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The Best Interview Questions for Millennials


The Best Interview Questions for Millennials

There are a million articles about interview questions that will help interviewers identify the right candidate, but what about when you dive deeper? Some organizations are still stuck on how to recruit millennials, how to keep them engaged and how to retain them, so let’s focus solely on millennials.

First of all, I’m a millennial – smack dab in the middle of the generation – so as I write this, I go through my own answers to these questions. The best interview questions for millennials are those that help the interviewer determine the candidate’s career goals and work style so that they can decide if it will be a good fit. Depending on the job level and experience of the candidate, these questions may elicit very different responses, but at least they’ll help you understand the candidate and how they fit in with organizational standards and company culture.

Plus, you can quickly place these questions in a recorded interview request and review the candidates’ video responses at your own convenience! This will make it easier to review responses side by side to evaluate which candidates should receive second interviews.

Try Asking Millennials these Interview Questions

1. What are your short and long-term career goals? This is a question you should probably ask any candidate, but millennials are known to have higher turnover rates. Gallup even called millennials the “job hopping-generation” because they are 15% more likely than non-millennials to be open to new job opportunities. Asking candidates to elaborate on their short and long-term goals can tell you if they’re looking for a job to settle into for several years or if they are just getting the experience they want to hop over to the next opportunity. Determine what ideal tenure fits the organization and the job description, and with any luck, it matches up with the candidate’s goals. After all, you don’t want to waste the time and money on training an employee who doesn’t plan to stay more than a year.

2. How would you handle negative feedback? While many candidates and employees report wanting more feedback, they often forget that it includes negative feedback as well as positive. Asking millennials this question can help you gauge how they will handle on-the-job criticism. Ask for specific situations in which they handled negative feedback as it can help you understand how sensitive they are to criticism and whether or not they can work through it.

3. Would you rather be an inventor or a leader? Although this question does not have a right or wrong answer, it can tell you how the candidate may fit into the company. If the candidate sees themselves as a leader, you may know they’ll be a good fit for a job that oversees a group, whereas one who sees themselves as an inventor may be a good fit for a creative job or one that focuses on developing new strategies.

4. Tell me about a time you failed or did not achieve a goal. No one likes to share their failures, but no one can succeed all of the time either. Because failures are simply part of life and work, knowing that a candidate can handle their failures and learn from them is important for any job. Millennials with less work experience may not have as much experience with failure yet, which could lead to a lot of on-the-job learning.

5. Have you ever had to change anything about your appearance or attitude in a professional environment? How did you handle it? This is a tough question. Millennials tend to be more accepting of differences in appearance, including self expressions through tattoos, piercings, hair colors, etc., so if they had to cover up those expressions in a professional environment, it would be helpful to know how they’d react. More importantly, this question may help the interviewer learn how open the candidate is to conforming to company requirements or make compromises that they don’t like, whether in regards to attire, attitude or daily job functions.

6. Describe your ideal work day. While many call millennials a “lazy” and “entitled” generation, I don’t see my generation this way at all. Sure, some people may be, but this question can show you whether you’re interviewing a candidate who prefers an active work environment or a very sedentary one. Some people may be disappointed by the thought of sitting at their computer all day, whereas others prefer it, so this question can help interviewers determine if the candidate’s ideal work environment aligns with the company and the job. It can also be a red flag if you feel they won’t be able to handle a fast-paced environment.

7. Tell me about an occasion in which you worked with a diverse group of people with different opinions. Millennials are known for being a more inclusive generation, so it’s critical that they have relevant examples of working with a variety of opinionated people. After all, any millennials candidate has probably faced this issue in a job or in school. If they haven’t, they may not be prepared for a job that requires it.

8. What kind of relationship would you like to have with your boss? Studies have shown that millennials are looking for a mentor figure or even a friend in their manager. Millennials applying for their first jobs may be expecting to become very friendly with their boss, whereas millennials with more work experience may have already had managers who defeated those expectations. Use this question to gauge their expectations and determine how well they’ll fit with the company culture and the department, and if you will be the candidate’s boss, note their expectations and examine whether or not you can meet them.

Ultimately, interviewing is a two way street. Be prepared for millennials to respond with their own questions about company culture, work-life balance, benefits and other things that are important to them. If you want to hire millennials, you should be prepared to embrace technology and new management styles that fit their needs.


Holly Wade is the Marketing Manager at GreenJobInterview. She comes from the technology world with a background in marketing and public relations, where she specialized in content management, brand development and social media. Connect with Holly via LinkedIn: