Recruiting Millennials: How-to Checklist

millennialAccording to a new study by UNC, Kenan-Flagler Business School, millennials are proving themselves to be eminently hirable, despite the stereotypes. They’re ambitious and place a great deal of importance on career progression and personal growth.

Coming of age during the Great Recession, millennials, individuals ranging from 18 to their early 30s, are people who have not yet settled into a firm career path. While the recession affected millennials more so than older generations during previous economic downturns, staffing firms that are cognizant of the unique characteristics that distinguish this “digital population” may attract candidates who want to be recruited again and again.

As a group, millennials represent a tremendous opportunity for the staffing agency that “gets” them.

By adopting new recruiting approaches and supporting technologies, such as recruiting software, designed to accurately categorize both hard and soft skills of a millennial candidate and match those to hiring firms, staffing firms can keep pace with this burgeoning group, estimated to represent 34 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2014.

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To aid recruiting firms in that process, we’ve compiled a checklist that will help you understand and meet the needs and expectations of this generation.

6 Top Tips for Recruiting Firms to Attract and Retain Millennials
Engage in Social Media to Find Candidates – You must meet your target audience where they live; today that means social networks. Creating and maintaining company profiles on top-tier platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and, even Pinterest, opens the door to potential candidates. That 24/7 connection gives your staffing agency an opportunity to engage and interact in an informal and transparent way. Connecting through “off the cuff” conversations could lead to finding the ideal candidate for your client.

Be Current with Latest Technology – Their heavy usage of social media reflects their connected mentality, and the digital device most important to them is the smartphone. One estimate states that 95.2 percent of U.S. millennial adults will be mobile phone users by the end of 2013 and that three-quarters will be using a smartphone. (Source: eMarketer)

The staffing firm who embraces new technology may win the hearts and minds of this elusive generation. Recruiting software can help your recruiting firm demonstrate that they’re tech-savvy.

Emphasize How the Position can Morph to Meet Their Skills and Interests – Millennials are not inclined to be passive job candidates. Many want to be active participants in the recruiting process, perhaps challenging your old-school assumptions. The smart staffing agency will show them how they can “co-create” their ideal position by emphasizing how their specific skill set meets or exceeds their client’s open position.

If your client has an active onboarding process, explain how exposing the candidate to various departments could pave the way for a greater challenge down the road as well, as provide on-the-job training in a totally new area, if that’s where their interests lay.

Share How This Job Will Help Meet Their Long Term Career Goals – Once their salary requirements are met, millennials still want and expect job progression and personal growth as well as challenging and interesting work. While salary is important, it’s often not the primary motivation. (Source: “Class of 2012” study, Achievers and Experience, Inc.)

If your client has an active mentoring program, ongoing training and development or tuition reimbursement for pursing an advanced degree, say so up front. Helping a millennial meet his or her long term goals could make the difference in attracting top talent or losing out to a competitor.

In addition, many want to influence their career trajectory. Make part of your offer one of helping them with ongoing networking to secure another position as they grow in experience and seek career advancement either with the new employer or outside the company.

Give Them Opportunities for Leadership Roles – The study commissioned by UNC found

  • 92 percent of surveyed 21-24-year-olds felt entrepreneurship education was vital in the new economy and job market;
  • 30 percent started a business in college;
  • 35 percent have started a side business.

Don’t let those statistics concern you; first look deeply into the picture those numbers paint: leadership comes naturally to this generation! Discover ways your client can harness that drive, and find ways to encourage leadership from day one.

Promote Flexible Work Options – Millennials place great value on work/life balance. That flexibility can take on the form of telecommuting, co-working or flextime. Some of the largest companies, like Google, Chevron and Gap, have adopted creative ways to meet the unique needs of this generation. Staffing firms can help find the right candidates by conveying their client’s flexible work options early in the recruiting process, if the hiring company offers this as an option.

Your staffing firm could also take a proactive stance and present the value of adopting this type of policy and measure results to prove its worth over time. As we know, it costs a lot to hire, train and retain just one employee. By offering flexibility as a core hiring strategy, you may be able to greatly increase the long-term value of a new hire.

Attracting the “Best of the Best”
Companies need to recognize the priority millennials place on flexibility and fulfilling their social needs both at work and at home. Setting realistic expectations of career paths and advancement opportunities is crucial to engaging this confident group. Those organizations that can tap into their desire to have a sense of purpose combined with work that challenges them, will be able to recruit and hire the best of this generation.

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Tim Giehll
Tim Giehll is chief marketing and strategy officer at Bond International Software. He can be reached at tim (dot) giehll (at) bond-us (dot) com.

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