This article first appeared February 10th, 2012.
Gen Ys are digital natives. They’ve grown up with the web and live their life on it.
Despite any misconceptions you may have, they are a tremendous asset for any start-up.
Here are some tips on how to hire and keep superstar Gen Ys:
Ignore their CV
Google them instead. Gen Ys’ digital footprint is their CV. You’ll find their work history and references on LinkedIn, their portfolio of accomplishments on their blog and on YouTube.
And you’ll get a sense of their personality from Facebook and what they’re passionate about from Twitter. Not to mention what other interesting gems a Google search will reveal, that a bland cover letter and resume would conceal.
Are they content creators?
Remarkable content is the fuel that drives your web strategy and will keep your company competitive. You’re looking for a Gen Y who loves writing stories, filming videos, taking photos, commenting in forums, interviewing people, creating tools and sharing them all with the world.
This abundance mentality is second nature for Gen Ys and it is what will help attract clients to your business.
Are they learners?
We live in an information economy that is rapidly evolving. Ask Gen Ys which blogs they read, what YouTube presentations they love, what podcasts they listen to, who they follow on Twitter and which forums they use to tackle problems.
And be prepared to answer these questions in return because Gen Ys need to know you practise what you preach. Remember what Verne Harnish says about learning: “If you can read but don’t, you’re only slightly better off than people who can’t!”
Are they connected?
Human relationships keep the business world alive. Technology is just a tool to help facilitate it all.
Look for how many connections they have on LinkedIn. Do people find them interesting enough to follow on Twitter? Do they start genuine discussions on their blog? How many of their university friends could be potential superstars too?
Gen Y superstars will provide genuine reach that you’d never have without them.
Hanging onto Gen Ys
Once you’ve hired superstar Gen Ys, you’ve got keep them interested. They’re smart, ambitious and they like to know they’re a part of something. Share the company’s goals, show them how they’re contributing to the big picture and explain the financials. Provide the tools they need and harness their natural talents.
Give them permission to make mistakes, set challenging goals and then get out of their way. Let them work it out and shine the light on them when they succeed.
If you do part ways, celebrate
When a superstar Gen Y moves on, don’t fret. They’ve either outgrown you or vice versa and it’s time they embarked on a new adventure. I like to think of them as “graduating”. If you’ve treated them well over the years, each “graduate” will be another advocate for you out in the market place.
Keep in touch with your “graduates” and you’ll have an army of people who are likely to refer you the next superstar Gen Ys. And that is a good reason to celebrate!