What Millennials Really Look for in an Employer

Blog Posts - May 5, 2016

Alexis Sparks
Leadership & Culture

When did the subject matter of the Millennial workforce become the hottest topic of conversation for most baby boomers? I find it so fascinating, as I am a Millennial, but I never understood why we were put into this silo. I understand our generation operates and thinks differently than generations in the past, but isn’t that just the evolution of who we are? It shouldn’t be looked at as a bad thing, but then again, most people do not like change.

After many discussions with clients and reading article after article on Millennials, one thing did become clear – Millennials are more strategic when it comes to their careers. Even though the hiring process has become more tedious to find the right fit, we also evaluate the employer with a more critical eye than generations in the past.

As we Millennials enter into the job market and start to climb the ladder of our choosing, we don’t just look for a competitive salary and benefits package – we want more, and sometimes we end up being the ones to say, “You are just not the right candidate for what I need.”

Here is what I believe Millennials look for in potential employers:

1. We want to work for a company that has a defined purpose. 

This is not your cookie cutter vision or mission statement or core values. It’s the “why” you do what you do. We need to know why you wake up every morning to go to work. Companies that have a purpose statement not only have higher employee engagement but it positively affects your bottom line.

2. We want defined opportunities to grow. 

In a report done by Mercer, 1 in 3 employees are planning to leave their current organization within the next twelve months, mostly due to the lack of career progression opportunities (Mercer). We aren’t going to look for our next role the day we start, but we want to know a possible path. Even more importantly, we want to know you are thinking about our growth within the company.

3. We want a boss that will invest in our development. 

If we don’t have someone in our corner, then how will we get opportunities to really shine? One study reported that 42% of Millennials want feedback every week – more than twice the percentage of every other generation. We have either heard about or have lived the horror story of having a boss that will hinder your growth for their own benefit or, even worse, they are just poor stewards of the organization.

4. Your egos are left at the door; no position is too small. 

Empowerment and open communication is encouraged at every level of the organization. We want leadership to embrace transparency and accountability, allowing all levels of the organization to feel empowered to do their jobs and make a difference within the organization. We value your feedback and, without trust, a company’s culture can begin to fracture. This also includes more collaboration and working as a team to serve the customer, not just the person on top.

5. We want you to be willing to hire someone with potential. 

Our Chairman tells our clients, “bet on horses not on races.” It is hard for most Millennials to fit the mold of a specific job description. We typically have gotten our feet wet in several potential career paths and one of those paths might not have anything to do with our degree. We want to work for a company that leaves their preconceived notions at the door when hiring and gives opportunities to those who approach problems at a different angle, provide solutions, learn quickly, and can adjust into any position with ease. We want to work for a company that is also willing to adapt the job to fit the talent.

At the end of the day, in order to be successful, the employer and interviewee have to pick each other as the ideal candidate. My advice to my fellow Millennials: No matter your criteria, keep searching for that employer that sees your potential, because that is where you will find the most success and fulfillment.