How can we recruit Gen Ys who will be stayers?

Dear Aunty B,

I have just had my fourth young staff member quit this year. They have been in the company five minutes when they suddenly announce they are off to build wells in Africa or go back to uni to study linguistics. It’s driving me mad!

We have to shoulder the cost of their recruitment, training, set up costs and company culture costs. We provide them with a future and plenty of opportunities for advancement and training plus industry standard pay and then without a backwards glance they make some hair brained decision and head off into the unknown.

Aunty, how can we tell when we recruit young people that they are going to stick around?


Dear Fuming,

It hurts, doesn’t it? We all get it wrong. But here are some tips. I never hire anyone that has an “impulsive” CV. By that I mean a new job every year. It is one of the first things I look for. Have they worked here and there for six months, one year, 18 months? Those are the people who you don’t want as they are constantly looking for excitement and novelty, or are fleeing some dissatisfied childhood and couldn’t give a hoot about helping you build a company.

Another way I weed out the leavers is to ask them about commitment. I want to hear that they are in relationships. (It always worries me if they are estranged from their families.) I also want to hear that they are passionate about something and have shown a long-term commitment to it. I also like to hear their families are in the same state (sometimes employees resign to move closer to family).

The third thing I want to hear – and the most important – is passion for the job and the industry. When you recruit, ask them to explain to you how they are going to be the best in the world at their job and what are the new trends in the industry. You are looking for people that live and breathe their job and are curious about their industry and how it is changing.

Lastly, tell them that you are looking for long termers and if they have any hesitation about how long they may stay in the job, then please don’t take it because they are denying another great young person a terrific opportunity.

Good luck!
Your Aunty B

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