How to Successfully Interview a Millennial

According to a recent article on the TTI Success Insights® website, retention is irrelevant. The writer further elaborates, “Nowadays, individuals are hiring a company to hone their skills, achieve their personal goals and fulfill their dreams. If you are still hiring based on resume and traditional interviews, you might want to try something new.”

millennial woman in professional attire

Something new.

A non-traditional approach.

Asking similar interview questions, but from a different perspective.

Making the candidate’s skills, goals and dreams your primary focus.

Discerning whether the candidate’s motivators are a good match for both the job and the company.

The Standard Interview

Here’s how a normal interview might progress . . .

Tell me about yourself. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? How will your references describe you? What motivates you? Share 2 or 3 of your greatest accomplishments thus far. What type of work do you find most satisfying? In your research, what have you found most interesting about our company? Why do you want this job? What are a few of your long-term career goals? The salary for this job is $$$. Are you interested? When could you start if we decide to move forward?

interview - no faces  - man & woman

The Millennial Interview

Here’s one idea of how an interview with a millennial might progress . . .

Say, “I am very impressed with your resume and skills.” Then pursue the line of questioning suggested in Section A, "How to Address Millennials' Skills". (see below)

Say, “While there is always more to learn, your current skill-set is certainly impressive. I wonder, however, if this job will meet your expectations and sufficiently challenge you.” Then follow the line of questioning in Section B, "How to Address Millennials' Goals".

Ask the candidate about their level of interest in the job thus far. Then follow the line of questioning in Section C, "How to Address Millennials' Dreams".

A) How to Address Millennials’ Skills

1. Know your candidates’ skills and capabilities as thoroughly as possible, and be prepared to discuss them. Understand the limited or extensive range of those skills. If it is not obvious, ask relevant questions.

skills - competence - growth - experience - learning

2. Look at more than just their resume. Check out LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media outlets also. You may discover additional skills not mentioned on their professional resume.

3. Be aware of potential training opportunities available with your company. The more details you can share with a candidate, the more trust will be established. Additionally, many businesses have learned that providing (carefully chosen) mentors for new employees can be extremely helpful in the training process.

Ask the following:

  • Do your current skills fall short of your personal or professional aspirations in any way?

  • How do you anticipate this job helping you improve your skill-set or craft?

  • Are there any skills which you are particularly passionate about learning or improving?

B) How to Address Millennials’ Goals

1. Discuss any new skills, computer programs and experiences to which the candidate will be exposed.

2. Know what previous employees in this position loved about their job, then convey those inspiring aspects of the job to the candidate.

goal - man in suit - arrow graphic

Ask the following:

  • How do think this job might help you accomplish your extended career goals?

  • What life goal motivates you the most currently? (does not need to be work-related, just ask, and see where the conversation takes you)

C) How to Address Millennials’ Dreams

1. Make an effort to discover what unique gifts, traits, insights, skills and experiences they might bring to the table. You need to know what one thing stands out about this person in the eyes of his or her references.

2. Discuss personal motivation. Why? Because this is important insight for both the employer and employee to possess moving forward. The aforementioned article from TTI Success Insights® provides a brief overview of 12 different types of motivators which can help managers understand what drives their employees to act in particular ways. 

do what you love

The 12 driving forces/motivators include the following: 

  • Intellectual - all about truth, knowledge, learning

  • Instinctive - driven to make decisions based on intuition

  • Resourceful - motivated by efficiency and ROI

  • Selfless - willing to complete a task simply because it needs to be done

  • Harmonious - focused on the experience and balance, viewpoint is subjective

  • Objective - interested in the functionality of things in one's surroundings

  • Altruistic - being supportive ushers in personal satisfaction

  • Intentional - being helpful and willing to assist others, but with a specific purpose in mind

  • Commanding - all about status, recognition and control

  • Collaborative - being supportive with little need for recognition

  • Receptive - open-minded, interested in finding new ways to accomplish daily tasks

  • Structured - follows tried and true methods for accomplishing tasks

Review a sample 12 Driving Forces® (Motivators) report HERE. To learn more about these assessments/reports and how they can help you discern the type of candidate who would be the best match for your job and company, contact Brannon Professionals, an authorized TTISI® provider.

3. If at this point you see the candidate as a strong possibility for hire, go ahead and answer all those often unspoken but always relevant questions. Say, “If we offer and you accept this position, this is what you can expect." Be honest. They need a realistic idea of what all the job can offer them. Share specific information about salary (even if you must quote the minimum starting pay rate or a range of pay), benefits, perks, and career opportunities. Let them be excited about a potential job offer from your company.

Ask the following:

dream job signage - arrow pointing this way
  • What advantageous role do you think this job might play in helping you achieve your dream?

  • Explore the candidate’s strengths, outside interests, and volunteer or service project involvement. Try to establish solid connections between those passions and your company. This may lead to discussions regarding cross-training, leadership opportunities, or new company-wide initiatives.

  • Millennials have been exposed to so much more (especially regarding technology) than generations prior. Why not ask good questions to see what you might honestly learn from them and then (without taking unfair, uncompensated advantage) see how you might utilize their talents to accomplish more than simply the job at hand?

Traditional, Resume-Focused Interviews vs                Non-Traditional, Candidate-Focused Conversations

interviewing figures sitting in chairs

These are some ideas which may help you capture the interest of the very talented and passionate Millennial generation.

Explore. Candidate skills. Candidate goals. Candidate dreams. Candidate motivations.

This type of interview definitely requires some effort and a different focus, but the benefits can be extensive. And as I always say, asking even one of the above questions can provide insight which you might otherwise miss.

Try it. You may never want to return to those old standard interview questions again, not with any generation.