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Attract Millennials with your Employer Branding

Attract Millennials with your Employer Branding

By: John Rossheim

The first step to attract the best and brightest Millennials to your company is to tell a good story. After all, that's what their super-involved parents did for the first 2,000 nights of their kids' lives.

Rather than recalling a Harry Potter adventure, your book is titled, Why Our Company Offers You the Best. Opportunity. Ever.  Here’s how to reads:

Chapter 1:  Share your employer brand.
"Small businesses may not know they have an employment brand, but they do," says Cathy Taylor, a recruitment marketing consultant in Aurora, Ill.

Taylor is right: Whether the image of your company as an employer is defined by old-fashioned print help-wanted ads, a sophisticated all-media campaign or random raves and rants on Yelp and Glassdoor, Millennials will brand you by what they find, and quick.

"Keep in mind that many Millennials would rather work in a small company than a big one," says Taylor. "Even in your job descriptions, use phrases like, 'We offer a learning environment where you collaborate with a team, where you will be recognized for the work you do.’ "

Chapter 2: You have 3 seconds to set the hook for Millennials.
If your company doesn’t make a splash online, Millennials will find an employer that does.

“First impressions in the hiring process happen long before the first phone call or interview," says Ron Piccolo, a professor of management at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business.

And if you were born before 1980, you likely don't know enough about what will make your company’s value proposition a page-turner for Millennials.

“I recommend that employers identify their most engaged employees and ask them, ‘Why do you come to work every day?'" says Taylor. "The best brand ambassadors will say they are fulfilled by the work. Trust that they will tell the truth and allow them to tell it."

Do keep this in mind: If the career pages of your web site look and behave poorly on smartphones, Millennials will just say, "Next." Make sure you have a mobile recruiting strategy in place that meets their expectations.

Chapter 3: Millennials can amplify your employer brand.
Enough with the cautionary tales. Let's talk about how Millennials -- as the masters of their own mindset – can power up your recruitment of the new largest cohort of American workers.

"Empower Millennials to be your brand advocates," says Piccolo. "Millennials will happily amplify the great things your business is doing through their own social media platforms. The content and method of sharing should be consistent with your messaging -- which might mean having a menu that gives employees choices of what they communicate and how."

Your incumbent Millennial employees can also be valuable for performing reality checks on your recruitment pitch. "One branding strategy that can be effective is describing not just the company but its broader social and environmental impact," says Piccolo. The point is to highlight the unique characteristics that define your company brand.

Tune in to this Millennial podcast with Ron Piccolo and hear how today's Millennials think about their job search. 

Chapter 4: Remember where Millennials come from.
The final chapter of this primer on employer branding for Millennials is a reminder of where they came from: the millions of us who hail from previous generations of business owners. "We Boomers and Xers have inherited in the workplace the children we only recently finished bringing up," says Taylor. "It's just that they’ve always had someone who was encouraging them, so they expect that."

Do your Millennial candidates seem needy? Give them a break, at least until you get them in the interview chair.

"What attracts young folks today is structure and plan and forethought by a company or recruiter," says Piccolo. "The uncertainty of what will happen in their careers can be uncomfortable."

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