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Interview Questions To Ask Millennials

Every employer should adequately prepare for an interview.  This includes researching the candidate on social media, reviewing their resume and cover letter, and preparing a list of questions to ask during the interview.  But when interviewing a millennial or Generation Y candidate, you will want to ensure that you give them the best possible situation to shine and showoff their skills and expertise.

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are typically individuals born between 1981 to 1996.  They are the generation that immediately follows Generation X and precedes Generation Z.  The Millennial generation has received some notorious attention and generalizations, including being called lazy, selfish, and not loyal.  In addition, these generalizations extend to assuming all Millennials are the same, that they want participation trophies, and that they are complacent.

These characteristics and generalizations could not be further from the truth.  The Millennial generation has contributed significantly to the economy and towards a more just and prudent future.  They are also the generation that experienced life before the mass adoption of the internet and have had to learn how to navigate this new world.

When interviewing a Millennial candidate, you should be sure to focus on their strengths and experiences.  They are a unique generation and have shown their prowess and ability to navigate the technological shifts that have occurred.  These strengths can be especially useful and helpful in your business and on your team.

  1. What is loyalty to you?

Many Millennials grew up with the Great Recession and financial collapse occurring during their teenage years.  Many of them saw family members and friends lose their homes, their cars, and their savings.  They are wary of trusting employers and businesses, many of whom they believe do not reciprocate the loyalty their employees show.

By asking them what loyalty is to them, you’ll be able to get a better sense of what they are looking for in a job and a career.  You’ll be able to reassure them of the employer’s commitment to their employees and staff and show examples of how the employer was loyal to their staff.

  1. What hours are you most productive at?

The workplace is changing rapidly.  Many companies are opting to allow employees to work from home permanently and are offering more flexible scheduling.  This scheduling and work from home opportunities have been shown to increase employee satisfaction and morale. 

By asking this question, you are showing the candidate that you are in tune with a changing reality and have flexible options available for your staff.  This will also help you to attract the brightest and most capable candidates.

  1. Have you ever been passed up for a promotion or award? How did you feel and what did you do about it?

While we don’t believe in the generalizations that have been labeled on Millennials, you will still want to do your due diligence.  By asking this question, you are looking to see that the candidate understands that they may not win every award or receive a promotion each year.

  1. How do you see an employee-employer relationship?

Employee-employer relationships are critical to the success of a company.  Frayed, broken, and distrustful relationships between the parties can be detrimental to the health and success of a company.  However, employer-employee relationships are sensitive issues, which must be delicately maneuvered. Ensuring that the candidate understands this relationship and the implicit hierarchy will ensure a positive, healthy working environment.

  1. Do you find purpose in your work and in this industry?

Many Millennials look to find purpose and a sense of doing good in their work.  This trend has been beneficial in the push for more responsible, ethical actions by large and small companies alike.  Asking the candidate this question helps you to better prepare for their being on the team.  If they are looking to make impactful, purposeful changes, you can help to guide them in the workplace to do so accurately.

  1. Can you tell me about a time you had to handle a difficult, irate, or upset customer?

You want to make sure that there is no sense of entitlement in the candidate.  This isn’t specific to Millennials only and may be important to ask across the board.  Look to see how the candidate would handle an irate or upset customer and the specific steps they would take to handle and resolve the situation.

  1. Have you ever disagreed with your manager? What did you do and how did you handle it?

Disagreements between colleagues, coworkers, and managers can occur in the workplace.  However, understanding how to handle and navigate these disagreements ensures that everyone is heard, and a unified decision is made on how to move forward.  This question is useful to try to understand how the candidate would handle disagreements and to ensure that they do not feel entitled to their way every time.

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