Recruiting Millennials: Strategies for Finding and Hiring Gen Y

A hiring manager utilizes tips for hiring millennials.

Currently, millennials (born 1981–1996) make up the majority of the U.S. labor force at 35%, followed closely by Generation X (1965–1980) at 33%. Generation Z (1997–2012) is the youngest generation and is just entering the workforce, representing just 5%, while Baby Boomers (1946–1964) have dwindled to 25%. As the older generations continue to retire, these generational gaps will only grow. This means that in the coming years, hiring millennials will become more of a necessity since they will represent the majority of the workforce for some time. Use these seven strategies to facilitate a smooth transition as you prepare for the next generation of workers.

Tips for Attracting and Hiring Millennials

Although millennials are often unfairly labeled as lazy and narcissistic, research shows they are some of the most educated and employed of the bunch. They care deeply about joining companies that:

  • Utilize technology in creative ways.
  • Invest in career advancement and personal growth.
  • Provide a flexible work environment.
  • Prioritize company culture.
  • Have a strong company purpose.
  • Offer a great benefits package.
  • Care about mental health and well-being.

Generation Z, who are entering the workforce closely on millennials’ heels, share many of the same workplace requirements. This means these issues will be at the forefront of recruiting millennials for some time. Here’s how to build a multigenerational team that will thrive for years to come.

1. Digitize Your Hiring Process

Millennials grew up in the age of the Internet and are more comfortable searching for jobs online than in person. Studies show that 85% of millennials use job search sites to hunt for their next job opportunity, and they are the most likely to also use search engines and social media to learn about companies.

If you’re serious about hiring millennials, step up your employer branding, fine-tune your social media recruitment strategy, and optimize your online presence for the mobile experience. When you make it easy for these tech-savvy candidates to submit their resumes and move through your hiring process, they are more likely to apply for and remain interested in the jobs you post.

2. Offer Ample Opportunities for Growth

Nearly 50% of millennials are living paycheck to paycheck, and 33% have taken on a side hustle in addition to their full-time work. Furthermore, with high levels of inflation and increased societal unrest, many have cost-of-living and retirement concerns. This means financial security — now and in the future — is big on their list.

Though low pay is the number one reason millennials have left previous positions, room for learning and growth is at the top of the list for choosing their next employer. When hiring millennials, clarify how your candidates can continue to advance at your company. Also, train managers to adopt more of a coaching than supervisor role and provide millennials with ample feedback. Showcase which skills you will help them build, be transparent about potential career-growth trajectories, and share your plans for that employee — not just for when you hire them, but for the future as well.

3. Provide a Flexible Work Environment

Though financial security is the biggest reason millennials will leave a company, a great work-life balance is the number one reason they choose to work for a company. Most millennials want to work remotely three to four days per week, but they also want the opportunity to come into the office to collaborate.

Consider transitioning to a hybrid work environment where employees can choose where and how they work. This gives millennials the chance to perform well at their job while spending more time with family and saving money on their commute.

4. Prioritize Company Culture

As one of the most diverse generations yet, millennials want to work for companies that embrace an inclusive work culture, celebrate diversity, and make employees feel valued. Reach out to a variety of communities, including professional networks that cater to underrepresented groups.

When evaluating candidates, behavioral interviews are an effective way to gauge their values and ability to work within a diverse organization. Make it clear that equality and diversity are a priority at your organization.

5. Have a Strong Company Purpose

Millennials often refuse to work for or buy from companies that don’t align with their values. This generation cares about diverse and inclusive cultures, environmental impacts, and income equality. Though these issues won’t necessarily prevent millennials from accepting your job offer, they can influence retention. Those who appreciate their employers’ impact on society and the environment are more likely to stay for more than five years.

When hiring millennials, show candidates what your business is doing to improve the world around them. Also, invite them to suggest ideas for how you can make an even greater impact.

6. Analyze Your Benefits and Perks

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

To improve your chances of hiring millennials, focus on benefits and perks that help them keep on top of their finances and health, such as a generous health insurance policy and 401k plan. Also consider other benefits, such as commuter reimbursement and unlimited sick days.

7. Provide Mental Wellness Support

Better mental health and wellness support is also top of mind for millennials. They report high levels of stress and burnout, which are reasons many quit.

Stay aware of workplace pressures, such as high workloads and relationships between managers and coworkers. Show that you value self-care by offering wellness days or connecting employees with mental-health resources such as employee assistance programs. Also, make sure your managers are leading by example.

Continue Building a Dynamic Workforce

When hiring millennials and improving your recruitment efforts, you need to understand their priorities and expectations. Whether you’re filling an immediate position or are developing a long-term recruiting strategy for your business, access a large pool of millennial candidates with a free job posting on Monster.