January 28, 2019

How to Interview a Millennial Account Manager Candidate

by Chris Winterboer

What is the best way your agency can interview account managers when 50% of the workforce is comprise of Millennials and 25% the current workforce (i.e. hiring managers and seasoned mentors) are Baby Boomers?

To create a successful interview, your hiring managers want to speak to the issues most pressing for young professionals. Here are some tips to consider incorporating into your interview preparation.

How Is Your Company Involved in the Community?

Millennials are community minded and see their place in this world as one that can affect change, personally and professionally. Be prepared to answer how you (managers and employers) are involved in supporting local charities, community events and more.

  • Do you have a VTO (Volunteer Time Off) policy to encourage participation?
  • What major causes are near and dear to your heart?
  • Is this advertised and encouraged openly on all of your social media platforms?

Why Is This Important?

Because highly engaged employees have longer retention. Don’t be afraid of job movement. I will never forget when I was in college (albeit that was 20 years ago now) and one of my business professors said that most of us would change our job up to 6-7 times over our careers. That number is now projected conservatively by some to be closer to 15-20 job changes through their career. That is 2-3 times the amount I was told, and that number already seemed crazy to me. They are accustomed to staying in a job for only a year or two, moving on, and that is how you progress now. Like it or not, that could be a new reality to face. Working on retention strategies become infinitely more difficult, but that is an entirely different blog for another day. For now, don’t let job movement scare you away from a candidate. There is a new normal to grow accustomed to in the near future and starting now.

What Is the Client Service Career Path?

Millennials want a career path. This may seem to fly in the face of the idea of moving jobs 15-20 times in a career, but I’ve witnessed job movement within a company far more than with different organizations.

  • Explain how you create career progression.
  • What training and development programs do you invest in

Why is this important? The issue is NOT about title. Millennials care way less about title and way more about job responsibilities and having an impact. Insurance is one of the best industries to promote the concept of continuing education. For many years, companies have provided avenues for continuing education reimbursement, professional development, networking opportunities, etc. But if you have a formal training and development program that makes them a better employee, that is going to be important to them. More importantly, if you don’t offer something, they will find another employer that does.

Are You My Mentor?

As a hiring manager, here’s where you make a personal connection. During the interview, talk about how you will pour into the person. Millennials thrive on immediate feedback, authentic relationships, and an ability to be heard.

  • How does mentoring look in your organization?
  • Embrace social media as a way to connect.

Why is this important? The best way to know how your people feel and what they think is to create a platform for sharing and open discussion. Round table jam sessions at the office, find the nearest Starbucks (because everyone loves coffee!) or encourage feedback on social media. Positivity leads to action. It could lead to your greatest source of future referrals.

Food For Thought

Pay attention to the little details in the recruitment process. Before you can connect them with a mentor, they need to know that the recruitment efforts include opportunity to get to know them. They want to work for an employer that embraces technology, so start in the recruitment process.

Connect with them on social media, show your tech savvy in multiple ways, talk about how you integrate technology in the workplace, and really showcase that whenever possible. Getting to know a candidate on many levels has always been a part of recruiting, but the part that has changed is the method of engagement. I actually find some irony in it personally – craving to be known, but in an online engagement through social media. It is the world we live in though, and we need to adjust accordingly if we want to relate to this segment of the employment market.

As with any change in life, some good comes with the bad. Overall, I think some of the changes that cater to the Millennial workforce could also be a positive force for change in general. Give us all an opportunity to look in the mirror and see if we can improve processes, do it better than our competitors, and eventually build the company culture and environment that anyone would want to be a part of for their next career move!

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