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Recruiting millennials: Strategies for finding and hiring Gen Y

Recruiting millennials: Strategies for finding and hiring Gen Y

Congratulations — your employer branding has attracted the attention of candidates born between 1981 and 1996. Your next challenge? How to successfully recruit those millennials.

That’s the two-step recruiting dance that many businesses attempt these days. But when it comes to recruiting millennials, you can’t just use all the same old moves you’re used to. Here are some suggestions to help you switch things up and get those millennials to punch your company’s dance card:

Source candidates where they live

To recruit and hire top millennial candidates, begin at the source. For example, for Detroit Labs, that means finding out where their target talent spends time. “We go to places where the people we want will be, like user groups, conferences, and places where project managers hang out, including community events that we host in our office,” says Nathan Hughes, co-founder of the mobile app development firm.

And of course, one of the primary places millennials live is online. Approximately 86% of millennials use social media and a growing percentage of people use their mobile devices to search for and apply to jobs. This means, if you’re serious about recruiting millennials, you have to step up your employer branding, fine-tune your social media recruitment strategy and optimize your online presence for the mobile experience.

Prioritize diversity

But remember, if your sourcing methods are too focused on one spot, your hires may all end up sounding and looking like each other. That’s a strategic error at a time when American and global markets are becoming ever more heterogeneous.

“We do have a diverse workforce, but it’s not what we would like to see,” says Hughes. “We’re not necessarily pulling people from those who aren’t in the social networks or user groups that we frequent. So, we want to add to that mix to adjust it.”

It’s important to remember that many millennials value equality and diversity when choosing where to work. So, making those a priority at your organization and communicating that fact during your recruitment efforts are smart moves.

Sell current opportunities, not future potential

To persuade millennial candidates that you can provide the career environment they’re looking for, keep in mind that their time horizons are different from Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

“With millennials, we take a shorter-term approach,” says Christie Bell, HR director of accounting firm Porter Keadle Moore. “If we talked about the path to partner and spending a career at our firm, that would freak out millennial candidates. What they want to hear about is what can they do at our firm in one or two years.”

Instead of long-term potential, focus on work-life balance, the skills and experience they’ll gain at your company, and the ways your company can help them build up their resume and their network.

Make candidates members of your community

Keep in mind that millennials seek a strong sense of belonging from the moment they express interest in a job. How can you satisfy that need? Frequent and timely feedback throughout the recruiting and training process is a good start.

“As interns, they are evaluated each week, because — in our audit practice, for example — they move quickly from client to client,” says Bell. “Our interviewing is relationship based; it’s not about testing young candidates on the spot with technical challenges.”

Regardless of the potential or outcome of a candidate’s application, recruiters need to make efforts to improve the candidate experience. Let them know you received their application, keep them informed of their status throughout the process, and express gratitude for their interest in your company. Even if they aren’t selected, their positive interactions with your company won’t go to waste.

Millennials and benefits

When you speak with millennials about perks, remember what matters to them at this stage in their lives.

“For millennials, traditional benefits are an afterthought,” says Tracy Tenpenny, a sales executive and partner at Tailored Label Products. “Their approach to benefits isn’t necessarily to break down health insurance and retirement plans. It’s about having a wellness program, playing an active role with sustainability in the community — these are of much more value to millennials.”

Don’t leave out the info about traditional benefits and retirement plans — after all, Generation Y is all-too-familiar with debt and unemployment. But speak to their other top priorities, like the fact that they tend to be socially conscious, health conscious, and experience driven.

Do assess ability!

Recruiting millennials is about more than just selling them on your company. You also have to determine whether they have what it takes to stay on top of your company’s learning curve and make positive contributions.

Detroit Labs hires candidates who actually lack coding experience but can demonstrate their problem-solving potential, grit, and people skills — the soft skills. “We look at a few specific character traits: the ability to deconstruct complicated things into smaller bits and understand and manage those bits,” says Hughes. “We ask people to go through exercises to show that they can maintain forward progress while under intense pressure. We look for people who reach out to people rather than withdraw.”

Whether you use behavioral interview questions, personality questionnaires, skills tests, or role-play, you have to assess your millennial candidate’s ability to get the job done and fit in with your team.

Recruiting millennials with help from Monster

Millennials will soon constitute a majority of the workforce, and their Gen Z counterparts are not far behind. The modern recruiter has to pay special attention to their particular priorities and expectations in order to stay in the game. Get help recruiting millennials by signing up for Monster Hiring Solutions’ expert advice and the latest hiring trends.