Human Resources
 min read

7 Questions You Should Ask When Interviewing Millennials

7 questions you should ask when interviewing millennials which have a world of new age knowledge (powered by the internet). Most have strong opinions and are generally willing to share their visions and strategies.

Millennials form a large part of the 21st-century workforce, with roughly 35 million people employed in the US alone. The number is expected to rise as Gen Y folks take over newer and more expansive job roles swaying away from traditional jobs. They are also seen initiating startups and taking a step into entrepreneurship bringing a new dynamic to the corporate and business sector. They are charged, passionate, and make powerful contributions to an organization, given that employers can identify their skills and make the best use of it.

This identification process takes place right during the interview when employers should strive to know their candidate well and see what they bring to the table. Note though that traditional questions of “tell me about yourself” or “What are your hobbies” don’t cut it anymore. Millennials have a world of new age knowledge (powered by the internet). Most have strong opinions and are generally willing to share their visions and strategies. Interviewing them effectively is the key to finding the right person for the right job. So, what questions should you ask millennials? Here are a few.

Tap into the Personality of the Millennial Employee

If you want to know whether the personality of the employee matches with your organization, then ask them questions about work ethics, leadership, management, and their working style. Now, of course, most of them will have prepared for standard questions with answers containing words as, ‘hard working, challenging environment, bringing change,’ etc. But these are not the answers you are looking for; and if you want the right answers, you need to ask the right questions! Be candid and encourage them to share their thoughts on:

  • What is their ideal work schedule and what do they think about work hours?
  • What is their definition of commitment and passion? What makes them committed to a company, an organization or a goal?
  • Discuss three life goals that they think are achievable within the next three years.

You can even take the personal conversation route where you ask them questions completely irrelevant to the work or the position just to get their true selves out. Ask them about their favorite book, their favorite fictional character or even someone they look up to. The point is, you need to know them more and it’s wise to invest this kind of time into a candidate so you can pick the right person. Many companies stick to age old questions that do nothing to give an insight into the candidate, and so they end up hiring the wrong people. Take out an hour to know your candidate better and you will be saving your company a great deal of trouble.

Are They Willing to Handle Pressure, Feedbacks, and Criticism?

Most millennial employees are sensitive to failure, pressure, feedback, and criticism. Why so? Because they’ve been raised with the notion that they are special, there is no failure, and even if they are failures, they are rewarded nevertheless. They don’t generally receive negative feedback or harsh attitude from teachers or parents, and they seem to falter when their efforts are not mightily appreciated. Once these youngsters come to the workforce though, they realize that pressure and criticism are part of the package. People will reject them, confine them, and may not even give them the importance they are seeking and this results in constant job hops. So it’s important employers enable millennials to understand that criticism and feedback are part of growing professionally. Once you ask them how they handle pressure or criticism and in what situations, you might get some very revealing answers about who they are and what they are able to cope up with.

Their Job Expectations

Ask the candidate their expectations of the job and what they think the challenges to their role would be. Talk to them about their expertise and what they think they can do to help you achieve the results you want. Discuss with them the people aspect of the job rather than just the technical aspects. They are good at what they do, which is why you are talking to them but are they good at handling multiple personalities type and are they able to work in a team? If they say they are a team-player, ask them what do they think that means. Ask them what part of being in a team do they like and dislike the most. Millennials usually don’t like sharing the glory, and if they have a bit of a vanity, then it helps to know what they expect during the interview.

Ask their Opinion About Popular Beliefs

Most popular beliefs we have today would get our older generations shaking their heads in disappointment and shock. What was that about, ‘quit your job and travel,’ or who thinks, ‘follow your dreams,’ is the best advice? Ask them a few questions about popular beliefs and you’ll know whether the person in front of you is a dreamer, a realist, a pragmatist or an idealist. These are important personality types to determine because if the job is a bore that requires a lot of calculations and the person is more comfortable with poetry and art, then you might have the wrong match. Of course these are just speculations, but the impact of these assumptions lies in the long run - if the job is repetitive or non-innovative in nature then can a highly passionate and ambitious individual be confined so mercilessly? Shouldn’t someone with more perseverance take up the job? That’s why knowing what a person’s opinion about popular beliefs is a window of sorts into their true potential and thought process.

Talk About their Previous Experiences and Challenges They Faced

This part is a tad bit tricky as you don’t want them to give standard and guarded responses. They may tell you it’s all great and they loved what they did, but if that is so, then why did they leave? The answer to which would be a better opportunity or greener pastures, but you need to know beyond that. Discuss their roles in deep detail. Ask them:

  • What did they love most about their previous jobs?
  • What did they dislike the most and how did they try to overcome it?
  • Their experience with people and office culture
  • Their challenges and conflict points

You don’t want them bad-mouthing the company - which they would seldom do - but you do need honest answers to know the culture they come from and how they can contribute to your organizational culture.

Ask them About Change

If there was one thing they could go back in time and change about themselves, their jobs, their ambition, their life or anything else, what would it be? Any three options. This is probably the part where you can get honest replies from the candidate. Not only will this show you if the candidate is a thinker, but will also reflect their intentions. The things we want to change in our past reflects our visions of the future, our present maturity, and the lessons we’ve learned. This is also a good way to judge the candidate’s capacity for solving problems and learning lessons from failures and misadventures.

Ask them about their Preferred Volunteership or Community Building Activity

The good thing about millennials is they generally love helping out and bringing social change to the world, thus they often volunteer for several causes. Although their volunteering might not have any connection with the job, it will certainly show you where their interest lies and how they have utilized their skills to perform in the volunteering role. If they have not yet been through a volunteering experience, ask them what their preference would be if you were to get them onboard with a community building or CSR activity. Discuss their potential for the task and check their passion level. You’ll know if the candidate wants to spend a Sunday at the disco or at a charity walk.

These questions may seem extensive and perhaps difficult to ask through a 1-hour interview, but the point is, you need to do what you can to know your candidate better. Millennials job hop the most because two months into the job they discover that they were never a really good fit for this kind of job, so if you don’t want your employees to quit every two or six months, you need to know the kind of person you are hiring for the job.

Jose Leon
Verified writer

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