Hiring millennials for older generations can seem like communicating with another species. Our relationships to our employers, technology, as well as traditional forms of reputation-building are drastically different than the habits and values of our predecessors. Need some direction on how to properly screen your millennial candidates? Here’s a few pointers, from a certified millennial herself.
Screening our credit might not be accurate.
According to the internet, we’ve killed a lot of things like beer, hotels, and light yogurt. It turns out another thing we’re good at killing is our own credit, but our affinity for avocado toast is not to blame. We really don’t value our credit as much as older generations do. Why? Over 43% of us have bad credit, and we are finding it harder to engage with the things that build it in the first place. We rent tiny spaces instead of saving for a downpayment, we flock to cities where public transportation saves us from making payments on cars, and we tend to avoid credit cards out of fear of getting into more debt on top of our already-crippling student loans. While we would love for our credit scores to open doors for us, we’ve gotten on just fine without putting a premium on them.
Our biggest challenge is convincing employers that a debt-ridden credit history is actually quite normal for us, so unless you're hiring for a position that specifically involves financial management, credit history likely has very little effect on our job performance Whether that shift in attitude comes back to bite us in the butt (and regardless of whose fault that is), we millennials are now the largest chunk of the US labor force...so you’re kind of stuck with us, credit scores included.
Traditional screening methods take a really long time.
It’s no secret that millennials are obsessed with innovation. Many of us proudly work for disruptive tech companies, so we have to ask, why does screening still take forever? Background checks can sometimes take over two weeks to clear. That’s an entire pay period that we could have started onboarding, training, and working for you (not to mention that paycheck could have paid our rent). This frustrates us, especially when there is way more relevant information out there to be had.
I guarantee you’ll learn more about us by checking faster, more realistic indicators of our personal and professional behavior. Since most of us have robust social media presences across multiple platforms, it make the most sense to screen our online behavior rather than our payment histories. We want to work, you want us to work—what’s the hold-up?
We don’t mind if you look at our social media. Really.
Since we're on the subject on social media...In all the conversations I've had with other millennial professionals, no one seems to mind that social media screening is a growing trend. In fact, they kind of expect it from companies that are focused on workplace culture. Remember, we grew up parallel to the development of social media, so we’re really not that fragile when it comes to being asked about the things we say or do publicly online. On top of that, social media screening seems attractive to us because it grants us more protections (as long as it's done legally).
For example, proper social screening doesn't look at our selfie habits or the amount of wine we drink in a night (which is so much, btw), but rather ensures that candidates are not behaving in ways that could threaten or demean fellow employees.
So if you're a not-millennial who wants to hire millennials and you've made it this far, thanks for listening! There's nothing we like more than knowing that our concerns have been heard. In short, credit screening is weird for most of us, we're uncomfortable with how slow regular screening is, and we'd really appreciate it if you based your hiring decisions off of real-world criteria for job fitness. Happy Hiring!