Millennials already are the largest generation in the workforce, and some projections say they will represent 75 percent of workers in the U.S. by 2025 or 2030. These individuals — anyone born from about 1980 to the late 1990s or mid-2000s, depending on who is defining them — are in high demand already in today’s business world.
Employers know that millennials can bring a breath of fresh air to the workplace, in the form of new ideas and spot-on technical skills. Since millennials typically have lower starting salaries than employees with more experience, hiring them can save companies money as well.
The actual hiring process involving millennials, though, can be accompanied by some challenges, especially involving background screenings. Here are five areas where you may encounter obstacles during the process of hiring millennials.
Verifying Job History
In their short work lives, many millennials have changed jobs on a relatively frequent basis. Young people aren’t completely to blame for their seeming fickleness related to employment; a White House report notes that many millennials entered their working years during the recession that began in December 2007, and many have struggled to recover.
Regardless of the reasons, though, the lack of long work histories can pose challenges for a potential employer when attempting to verify job skills and check references. If a prospective employee has held volunteer positions, those organizations can serve as alternative sources of information. A background screening professional can assist with complying with federal rules as you conduct further investigation and check personal references.
The recession also may have played a role in the fact that millennials tend to rely on credit less than their predecessors, often shunning credit cards and loans from banks.
Research also has found that despite their digital proficiency, millennials are the age group most likely to fall prey to financial scams, including phone and Internet fraud. One study found that over a recent 12-month period, 11 percent of Americans were scammed by phone and lost money — but among those ages 18 to 34, a far greater number were victimized: 17 percent of women and 38 percent of men.
In some cases, identity theft and other financial fraud can affect credit histories. If your hiring process requires checking credit or relying on credit scores, then screening millennials may pose a challenge, whether it’s due to a lack of history or a poor history.
For jobs that require a good driving record and a legally licensed car, millennials in some cases may not meet the criteria. Millennials don’t especially enjoy driving, studies show. They take shorter and fewer trips by car, and many don’t even bother getting a driver’s license. These young workers are more likely than their elders to walk, bike, use mass transit or take advantage of newer ride-sharing options.
The lack of a driving record means you have to forego one formerly standard item on the background check punch list.
For a variety of reasons, an employer may specifically be seeking millennial candidates for particular positions. But some of the language used to recruit younger workers — such as “seeking a digital native” — can seem exclusionary to older would-be workers, as it seems to be targeting only a person raised while the digital technology age was in full swing. This can result in potential age-discrimination claims.
A background screening professional can assist you with hiring tech-savvy individuals while using nondiscriminatory methods to recruit.
Too Much Sharing
Research has found that millennials don’t mind sharing certain private information with corporate brands, and this so-called “oversharing generation” also provides copious information through online networks. For hiring managers, the tendency of millennials to share too much can provide a veritable buffet of data. But beware: When making hiring decisions, it may not be legal to use all of the information unearthed on social networking platforms. Anti-discrimination laws typically prohibit using information about health issues, marital status, race and religion, or other personal identifiers, to justify not hiring an individual.
While anti-discrimination laws apply to workers of all ages, millennials are more likely to widely share the kinds of information that you should ignore in background screening.
Overcoming the Challenges
While the process of hiring millennials can be accompanied by challenges, onboarding bright, young professionals can be a boon to your organization. Working with an experienced background-screening company can help you address any legal questions and ensure that you use sound hiring methods for workers of all ages.