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Millennials in the Workplace

FOR HIRING MANAGERS: Many businesses are hesitant to hire millennials because of a reputation they have gotten as lazy or uncaring workers. For businesses looking to hire young talent, this article gives suggestions on how to find the best young employees to bring in as a part of their teams. The author covers the importance of looking beyond college degrees, taking work history into account, offering competitive pay, and she suggests looking for young freelancers as potential recruits.


Millennials have acquired a strange dual reputation in the workforce. On one hand, being products of a highly technologically savvy generation, millennial workers often have skill sets that are completely foreign to older workers but which are vitally important to modern business. On the other, however, many businesses have hired the wrong workers from this generation and have found that they were unprepared for the responsibilities that were assigned to them, giving millennials a reputation of being lazy workers. If you want to find the best young talent for your business, you need to learn to find the millennial employees who will work hard and deliver only the best for you and your business. Here are a few tips for finding the top young employees.

Millennials in the US Workforce
Millennials in a Workplace-Related Event

Look Beyond the College Degree

For many decades, the kinds of jobs that someone could get were determined largely by the degree (or lack thereof) that that person held. In the modern world, however, this idea is quickly becoming archaic. While college education is still an excellent way to learn relevant job skills, it is no longer the only way. Many talented potential employees in the millennial generation have learned their skills on their own, so don't make your hiring judgment based solely on a candidate's formal education. Hire based on skills, not on degrees.

Pay Especially Close Attention to Work History

Some, though certainly not all, millennials go into the job market right out of college never having held a job before. While this shouldn't automatically disqualify them from joining your business team, finding an employee with a favorable work history is very important. Ideally, you should look for someone who was able to put some of the skills that they learned in their studies to work in a real-world context at the same time. Many colleges offer work programs that match students with businesses that offer jobs or internships in area related to various fields of study. Finding a millennial worker who has put his or her knowledge to work in the real world is critical, as it shows you that that person's knowledge and skills are practical, rather than just theoretical.

Don't be Afraid to Pay Well and
Offer Competitive Benefits

Following four or more years of college, millennials are often frustrated to discover that the businesses in their chosen fields are trying to hire them for unrealistically low wages. A large part of this is driven by the common perception that many younger workers are lazy and so may not be worth high wages. However, you can turn this to your own advantage when it comes to hiring millennials. If the position you are offering in your business offers decent pay and real benefits, it will attract highly skilled millennial employees who are discouraged by the lack of competitive pay that most companies will offer them.

Look for Freelancers

While having a freelance contractor working for you may not be part of your business model, do not rule out the value of offering freelance work as a recruiting tool for driven young workers. Many enterprising millennials, when they cannot find a job in their field, create one instead by offering their services as freelance workers. If you want to find hard-working, talented young people to bring into your company, these freelancers can be a great option. Hiring a freelancer to do one task for you gives you a chance to test him or her out as a worker. Afterwards, you can use that initial interaction as a platform from which to recruit that freelancer into your organization if you are satisfied with the work he or she has already done for you.

The Bottom Line

Separating the most talented young workers from the crowd can be difficult, but will also be a great boon to your business if done properly. Finding young workers can help you to keep your business up to date and bring in the best talent of the new generation. By learning how to find great millennial workers, you can open your business up to a whole new generation of leadership and innovation.

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