Are centennials worth hiring at all?

Apr 24, 2020

This article is the last one in the series of publications about Generation Z. We have already considered the main stereotypes about centennials and discussed them with experts. We will analyze cases that were not included in the previous articles but will be useful to managers and HR specialists. Also, here you will find expert recommendations on how to catch the interest of centennials when hiring and how to optimally organize their work process.

Are centennials worth hiring at all?

Although the majority of negative stereotypes about centennials were refuted by our experts, some of them were confirmed. As any other generation, centennials have both strengths and weaknesses. And some managers are still fearful of working with the youngest generation, suspecting that their advantages as specialists do not compensate for the shortcomings. 

So, maybe it’s better not to hire centennials at all? At least for some time. And make a choice in favor of more matured job seekers instead, getting back to centennials five years later, when they gain some experience. Or do centennials have any advantages yet today? Maybe starting work with Generation Z now, an employer will receive much more than in case of abandoning them? 

Vera Sharnikova, Head of Recruitment Department in Andersen, Vitebsk:

“Of course, centennials have their strengths. They are creative, many of them have unconventional thinking and outlook. They can bring something new to the company if you listen and hear them.”

Mariya Pankova, Lead Recruiter in Andersen, Vitebsk:

“Development within the community, within the company is important for centennials, which means that development of the company itself is important to them. The previous generation was more “people for themselves”, but the young guys are interested in how their technology will develop, who else will work with them.”

Yulia Litvinovich, HRM in Andersen, Gomel:

“Centennials are highly motivated and have a desire to develop. They strive to prove themselves in the profession, not just to amuse their ego but to show professionalism. They have a high level of responsibility for their tasks. They can easily build open relationships with colleagues and expect openness in return. They are good at planning, know themselves well, and are able to allocate their resources. They know their strengths and weaknesses and try to change for the better. If it’s not possible to change something, they accept it as it is and simply don’t interact with areas where they’re incompetent.”

Vlad Karasenko, centennial, Marketing Specialist in Andersen, Minsk:

“Fresh minds are more flexible, and their owners follow trends. When new guys come, the older generation can also learn something from them. In case these guys are savvy, of course. The modern media environment has an impact on everyone, but it is formed thanks to the youngest generation and their interests. Due to the abundance of information, smart guys from Generation Z already have critical thinking and doubt everything. And they can send feedbacks up too.”

Karina Babenko, centennial, Lead Recruiter in Andersen, Kharkiv:

“Centennials have a desire to develop, and it’s easier to switch them to new technology. If two projects have come, the guys from the youngest generation can be switched to both at once, and they will be happy and motivated, feeling that they are needed. The guys will strain to cope with them all! That’s why they are worth hiring. Plus, they grasp new technologies faster, maybe cause they have more energy. We were born in the time when the Internet and smartphones appeared, so we’ve got used to developing in such pace.”

So rejecting centennials as employees is definitely not worth it. They have a number of advantages, and the main ones are a fresh look and openness to new trends. Young specialists can quickly figure out a situation that will cause difficulties for representatives of older generations. Centennials can offer many new ideas and solutions if they are given creative freedom. They are ambitious, compensate for the lack of experience with motivation and willingness to improve for the sake of becoming real professionals as soon as possible.

How to catch the interest of a centennial when hiring: recruiter tips

The advantage of centennials as employees has been proven already, and now we need to understand how to spark the interest in young professionals. They have their requests that may not coincide with the preferences of the older generations. And although preferences are individual for each person, there are some nuances common to representatives of Generation Z. Our recruit experts shared practical insights on what’s better to put focus on when hiring a centennial and what to provide them with first of all.

Vera Sharnikova, Head of Recruitment Department in Andersen, Vitebsk:

“Young people like perks. The older generation has two main criteria – a salary and a project, but for centennials, the atmosphere in a team, the social component, and fun are more important. It seems to me that it’s hard for these people without active communication, that’s why they put importance on co-workers, spending time together, the atmosphere in a team. And another important thing is the emphasis on the contribution that the centennial can make to the project, on how valuable it can be – the ego factor, in short.”

Mariya Pankova, Lead Recruiter in Andersen, Vitebsk:

“If we talk about the project, it should be something interesting, something trending that people are sold on. For example, a year ago, cryptocurrency was very popular, and young people reacted to such projects positively. At job interviews, centennials are more comfortable to communicate simply, in first name terms – they don’t like unnecessary formalities. They need various events: conferences, meetings, so that they can develop, but at the same time, could have fun.”

Karina Babenko, centennial, Lead Recruiter in Andersen, Kharkiv:

“In many cases, you can spark the interest of these guys by self-development, play on their ambitions. If a 20 years old person has 2-3 years of experience already, they consider themselves a middle, rather than a beginner. And then, you can give them a challenge, like “can you handle this kind of project?” With a new technology, where all team members are at the senior level. This is what they are interested in; they get a desire to reach new heights quickly and prove they’re ready to work. I usually focus on this, because when you talk about some kind of stability, it’s more for older generations. Perks, days-off, insurance – all this goes into the background.”

Although money is one of the main motivators for centennials, the social component and opportunities for rapid development are also important to them. When communicating with a centennial candidate, it is important to mention in which team they are invited to work and on which project, what additional perks will be there. If you move the offer beyond the scope of a typical work for money, focus on self-realization and socialization, the chances of catching the centennial’s interest will increase significantly. 

One of our young employees shared a story about how he had joined a small product company just for the sake of a girl:

“I came to the job interview just for kicks, I already had a good offer. So I came there, the office was plain vanilla, but on the way to the meeting room, I saw one girl and realized that she’d caught me! As a result, I agreed to a lower salary, I thought like, whatever, I still have time to earn money, but here’s such a chick! From the first day, I began to flirt with her,  trying to pick up her for three months, and then, we started dating. And three months later, I quit the job XD

The relationship lasted only a couple of weeks, it was absolute hell and brain-sucking, and then it was impossible to work together! When we sit directly opposite each other, and the office is small … How would you say it to the management? XD”.

Centennials are smart and adequate employees with many advantages. An employer who can attract the best representatives of this generation will receive many benefits. In order to attract the best and keep them in the company, you need to understand their minds and preferences, and we hope our series of articles will help you with this task :).

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