Recruiting Millennials: Where to Begin

June 30, 2015

As employers strive to reach, engage and hire Millennial talent, a new report out today by Findly outlines strategies for connecting with this demographic group that is, by most measures, highly educated, self-confident, absorbed by technology and ambitious.

Findly, the on-demand talent provider and a Symphony Technology Group (STG) company, shared details from its latest white paper with Hunt Scanlon Media this morning.

According to Findly, Millennials are expected to represent 75 percent of the global workforce by 2020. Given the size of this generation, born between 1980 and 2000, as well as the upcoming exodus of Baby Boomers from the job market, there is a growing focus on recruiting and nurturing Millennial talent. A 2012 survey jointly released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and AARP shows that U.S. employers are increasing investments in training programs to narrow expected skills gaps left when Baby Boomers retire.

"The problem is many companies struggle with this demographic group," said Scott A. Scanlon, founding chairman and CEO of Greenwich, Conn-based Hunt Scanlon. "Studies have shown that Millennials are good team players, ambitious, they seek constant appraisal, and they look for fast promotions. That means they are likely to develop into job-hoppers, which is frustrating to companies that hire them. Low retention rates also mean more expense in replacing them once they exit the doors." But they represent the future, said Mr. Scanlon. "Companies must step up to discover how to attract, recruit and retain this important human capital asset."

Findly’s study, "Recruiting Millennials: 21st Century Advice for Recruiting This 21st Century Generation," outlines best practices that companies can implement to attract Millennials, including: delivering relevant content to Millennial job seekers by updating career websites to reflect company culture; building personal relationships by conducting onsite events such as career fairs and on-campus recruiting efforts; and using various forms of technology.

Millennial job seekers often crave as much information as possible to guide their job search. Employers can meet this need by updating corporate career websites and showcasing their values. The study found that Millennials rely heavily on online resources. Career websites should use clear and simple navigation, and have just the right amount of real and authentic information. Millennials will check a company’s career site, social media presence, YouTube, and review sites, and they will use search engines to find compelling stories about the company’s culture.

Onsite events allow Millennials to connect directly and on a personal basis, necessary kinship among this demographic group. Millennials build personal relationships through social media networks and often go to personal connections to learn about opportunities, to research companies and their reputations before they apply, and companies have to provide this pathway. Millennials are most influenced by friends, personal contacts, and word-of-mouth when making major decisions. In their job search, they care about company reputation and will seek out information from their network to get a full perspective of an opportunity. And for a generation weaned on smartphones, companies must deliver a mobile-optimized experience.

Smooch S. Reynolds, an executive recruiter with DHR International, said that Millennials are in the driver's seat when it comes to the future of business. “The way they interact digitally and revolve their lives around technology is completely reshaping how business is done,” she said. “As a result, companies are scrambling to keep up and establish best practices to thrive in a world that's gone digital.” Ms. Reynolds said that one way this is being done is by simply employing Millennials, but some companies are finding this to be more difficult than they'd expected. “This generation is different from those preceding it. As a result of their digital lives, they're given a transparent view into business,” said Ms. Reynolds. “In a way, Millennials are already dictating the direction of business through the use of constantly changing technology and digital platforms.”

We’re starting to realize that Millennials don’t really think like us, said Ms. Reynolds, so how do we attract them to work for us and make them stick around? Surprisingly, the answer isn’t money. In order to understand them, say experts, we must first understand how Millennials approach their lives. According to Ms. Reynolds, they value experience over being able to pay the bills; they’re unwilling to sacrifice their personal lives for their professional lives; and they’re social beings (but not social in the normal sense) that like to emphasize digital.

What Millennials want isn’t some secret formula or obscure business practice; they want similar success to ours, however, “they frame the operating philosophy of their lives a bit differently,” said Ms. Reynolds. So here’s what you need to do in order to attract Millennials and keep them around – after all, they are the future of the world and business:

     –   Be approachable: if you're friendly, open, social and approachable, your employees (of all generations) will want to work for you.

     –   Work/Life Balance: There’s been a noticeable shift in work/life balance towards the life side. Sometimes work requires extra hours outside the designated 9-5. Giving employees ample personal time makes that extra Saturday time commitment a pretty reasonable request. They don’t need to be in the office? Let them go early. It’ll pay off when you need something timely done over the weekend and they jump right on it.

     –   Social Beings: Millennials grew up with constant exposure to social life through digital channels. They crave social interaction that’s bigger than group/team projects. Make your workplace a social atmosphere. Having a friend at work makes all the difference in the world, let alone an entire office of buddies.

     –   Life Stage: While compensation and benefits are important to a Millennial, these aren’t the key drivers or motivators of that entire generation. They value a job with good experience, a strong mentor and room for growth over a dead end job that pays what they perceive to be a paltry annual salary. They take directions well from management and look to you as a coach/mentor, so play the part. Just be careful not to overstep your bounds.

Click Here to read the full Hunt Scanlon article.