American Millennials v’s Immigrant Millennials

Is there a difference? Are Our Kids Are Getting Soft?

Recently we had some placements fall apart and the common thread was these candidates were millennials. For one reason or another, these candidates changed their minds and wanted to “keep their options open” or decided to restart negotiations when everybody involved believed the deal was done.

There was a commonality with these candidates – they had an inflated view of their worth, or had a serious case of FOMO (“fear of missing out”) thinking a cooler company/better job was out there for them. Not only do they want the best opportunities, they want them immediately! We’re not seeing a desire to work their way up the ladder.

One thing’s for sure, when dealing with millennials it’s good practice to remember that growing up they were told they could be anything, they were special and they got medals for “participation”. No wonder they feel important.

Ironically, there was a subsection of candidates who were also Millennials but had a remarkably different attitude. They were all immigrants – foreign born and educated. They were acutely aware of the competitive landscape, were willing to prove themselves, and throughout the process asked, “how can I help?”. They weren’t demanding and appreciated the opportunities being presented to them. We quickly placed 4 of these candidates and our clients loved how these new recruits were truly excited to join their team.

Have we set the bar too low for our up and coming executives? Have we stunted their competitive edge by handing out trophy’s to everyone and so they value themselves on false achievements? Surely we have a problem if the trophy business is a $2 billion industry!

Just to labor the point, in 2015 HBO Real Sports even aired a documentary on this concept called “Trophy Nation”. Very interesting.

Our little anecdotal sample size of American v’s Immigrant candidates is too small to be meaningful on paper, but to those of us who talk to candidates every day, there is a clear difference between the “trophy candidates” to candidates from outside of the US. We recommend that all clients consider domestic and international candidates because you never know where you might find the next Tom Brady – they might just be a Canadian!

That being said we all have to find a way to make it work. The millennial generation expects constant feedback, mentoring and on-going coaching and will be 50% of the workforce by 2020, and 75% by 2025.

Millennials are our future so decision makers need to get be better at identifying, attracting and retaining those competitive, self-aware candidates that we are all clamoring for. But it’s not going to be easy.

At Construction Recruiters we’re still learning how to do this but we are getting better every day. Let us know if we can help you.

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