How to Recruit Millennials: Going Beyond What Worked In the Past

How to Recruit Millennials: Going Beyond What Worked In the Past

Emily Smykal

Millennial workers are like no other generation in the workforce. The 53.5 million 18 to 34 year olds searching for jobs today are more digitally connected than their older colleagues, and their expectations for the job market are constantly changing. Adapting to these preferences while maintaining your unique corporate culture can be difficult. But it’s not impossible.

As we move beyond shaking our fist at those darn Millennials, and accept them as a vital part of the workforce, one question arises: how do you attract them? Should you completely overhaul your talent acquisition strategy and your employee benefits, to suit Millennial tastes? Should you stick to your guns and expect Millennials to accept your way of doing things?

Every business needs to weigh the benefits of adapting versus maintaining the status quo. But within every organization’s existing recruitment methods and employee engagement policies, there is always room for growth. In this post we’ll discuss how to recruit Millennials, examining strategies any company can implement.

Adapting Your Old Strategy

Put yourself in the shoes of a digital citizen

You will be hard pressed to find a Millennial applicant without some kind of digital presence. Which means they’re also using digital means to examine you as an employer. Websites like Glassdoor allow employees to anonymously review their workplace, and potential candidates can weigh those results as they decide where to apply.

Your talent acquisition strategy should take these indicators of employee satisfaction into account by reverse engineering the end result. What leads to a positive Glassdoor review? Employee happiness and job satisfaction. Thorough onboarding processes for new hires. Desirable benefits and clear paths to advancement. Think about the results these digital workers want from a job, and make sure that’s exactly what you can offer them.

Get social

We already know how much time Millennials spend on the wide spectrum of social media outlets. So why is social media still so underutilized by major corporations? Facebook, Twitter et al. provide a huge captive audience, especially among big brands and large employers. Just make sure what you’re saying online is worth listening to.

Update your technology

Consumer quality career sites. Top notch SEO and social recruiting practices. Efficient use of job boards. Employee referral programs. Mobile application processes. The ways technology impacts your recruitment strategy are endless. We no longer have a traditional, transactional, job-board-to-career-site journey for applicants. The sources of your best candidates are more diverse than ever. So your talent acquisition strategy needs to not only take them into account, but also ensure you’re running on the latest technology and constantly improving as they change.

Square up on values

Beyond the technological advancements in recruiting, Millennials are also forcing employers to reconsider the values they project. Perhaps more so than their older colleagues, Millennial workers emphasize employee well-being and development. They want to be a part of an organization with strong mission statements, and they want to have some influence within their own place of employment. This is where updating and promoting your employer brand comes into play. Let Millennials know what you stand for, internally and externally.

Upgrade your perks

Figuring out how to recruit Millennials is a multifaceted challenge. Salaries, benefits, and perks in general are important to all workers. But preferences among Millennials are clearly shifting from the norm. Competitive pay rates and bonuses are still undoubtedly attractive, but there are other, less tangible benefits your Millennial applicants will be looking for.

A clear path to earning promotions and raises will signal to these applicants that you value their growth as employees. Flexible schedules, working from home arrangements (where applicable), and lengthy (even unlimited) vacation are all top priorities for Millennials. These workers are so used to customizing every aspect of their lives that rigid work schedules and limited personal time can convince them not to apply to your organization.

Case Studies: How Well-Known Companies Are Adapting

Some employers are already adjusting their recruitment methods and employee benefits to appeal to Millennial workers. Consulting giant McKinsey lets employees take five to 10 weeks off in between assignments, to spend time on personal interests. They don’t get paid during the weeks they’re away from the office, but workers to retain their benefits and don’t have to use up any paid vacation days.

While unlimited vacation has been common among startups, multinational juggernaut GE removed limits for vacation, sick and personal days among executives and senior professionals. That means this benefit extends to over 40% of its U.S. workers. And the online shopping hub Zappos has gone so far as to eliminate managers and is considering allowing communally decided or self-assigned salaries.

We get lots of questions about how to recruit Millennials. The truth is, not every strategy in this post will work for your organization. Budget constraints and conservative senior management could hamper many of the more outlandish efforts we see in talent acquisition today. But the Millennials considering your job openings are highly educated and eager to work. So incorporating at least a few of the strategies that appeal to them as job candidates will go a long way towards attracting and retaining them in your workforce.

How can you expect workers to go above and beyond for you, if you’re not going above and beyond for them?

Step #0: Before You Change Your Millennial Hiring Strategy

If you’re truly having a hard time hiring Millennials, now is the time to take action. But before changing up your benefits, your Millennial hiring strategy, adapting your culture, or improving your employer brand, get a baseline.

This will help you actually allocate your resources to places that drive more Millennials into your recruiting funnel. We’ve seen too many companies pour budget into PPC campaigns or job boards to essentially “pay” for candidates without first identifying any issues. This is a short-term fix to a long-term problem.

Employers could get an understanding of where to improve by tapping into the minds of their existing Millennial employees. Survey younger employees who recently went through your recruiting and hiring processes to get their feedback. Partner with team leads in engineering, marketing, sales, and so on to conduct small focus groups that aim to identify the good and bad aspects of your company as an employer.

These are just a few examples, but the point is to audit your current state before experimenting with new and innovative millennial hiring strategies. Every company is in a unique situation.

Candidates are consumers, and providing them with a consumer-quality experience will go a long way when few others are. Read our new eBook, “The Talent Acquisition Leader’s Guide to the New Candidate Journey” to learn more about this topic and what to do about it.

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