The “Right Fit:” How to Find the Best Millennial for the Job
Most hiring managers have at least one “good on paper” story. It’s the classic tale of hiring an employee who seemed like they were perfect for the job but ended up fitting in like a square peg in a round hole. This person, while they were smart and talented, just wasn’t right for the role and didn’t gel with the company’s culture. And the resulting situation wasn’t fun for anyone.
Considering most job seekers are on their best behavior during the hiring process, it can be tough to tell the difference between a right and wrong hire. And how can HR accurately assess Millennial candidates who come to the table with limited professional experience and shorter work histories?
There’s no fool-proof method, but there are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of snagging a new hire who will complement your team.
First, Know Thyself
What does your workplace value? What gets prioritized? What type of personality thrives in your company’s environment? The answers to these questions can help you define your workplace’s culture, which is something you need to fully understand before hiring anyone. Take the time to think this through, and engage all relevant stakeholders. Any assertions on company culture are meaningless if they don’t have total buy-in.
Target Recruiting Efforts
While blasting a position opening to every general job board on the internet can get you boat-loads of applications, it’s probably not going to deliver you the best pool of candidates. In other words, a less-than-thoughtful approach to recruiting will attract less-than-thoughtful job seekers. More discerning candidates – especially search-savvy Millennials – are cutting through the clutter by using sites that are targeted by factors like industry, experience level or geography. So, get specific. And use the tenets of your company’s culture to tailor both the job description and your recruiting efforts.
Flip the Script
For the most part, job interviews have a template: introductions, an overview of the company/job opening, and then a brief question and answer period. You can learn quite a bit from this kind of standardized interview, but you can often learn more from a conversation that’s less structured.
Try asking the interviewee to tell you a story. Give them a prompt like “Tell me about a time that everything went wrong and you had to fix it” or “What’s your version of the best day ever?” Then shut up and let them talk. This kind of exercise can tell you a lot about a person’s communication skills, confidence, sense of humor and creativity, all of which are tough to gauge from a resume and cover letter.
After a second-round group of candidates emerges, ask everyone to complete an assignment. This can be something like a presentation about your industry or a sample post for your company’s blog.
Incorporating this tactic into your hiring process is helpful on a couple accounts. First of all, it will weed out the candidates who either aren’t serious about the position or are too lazy to go the extra mile. Secondly, you’ll get a small sample of each candidate’s work and, just as important, their workstyle. Were they rattled by the request, or did they take it in stride? Did they meet the deadline? Did they ask clarifying questions before beginning their work? A work sample is just one more factor that can lead you to the right hiring decision.
All of this being said, the wrong fit may still happen from time to time. Human resources is not an exact science. If you do find yourself in a “good on paper” scenario that’s gone bad, don’t beat yourself up. Take what you’ve learned from the experience and use it find the right fit for your next job opening.
Jenessa Connor is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and young adult author. If you don’t find her in front of her computer, check the local movie theaters and restaurants, Prospect Park or the gym at CrossFit 718.