Maybe that's because millennials are afraid of rejection. I know I was, but I can't speak for everyone.

Recommendations to recruiters and hiring managers

If a candidate flops an interview and asks for advice, spare some time and give her the advice. She wouldn’t be asking if it wasn’t important. Moving someone along through the hiring process is a step further to a big life change. Not moving forward with the hiring process is also a game-changer. Keep the ball rolling.

When employers, recruiters, and hiring managers invest in people—you know, take the time to practice patience and build a relationship—it can transform someone’s entire life.

Not only did the feedback I received change my outlook, but it molded me into an employee that an employer wanted to work with; a person who was selfless and devoted to her team and the company’s success; an employee who offers real value.

All because someone agreed to get coffee with me and lay it all out on the table.

5. Millennials demand promotions too quickly

Is it possible that there’s a misunderstanding between salary ranges and promotion and bonus structures?

The answer is yes. It’s actually like, probably what’s happening. Despite the perception that we’re spoiled and entitled, we know we don’t know everything, so sometimes our expectations don’t make a lot of sense.

Recommendations to recruiters and hiring managers

Different companies have varying structures for promotions, bonuses, and so on. When you’re talking with a candidate, make sure you have this information on-hand. Be as transparent as possible to avoid any confusion down the line if and when she’s hired.

If after she’s been informed of the structure and still “demands” a promotion, then you’ve got another problem on your hands.

Millennial Recruiting in a Nutshell

I’m sure you’ve noticed a common theme: be adaptive, understanding, personable, and open to new ideas and fresh perspectives. Be open to the fact that things are different these days and that’s okay. Change is scary, but a lot of the time change happens for the better.

So, from a millennial to a recruiter: don't assume we're all the same and stop judging. Assumptions can be crippling. Be clear about expectations from the get-go to avoid confusion. As long as we deliver a finished product, the way in which we get there isn't important. What is important, however, is the way the world is shifting. So stay up to speed, and make personal improvements (because this is definitely a personal problem) to help move this industry forward. Otherwise, you're only hurting yourself.
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Sam Sandler
Sam Sandler
Sam is a copywriter and strategist at Qualigence International. She enjoys exercising, eating pizza, and long walks through her Netflix queue.

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