As a hospitality student, and a millennial, I frequently hear discussions about how millennials behave. It is indeed intriguing, and somewhat entertaining, to see the labels being placed upon millennials when you are one of the subjects being studied. But from time to time, I just want to say, “that does not sound right!” As my peers and I are going into the workplace soon, I would really like to “right some wrongs,” and answer a few questions about hiring us millennials.
What are we looking for in a workplace?
1. Synergy with the company’s identity.
Imagine that, instead of a company, we are talking about a person. Isn’t it extremely important to know the core values they hold, their personality and the way they are with other people before you commit to a long-term friendship? For example, millennials were raised to be environmentally conscious and socially responsible. Who we work for in a way represents who we are; therefore, an unethical company would find it difficult to attract responsible millennials even if they offer a more appealing monetary compensation package.
2. Professional development opportunities.
I understand that many recruiters are concerned about our commitment and loyalty because we switch jobs more often than previous generations. And, it seems, millennials also have a reputation for being entitled and not willing to work our way up from the bottom. The truth is, we are not reluctant to work hard. What we care about is whether we can see a clear career path and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Am I being cultivated so I can go further? We desire to be valued. We aspire to make a difference. We want to be a part of something bigger than us.
We have seen our parents working in jobs they do not really enjoy for their whole lives, only to regret that they did not have the courage to do something about it. Some of our peers may have found their passion at this early stage of their career, but not everybody is so lucky. Job-hopping is more like a way of figuring ourselves out. Therefore, we would really appreciate a personalized program and an experienced mentor to guide us. Show that you value us, the millennials, and your company is willing to help us achieve our ambitions, and we are ready to help with yours.
3. Work-life balance.
Among all the things we value, work-life balance deserves a separate paragraph. Personally, I believe in hard work and I stretch myself to do my best. Many of my friends are the same. But, we also believe that by working hard, we deserve to have downtime to spend with family and friends, time to work out, time to travel, etc. To sum up, we need a life besides work. Are we demanding? Perhaps, compared to our parents. But, are we lazy? I argue the opposite; because, I believe, this set-up makes us more productive and “sustainable.”
4. Efficient and effective hiring process.
When we search for jobs, we go online. Companies should utilize all social media platforms, content must be up-to-date, and the webpage should be user-friendly. An ill-managed website or social media account will greatly affect a millennial applicant’s interest to apply.
And, then there is job description. How about describing a typical day at work, possibly with a video, rather than a vague listing of responsibilities and duties? How about giving a salary range for the position? Let’s not pretend. Money is important, and applicants are dying to know if they will need to move to a smaller apartment if they work for your company.
Now I am all excited for interviews. First round… waiting anxiously for two weeks. Second round… waiting for one month, grumpily perhaps, and still no idea if I even get a third interview. Alright, I will just pick the other company who offered me a job right after three exciting eye-opening interviews in a day. And guess what? They even gave me post-interview feedback! My point is, communicate in a timely manner and do not drag out the hiring process longer than needed. How you hire shows a lot about your company to prospective employees. You certainly do not want the best applicants to be stolen by your competitors, do you?
Another difficulty millennials often encounter is being rejected due to lack of experience. I understand that experience is highly valued in our industry; but, I also believe that people are worth the time, the money and the effort. Invest the time to train individuals with potential to accomplish more and they will be motivated to learn new things.
Although, many of my fellow millennials will resonate with what I said above, there will be divergence. The single most shared characteristic we have is that we believe everyone is entitled to different traits. The only ultimate hiring rule is to listen to each individual, respect them and provide options. Because, at the end of the day, it is individuals, not generations, that constitute the workforce.
Sunny Wang is a graduate assistant at the HFTP Americas Research Center and is currently pursing her masters degree in hospitality management at the University of Houston. Wang was the vice president of the HFTP Polytechnic University student chapter. She is also the first recipient of the John Cahill Hospitality Technology Research Assistantship established by HFTP at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, University of Houston.