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Young Guns Hiring millennials has its advantages--just keep it from backfiring.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Marlo Lorenz got her first job in the fashion industry, she was ready to tackle any task. "I'd make my boss's tea, I'd pick up dry cleaning, I'd sweep the floor--whatever it took to prove my work ethic," recalls Lorenz, 40. Today she sees it from the other side as founder of
12-person Thro Ltd., an Islip, New York, home furnishings design firm. To her, the young people she hires just out of college to cut fabric swatches, send express packages and do data entry are very different.

"I hire them with the hope that they are hungry and willing to do just about anything with a smile on their faces to prove themselves," Lorenz says. "I will tell you that's not been the case." Older employees at the $10 million company will wash dishes or do other menial tasks without objection. But not the entry-level youngsters, Lorenz says. "There's a lot of clucking of tongues and rolling of eyes."

If you haven't experienced Lorenz's disillusion yet, you soon may. Millennials, the approximately 80 million Americans born since about 1980, are entering the labor force in larger numbers than any generation since the baby boomers. The stamp they will put on the workplace will change it enormously, says Elissa Tucker, a research consultant at HR advisory firm Hewitt Associates in Lincolnshire, Illinois.

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