Recruiting the next generations - Millennials

In this two-part series we are going to explore what it takes to recruit and retain Millennials - who are the largest working population right now and iGen - who will become the fastest-growing generation in both the workplace and the marketplace in the next five years. 

Let’s get started with the Millennials! They were born between 1980-1995* and have been called high-maintenance, lazy, entitled and self-obsessed (From main stream media, not me!). On the other hand, they have been characterized as being confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. But, the truth is both arguments probably hold some grounds for belief, so the reality must fall somewhere in between.

Employers that understand what motivates this generation and are willing to adapt their recruitment techniques to suit, will be able to attract top talent, keep them satisfied and productive and also make sure they are not snatched up by competitors.

As we all know, Millennials are more digitally connected than other generations, and their expectations for the job market are constantly changing. They are educated and have an entrepreneurial spirit and are not willing to be just a number in a large corporation. They require constant feedback from their manager (you can thank their helicopter parents for this!) and enjoy a connected, social atmosphere. They know how to use the most advanced technology tools and as a result of this (and the internet) they expect to be able to work flexible hours at home and in the office.

Now that we understand some of the characteristics and preferences of Millennials, we can look at tailoring the recruitment process for hiring them.

Here are our top 8 tips for hiring this generation:

1.      Engage via Social Media – Consistently share information about your company -  job postings, photos, updates and news articles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the other prominent social media sites. Steer clear of posting the traditional job advert which lists the skills, knowledge and abilities required to perform in the role. Get creative and tell your company’s life story. Let potential candidates see what it’s like to work at your company. Seek to connect with individuals who would fit with the company culture and form a relationship – court them!

2.      Develop a Campus Recruiting Plan - Identify and reach out to promising candidates before they officially enter the job market through active campus recruitment. Think beyond on-campus career fairs and reach out to the student association reps or career center staff. They will be able to connect you with faculty members who can offer insight into the skills and attributes of their student body and make introductions to career-minded students. 

3.      Set up a Creative Employee Referral Program - When Carmax needed to add a lot more employees during their busy season, they conjured a simple way to encourage referrals: At a time when Livestrong bracelets were all the rage, they passed out rubber bracelets of their own to employees. The bracelets read “Carmax: Who do you know?” This served as a subtle-yet-effective reminder to employees that they can always recommend their friends/associates and receive a bonus if a candidate is successfully placed.

4.      Start building your Pipeline now – As you begin meeting potential candidates, start building true relationships. Invite them to your company for a tour, for example, or to have lunch with a top executive and a select group of other employees — including people in their peer group, if possible. You can offer a look at your company culture and explain why your business is the right choice for them.

5.      Update your Technology – Mobile-optimize your company and career sites so Millennials can access them from any device at any time. In addition, make the application process fast and easy by allowing people to apply for positions with content from LinkedIn or other sources. Please do not ask them to duplicate their entire work history on an application form and post or fax it in!

6.      Manage your Communication Channels! This generation is used to instant gratification and frequent feedback, so you need to be quick when communicating where you stand in the recruitment process. If they are not a good fit, let them know and provide some constructive feedback. A bad candidate experience can damage the employer brand and may lead to a lowered view of products & services especially if the candidate shares their experience on social media or posts a low rating on a job board.

7.      Customize your Pay/Benefits package and Market it! A LinkedIn survey found that a compensation package is the No. 1 thing recruiters should highlight for Millennials to accept a job—but that means benefits, perks, and other advantages, not just salary. Flexible schedules, working from home arrangements (where applicable), and lengthy annual holidays/vacation time are all top priorities for Millennials.

8.      Offer Professional Development and Advancement Opportunities. A clear path to earning promotions and raises will signal to these applicants that you value their growth as employees. Ensure that your recruiting strategy enforces any training, mentorship, or advancement opportunities available in your company to satisfy these needs.

Stay tuned for my next post on recruiting for the iGeneration!

*Dates are approximate and there is some overlap because there are no standard definitions for when a generation begins and ends.