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10 Key Tips for Hiring Millennials in Construction

Having a great team translates directly to your company’s bottom line. And with the urgent need to bring younger talent into the construction industry, fine tuning your hiring skills has never been more important.

We’ve put together these tips to help you understand the motivations and aspirations of millennials to improve your hiring process.

1: Demonstrate How Your Company is Making a Positive Impact on the World

According to Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business, "84 percent of millennials say that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition."

Millennials now more than ever are seeking jobs that give them a sense of purpose. They want something they can feel proud of, not only at work but outside of work as well. More than one third of millennials surveyed by American Express "define success as doing work that has a positive impact on society." It's important for candidates to see how they can contribute to making a positive impact on the community, society, and the environment during their career.

Whether it's through the mission of your company's products or services, or how your company participates in community service events, being part of something bigger will be an important draw to prospective millennials. It will attract the 64% of millennials who say "it's a priority to make the world a better place." This will keep them happy by making them feel like they are making more of a contribution to the world at large.

2: Show Your Innovation as a Company

The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey showed that while 32% of millennials believe innovation and creativity are an essential skill an organization should offer, only 24% believe their employers actually are focusing on it. The study proves that millennials hold a high importance to innovation but are not seeing that importance in the organization's culture. Innovation is incorporated in the general education received by most millennials and has become a part of their business thought process. Millennials aren't afraid to question the status quo, so it's no surprise that they would be drawn to companies doing the same. Organizations need to showcase the innovative steps they are taking in order for millennials to be satisfied.

Is your company seeking out projects that focus on sustainable design, using new materials, or employing new technology in the construction process? Is your company planning for the future of construction and finding new ways to make processes more efficient? If so, make sure this is front and center, as it will be a big attraction to potential millennial candidates.

3: Show the Fun and Social Sides of Your Company

A study done by Deloitte shows that 52% of millennials find a positive workplace culture to be "very important" when choosing to work for an organization. They are valuing the work culture over the name of the company. They believe it will make the environment at work better, and will help enhance their career. Because many people spend more time at work than they do at home these days, it's important to showcase the fun side of your company and that your employees enjoy spending time together. Being in an industry that does not come off as "sexy" makes this hard, but if you focus on the culture as well as the purpose of the job it will help.

Talk about company events, intramural sports teams, informal lunches or after-hours gatherings, or any other ways your employees spend time together that brings the team closer together. Millennials are used to social media ads where things have to catch their attention. If they see a company doing something they consider fun, they will be more apt to look into your company.

4: Recruit Millennials Where They Spend Time Online

Think about how millennials spend most of their time. The answer is online. They grew up with the internet and have been trained to look there for all the information they need. Your website, social media, video marketing and other digital channels are great places to attract them.

Gone are the days when job applicants are only using job search engine sites such as Monster and Career Builder. They're using the web to search for innovative companies, and having a strong digital presence is key for employers. Identify where you want your company to be seen and make sure it is put in front of potential employees.

Make yourself as visible as possible. Use social media to promote company events, employment perks, socialization opportunities, leadership development programs, and the unique products and services you provide.

5: Demonstrate Your Company's Work Life Balance and Flexibility Options

One of the biggest perks attracting millennials to companies these days are flexible work options. In a survey done by American Express, 75% of millennials "said a successful business should be flexible, even in an environment of volatility, and not enforce a rigid structure on employees." Whether that's flexible work hours or the ability to work remotely occasionally, these are becoming more and more commonplace and huge attractors to millennials. They are being more forthcoming with the conditions in which they are willing to work, and flexible hours allow them to better handle work-life balance.

Because the lines between work and personal life are continually becoming blurred, the ability to have some flexibility every now and then makes that balance more manageable. Not all industries allow for flexible hours or work from home capabilities, however, they can offer alternatives that still allow for an enhanced work-life balance to attract the best new talent as an employer.

6: Use Your Interview Process to Filter Out Potential Slackers

We've all heard the stereotype: Millennials are lazy. However, this just isn't the case with most candidates; in fact, many millennials are workaholics. Push the stereotype out of your mind and focus on finding the right millennials for the job. But in every interview pool, there are a few bad apples, so this tip from Lucas Group will help hiring managers look for red flags like poor work ethic and negative habits.

They suggest asking these interview questions and paying close attention to the answers to identify the traits or behaviors that can limit a candidate’s success in business.

  • Did you have a job in high school or college?
  • What is your most memorable accomplishment?
  • What led to your most memorable mistake?
  • To what do you attribute your success to date?
  • From whom have you learned the most in your professional career?

If the candidate's answers focus too much on their natural talent as their main difference from other candidates or their answers are egocentric, you should view those as warning signs. This could be pointing out their inability to work as a team player and indicating they are more interested in their own personal gain. On the other hand, you should also listen for themes such as an example of them working as part of a team and how they approached challenging situations to get a good feel for how they'd perform on the job.

7: Build Independent Working Opportunities Into Your Job Descriptions

The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey found that approximately 81% of millennials find that continuous professional development through self-directed or self-paced learning is important in helping them perform their best. So, show them how the position they've applied for can help them gain that experience. They want to feel like they have ownership over their work and the best way to achieve that is to have them produce something of value. Allow them the ability to prove themselves so that they can be a stronger teammate on future projects.

Most roles will have a good mix of team and individual assignments, but make it clear up front what opportunities a candidate would have for both.

8: Demonstrate That the Position Will Have Opportunities for Learning and Mentorship

Millennials are looking for constant learning. They want their minds to be continuously stimulated. They look for new challenges and want substantial interaction with experienced leaders. While millennials are known for their independence and willingness to take on challenges themselves, they also appreciate mentorship and the advice and coaching of more experienced professionals. They recognize that they have a lot to learn and by listening to someone higher up in the company, they can get sound advice on how to get on the right track for their future.

They respond better when it is given as friendly advice versus a step-by-step of what they should be doing. Millennials want more informal face-to-face time with senior management to get to know them, the company, and how they can make an impact without the boundaries of strict hierarchy.

9: Fully Understand a Candidate's Skills and Make Sure the Job Will Put Those Skills to Work

Only 28% of millennials feel that their current organization makes full use of their skills. Nothing is more disappointing to an employee than feeling like their skills are underutilized. Take good notes on their complete skillset during the interview process, and revisit those again during a 3 and 6-month review. By understanding what a candidate can do, a company minimizes the chance of setting both parties up for disappointment and failure. This can be done by setting up monthly check-ins for open feedback from both the employee and their supervisor.

Also, make sure the new hire feels comfortable showcasing those skills once they're on board. By showing them you're on their side and willing to coach them through their growth and development, they will have more confidence in their skills and realize their full potential.

If the candidate's skillset and the role they've applied for aren't a good match, be up front about it and move on to another candidate, or suggest another role that may be a better fit for them.

10: Show a Clear Path to Advancement in Your Initial Conversations

According to Glassdoor, 87% of millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important to them in a job. By showing them where they could go from the position they are in, they will be able to see a future they want. While some may stereotype millennials as impatient, it's obvious that they're very driven and want to see results quickly. Also, millennials want to be challenged. If they notice that they have no room to grow, they will start seeking that challenge elsewhere. 

During your initial conversations with a millennial candidate, be up front and realistic about career advancement and potential paths. Keep in mind these paths may look very different than they have in the past, and that it's exciting to millennials to forge a new way.

Now that you have actionable steps for fine tuning your hiring process, it is time to practice these tips for your company. By following these steps, you will be able to attract the best talent for your industry. For more tips and news in construction, subscribe to our Industry Insights Blog for the latest updates.



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