Posted on January 12, 2016

What Are the Best Interview Questions for Millennials?

Conducting interviews with recent graduates can make the generation gap feel more like a canyon. It can be tough to find common ground to get the ball rolling and even harder to know what to ask to get a detailed answer.

As evident by the millions of text messages they send every day, millennials do like to communicate (just maybe a bit more virtually than conversationally); however, they may not be as interested in answering the typical “where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?” questions. As the old saying goes, ask a clichéd question, get a clichéd answer.

So what's an HR professional to do? Try some of these tips for making the most of interviews with the biggest growing generation in the workplace.

Get on Their Level

When given the opportunity to share during interviews, millennials will open up. It’s important to engage with millennials on their interests and plans at the outset of the hiring process, but from a different angle than you may be used to.

You want to invite the younger generation to tell their story and speak about themselves honestly. There’s something to be learned about an applicant’s view of the future from having them talk a bit about what led them to this interview. Try asking, "was their last job helpful for their career journey or just a means to an end?"

This question is a way to get millennials to talk about how they envision their future without making them feel like they have to give a dishonest or sycophantic answer about your company or the position. Asking this question lets young interviewers know you understand that sometimes a job is just a job, and it provides a nice segue into discussing the job they’re applying for in those terms.

Appeal to Their Sense of Adventure

Millennials are a generation both more aware and more inclusive of diversity, not only with regard to people, but life experiences as well. They want to live a life reminiscent of an Apple commercial, full of interesting, unique pursuits, people, and places. And they’re certainly not afraid of the unknown.

Ask them to speak about a time they were in a completely unfamiliar situation and enjoyed it. Based on this answer, you can glean an applicant’s desire to branch out from the status quo. Would they thrive from experiencing varied responsibilities and locations with your company or would they rather have stability and consistency?

By and large, millennials are risk-takers who enjoy trying new things. They also tend to have a somewhat shorter attention span than their older peers. Not only are you getting a feel for how the applicant feels about plunging into the unknown, but you might be able to glean whether they are looking for a long-term or short-term solution.

Know Their Wide Array of Interests

This sentiment goes hand-in-hand with the last section: millennials like to experience new things and, by consequence, learn new things about themselves, the world, and the people around them. Make use of this characteristic by having them describe a talent of theirs not directly related to the position they’re applying for.

Even after college, millennials enjoy learning through social groups and activities, both face to face and virtual. Because our world is growing ever more connected, millennials are afforded more opportunities for interdisciplinary learning. Many millennials find new passions after college but may not consider how those interests could benefit their work life.

By finding hidden talents (and applications for those talents in your company), you can provide a more diverse and fulfilling experience for a millennial in your workplace and, perhaps, find a long-term fit for them within your business.

Millennials have energy, drive, and passion, and they want to find fulfilling work just like anyone else. Tailoring your interview style to them by letting it be more conversational and less rigid both helps them feel at ease and gives you real insight into whether they can be one of the building blocks for your company’s future.

Millennials may be becoming a dirty word to some, but there's no denying the need for strategies to engage every generation. Check out our employee engagement whitepaper or some of the articles below for more tips from Paycor!

Related articles:

Millennials: What Do They Really Want?
3 Tips for Managing Your Millennials
20 Facts You Need to Know About Millennials

Source: Chief Learning Officer