The Millennial workforce tends to get a bad rap. This latest and youngest generation of American workers is touted as overly confident, often impatient and generally entitled. And while that may be true for certain individuals, Millennials are typically hardworking, naturally entrepreneurial and can often make the best hires when you find the right fit.
According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey of 2014, Millennial workers currently make up roughly 37 percent of the workforce, and this percentage will grow to roughly 75 percent by 2025. Clearly this isn’t a demographic to overlook – but rather embrace – when hiring.
And here are three qualities oft-observed in Millennials that make them ideal hires for a startup.
1. They’re allergic to corporate work environments
Millennial job candidates just don’t get the 9-to-5 mentality.
They're driven beyond the typical corporate culture of meeting minimum expectations and navigating office politics. When I interview anyone, I’m looking for evidence of that self-motivation and drive to do and be good for the company and our culture. Millennials are typically more concerned about culture and the positive social impact of a company, which means they actively participate in making the work environment and the services of the business better because they have a personal desire to make a difference.
Their highly engaged mindset not only makes the company better, but also has a significant, positive impact on a company’s customers as well.
2. They thrive in decentralized environments and flourish in cultures of innovation
The Millennial stereotype of being unmotivated is more myth than fact.
In fact, most Millennials I’ve encountered are highly motivated – just not strictly by cash. They’re seeking to learn and be creative, and they’re highly interested in personal and professional development. That can work in a startup’s favor when you have plenty of opportunity but not necessarily large salaries to offer.
Millennials tend to embody and value servant leadership; they understand innovation happens at any position in the company; they value collaboration more than hierarchy. Millennial candidates with a no-blame-and-no-credit mentality have always proved eager to take personal accountability for their own success and the company’s success overall. Those same candidates are likely to be open to constructive feedback and will be driven by innovation and change, which is great for a fast-growing startup.
3. They embrace a growth mindset
Today’s Millennial worker has personal passions and pursuits that embody a cross-section of work skills.
I’ve interviewed graphic designers who are teaching themselves to code, engineers who study online marketing funnels and real estate underwriters who have dabbled in corporate operations. The average Millennial worker simply doesn’t want to limit themselves to one box of skills or interests, which makes for amazing hires and additions to the team dynamic.
When I interview, I like to hear from candidates who have attended conferences, seminars and other personal development events that don’t necessarily have a direct correlation to their career. Millennial candidates often display a history of personal growth and their list of personal achievements are indicative of a constant learning mindset that thrives on challenge.
Even extracurricular hobbies and achievements such as sports, running marathons and other challenging activities indicate that a person likes to push their mental and physical limits and are important success indicators prevalent in Millennials.
While Millennials are often derided as being unmotivated or unwilling members of today’s workforce, you’d do well to move past this myth and recognize the value they bring.
But then again, take what I say with a grain of salt. After all, I’m a Millennial, too.