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4 Questions to Overcome ‘FOMO’: Fear of Millennials in the Office

Peak Sales Recruiting Eliot BurdettBy Eliot Burdett, CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting 

Just when we figured out what SMH and ROTF meant, we heard the phrase FOMO and were back to square one. Thanks to Google, we could find out that it meant the ‘fear of missing out.’

Ah, you must hand it to Millennials, they are a clever bunch. In fact, they are more than clever.

The Forbes 2016 billionaires list  is littered with brilliant, young entrepreneurs such as Evan Spiegel (Snapchat), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Daniel Fine, (Glass-U).

The impact of Millennials on the global economy and the way our society interacts is undeniable. While the business community has learned to embrace Millennials and their idiosyncrasies, some business leaders remain reticent when it comes to hiring Millennials. 

Several years ago, the knock of them was that they were ‘lazy’ and ‘spoiled.’ More recently, their loyalty has been called into question. And based on recent studies, the concern is not without merit.

Deloitte’s 2016 global Millennials survey reached out to 7,700 Millennials in 29 countries and found that a staggering two-thirds of them plan to leave their current organization by 2020. 

As the CEO of a company that helps world-class companies build their sales forces, we have learned that in some cases FOMO actually means ‘Fear of Millennials in the Office.’

Whether these fears are real or imaged is no longer relevant because they are antiquated.  With 83 million members, Generation Y now makes up the largest sector of the U.S. population and by 2025 will make up 75% of the workforce 

As with any generation, there will be strong candidates and bad apples.  The bottom line is that companies must learn to hire high-performing Millennials to succeed in a rapidly changing economy.

To help business leaders overcome FOMO, here are 4 questions to ask during the interview process:

1)      Have you ever been passed over for a promotion, how did you respond? Millennials are known as the “Trophy Generation.” They received plaques just for competing in the spelling bee, it did not matter if they won. A PWC study found that 41% of Millennials want to be recognized monthly compared to just 30% from other generations. Lee Caraher, author of Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making It Work at Work, said, “This question will show you whether they understand that everyone can’t win in everything and how resilient they are.”

For all their strengths, Millennials need to demonstrate they can overcome just as much adversity as the generations that preceded them.  This question will help you assess if the candidate has the intestinal fortitude to fight when the chips are down.

2)      What are your short and long-term career goals, and how do you plan on achieving them?  Gallup’s latest report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, revealed that 59% of Millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them, compared to 44% of Gen Xers and 41% of baby boomers. While previous generations primarily homed in on money, young candidates today want to know that there is career growth in their future. They want to know there is the chance to take on new and interesting projects that have a material impact on the company and its people. 

By asking a career focused question you can not only identify if the candidate has identified their career goals, but determine if they have been disciplined enough to invest the time and energy to map how these goals will be achieved. You can then compare these goals against your organization’s talent plan to see if there is alignment, thus reducing future turnover-rates.   

3)      Would you rather work in the office or at home? Technological advancements – many developed by Millennials — have given all of us more ability to work remotely than ever before.  In fact, nearly 70% of Millennials said an option to work remotely would increase their interest in a specific employer. Depending on your company culture and industry, working remotely may or may not be an option. However, this question is important to ask upfront to ensure each side understands the expectations of the role and the desires of the candidate moving forward.

4)      What kinds of sacrifices have you made to be successful? Please explain. Another stigma Millennials face is that they are a coddled bunch that do not understand work ethic. It is important to ask this question to determine if the candidate has the will to overcome adversity. Tom Alexander, CEO of PK4 Media – listed by Forbes as one of America’s fastest growing companies — recently said, “During an interview, we asked this question and one Millennial candidate explained how for weeks she was unable to get time with her boss to pitch a groundbreaking idea. She overheard that the boss was coming into the office on Saturday and so she showed up bright and early.  The boss was so impressed that she ended up using the idea, it boosted profits and their working relationship improved ten-fold from that point forward.”

With an aging workforce and a scarcity of qualified talent, fear of millennials in the office is no longer an option. By asking the above interview questions you will reduce your hiring risk and increase the probabilities that your next Millennial hire will not only

About Eliot Burdett:

Eliot Burdett is an author, sales recruiting expert and the Co-Founder and CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting, a leading B2B sales recruiting company launched in 2006.

Under his direction, the company leads the industry with a success rate 50% higher than the industry average, working with a wide-range of clients including boutique, mid-size and world-class companies including P&G, Gartner, Deloitte, Merck, Western Union and others. Eliot has more than 30 years of success building companies, recruiting, and managing high performance sales teams and is a top 40 Under 40 winner. 

He has been widely featured in top publications including the New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, Inc., Reuters, Yahoo!, Chief Executive, CIO, the American Management Association and HR.com. 

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