Interviewing Millennials: Three Things to Consider

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Millennials are the largest generation in workplaces today, and their numbers are growing as more Baby Boomers retire, so it is vital to understand how to interview them correctly. Asking candidates between 24 and 39 years old questions that help them highlight their skills and work priorities will help you identify the most suitable applicants. See examples of good interview approaches and things to avoid during interviews with millennials.


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Examples of executing excellent interviews with millennials

Excellent interviews with millennials are those that help interviewers and candidates learn whether the candidate would be a good match for the company’s position. Asking the right questions is crucial for extracting the information interviewers need to accurately judge candidates. 

Millennials may spend more time on theoretical studies at university and less time gaining practical experience than older generations. This means they can often lack the soft skills older workers possess. Interviewers should take time to ask candidates about soft skills with questions like the following.


  • What have you done previously that will help you in this job? This question lets millennial candidates show how all their education and experiences may transfer to the role. 
  • Have you ever had to handle a challenging customer or colleague? If so, what did you do? This question tests interpersonal skills, which many millennials need to develop due to increased reliance on digital communication. 
  • How do you get news of the world? Many jobs require applicants to be curious and informed about the world around them. This question tests whether applicants look beyond social media and pop culture websites. 

Millennials tend to leave jobs if they do not feel the position or company satisfies their needs. Asking pertinent questions like these at the interview stage can help you find candidates that will become long-term employees.


  • Have you ever had to wear a uniform or work at a time that was inconvenient for you? How did you handle that? These questions test whether the candidate is willing and able to make compromises for a job. You could tailor this question to ask about different compromises they may have to make for your role.
  • Have you ever been overlooked for an award, promotion or some other kind of recognition you felt you deserved? How did you handle that? Most millennials are used to praise and recognition. These questions test whether candidates are resilient enough to carry on, even when they are not rewarded. 

Millennials often have a different working style to older employees. Ask the following questions to learn more about how individual candidates work better with them if they are hired. You can then determine whether your company could deliver on their expectations.


  • What kind of relationship do you think you will have with your supervisor? This question lets you gauge whether the candidate has realistic expectations that fit your corporate culture. You may then explain how your office works if the candidate’s expectations differ greatly.
  • What would you expect a good day at work to look like? This question lets you compare what the applicant expects the job to be to in reality. You can then explain how the actual job may differ from their perceptions and gauge their reaction to this.
  • How do you prefer receiving feedback? As well as letting you know how a potential employee wants to hear from you, this question also tells candidates you will evaluate their performance and share your views about it. This can be unnerving for some millennials who are unused to hearing critical feedback.

Read more: Best Interview Questions to Ask Candidates


Three things to avoid when interviewing millennials

Knowing what to avoid is just as important as knowing what to ask millennials to find the best candidate. Make sure you consider these three things when interviewing millennial applicants:


  • Beware of stereotypes: Millennials are aware of the stereotypes about their generation and are often sensitive to people that judge them quickly. You will get the best from your candidates if you are sensitive to what they might need during an interview without assuming too much about their character.
  • Phrase your questions right: Most millennials want a chance to have a conversation with you during the interview, so make sure you phrase your questions to open up a dialogue. Open-ended questions give them the opportunity to share their experience and perspectives better than closed questions. Encouraging your candidates to ask questions will also impress millennials.
  • Mention benefits beyond money: Millennials may not be as motivated by salary as older workers, so you should emphasize other benefits when speaking to millennials. Mentioning volunteer opportunities, flexible working conditions and other non-financial benefits shows your company cares about more than money and is therefore aligned to millennial values.

Read more: Phone Interview Questions to Ask Candidates


Tips about interviewing millennials

Millennials typically have different values, priorities and attitudes to older generations of workers. These differences require interviewers to adjust their techniques to get the most from millennial candidates. Tailor questions to consider millennial candidates’ experience and job preferences to learn whether they are the best applicants for your roles. Make sure you also give millennials the opportunity to ask you their own questions to help them determine whether your company is a good fit for them.


Read more: Job Offer Letter Format with Template


Millennial interviewing FAQ

Consider the following answer to a common question about interviewing millennials.


How do millennials interview? 

Millennials often approach interviews differently than older applicants, asking lots of questions to determine whether the company is the right fit for them. This approach can be confronting for hiring managers who are not used to dealing with millennials, but ultimately it leads millennials to the best company for them. Millennials often find talking about themselves and their needs natural. They can be unlikely to admit weaknesses without probing, so interviewers must ask the right questions to learn about any gaps in knowledge or experience.


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