‘Hiring Millennials’ with Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’

Ruhi Mahajan
7 min readJul 25, 2017


With the kind of fast paced life we’re leading these days, it has become highly difficult to filter down the content/books that we-want-to vs we-should read. Reduced attention span makes us hop on to short articles and blogs and step onto one from the other. I literally have to push myself to go offline at times and invest time in books. Of late I read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R Covey. With this read and my experience in hiring/building teams at Kayako, I am sharing the notes with my fellow recruiters here.

Kayako being a product company, it has niche skill-set requirement, and like every other startup these days, we need self starters and self motivators. And I’d say it loud, “It’s not easy to build a dream team with so many constraints.” However, if the game is played well it becomes doable for sure. I take pride in saying that 90% of the current Tech team at Kayako is what I built and here I’d connect these habits with the things I’ve been doing without being consciously aware of which helped me build the team and I am still continuing it.

These ‘7 habits’ are:

1. Be Proactive
2. Begin With The End In Mind
3. Put First Things First
4. Think Win-Win
5. Seek First to Understand, Then To Be Understood
6. Synergize
7. Sharpen The Saw

1: Be Proactive
Being proactive is the key these days, with the cutting edge technology and these tech savvy millennials you got to be ahead of the curve all the time. Engaging with them at various platforms that they enjoy being on, is the tip.

There have been multiple instances I’ve gone to meet my prospects right at the coffee shops near their houses/offices and trust me that leaves them with almost no chance to say no to a quick catchup.

Millennials are crazy, they hate talking but love texting. They need to be proactively tracked/chased and pushed to come for the interviews in their pyjamas with flexible work hours and free gourmet food baits. (Quick tip: It is ok to get resumes on Whatsapp and putting them in ATS yourself :))

They’d like getting their answers before they question, so a well structured and engaging pre on-boarding (some books, quick online forms, and some chocolates) and on-boarding (goodies, ready workstation, access lists, everything as digital as possible) is a must for them!

You need to be proactive and serve their next need: recent example, a final year student was offered Kinternship (Kayako internship) removing roadblocks like commuting and offered remote work! (yes, its 2017 and internships from hostel rooms is what they seek for, and its double productive, trust me!)

2: Begin With The End In Mind
In order to succeed, we do that of course, don’t we? Like every recruiting manager, my end goal is building a strong team, for which I need a healthy pipeline of candidates who‘ll come handy at times of my hiring. When you are building a healthy pipeline of millennials, you do not go to regular job fairs, but various interesting skill enhancing meet-ups, their industry veteran speakers’ events who are doing some interesting things in life!

So when we know the purpose right from start, we know how to build conversations around the topic and make keen notes of what a person is interested in, so you can develop engaging conversations. It becomes easier for a recruiter to sell ‘what’s in it for you’ part of the deal.

And Millennials are extremely well connected with like minded people. You happen to meet one, you’d knows he/she knows tons of people in your network and all the time you’d be like, ‘it’s such a small world’.

I realise it’s essential to understand their strengths and projects they worked-on/excelled-in, if your work resonates with their zeal, then only offer them job. An iota of mismatch in the initial promises or the tasks offered on job, you’re heading for a disgruntled employee/output.

3: Put First Things First
We all have read about The Eisenhower Decision Matrix and categorization of tasks to be productive. Stephen Covey explained the same matrix in his third habit ‘Put First Things First’ how to set apart what’s urgent and not important from what’s important but not urgent and vice versa. It is a tricky set up if we actually try to segregate our to-do lists according to this.

Going to work without a fixed agenda keeps us baffled all day, our to-dos and mission should be clear. At times we feel we’ve worked so much but still there are no results, maybe we’re working on the Quadrant 4 (Not important, not urgent tasks). We end up wasting our time and energy and come out with no productivity. With the inculcation of this habit, I could, to some extent segregate my task list well.

Setting apart things like sending offers, back-fills, constructive feedback in urgent as well as important category helped me do away with risks of faltering at the important matters. To bring in Millennial, there are a few things that are important in context of company brand building, concise JDs, career roadmaps etc these things are important but not urgent. However, handling them timely saves me so much effort and comes handy approaching good prospects.

I try not wasting my time on old school job fairs etc, which ‘ll be like huge investment of time from me as well as my team but wouldn’t fetch any good results.

I certainly vouch for putting first things first so we finish the urgent & important tasks before we run out of our energy for the day.

4: Think Win-Win
Who on earth would want to get into a deal which ain’t a profitable one. Jobs these days are certainly a deal. Deal breakers differ form person to person. How I see this habit, ‘Think win-win’ coming to my assistance is, whenever I get in touch with a prospective hire, I tend to put forth what his/her interests are, connecting with the requirements we have at Kayako. What I want someone to come learnt versus what things the candidate will get to learn. If at all the situation gets on with an association, it generally is a win-win deal.

They do not want best salary, but fair salary. The main objective should be their career mapping. If you can show them a clear career ladder, they are in. It is an unusually long process and involve more than 1 informal catchups. But, once its done and they are excited for this move, the compensation will be resolved without much restraint. Recruiters’ perseverance and role understanding is the key here!

5: Seek First to Understand, Then To Be Understood
For a recruiter getting a candidate who fits into the job requirements is as good as getting some treasure. However, meeting such a prospect doesn’t just solve the purpose. It boils down to understanding the needs and interests of the prospect and then deciding if he/she ‘ll be a perfect match or not. Getting into the millennials’ shoes, is the need of the hour.

Millennials value independence and trust, so we need to offer them space and flexibility to work at their own comfort, give them problems/challenges and focus on output and not their office hours. If you will will ask them for 9–5 mundane tasks, they will never stay!

Considering all these things when I speak to the prospects, most of the times I come out victorious as when I understand them, they certainly do that to me too and we end up becoming associates.

6: Synergize

Millennials are more keen on knowing who will they work with, because they want to be associated with chaps smarter than them. Connecting them with the people with similar energy brought me better results. My existing team referred their friends and I have had many closures through referrals.

I have been seeking their help in screening candidates, they have all the right and chance to choose who they work with. This in turn, adds on to my energy at the time of hiring and theirs when people are hired.

7: Sharpen The Saw
Staying up to date with the newest technology, happenings around is just not a facilitation, it’s the need of the hour I’d say. If you don’t keep sharpening your saw, you’ll become out of date and your tasks stay undone, not because of incapability but because of lack of learning.

Thankfully owing to the environment I am in, I have been motivated enough all the time to keep my arsenal ready.

Sharpening the saw for me was the never ending learning about the platforms that I used to hire people, right from Github to Stackoverflow to Codepen to Dribbble.

In the end, I ‘ll infer saying, there ‘ll be times when what we read will not come handy at the current situation in life. However, if we keep learning tiny bits from each of the books/articles we read, there ‘ll be instances we’d start to implement our learning unconsciously. Only when we take a deep though, we ‘ll see, things are not just random. We are following some pattern and those patterns we did learn from somewhere or the other.

Closing with my mentor’s words, “Even if you remember one lesson from each book that you read, you’re on the right track. Keep reading and keep sharing”

We are hiring at Kayako.

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