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 dance to your company’s rhythm.

Source Candidates Where They Live

To recruit and hire top millennial candidates, begin at the source. For mobile app development firm Detroit Labs, that means finding out where their target talent spends time. Detroit Labs co-founder Nathan Hughes says they source candidates by going to user groups, conferences, and places where project managers hang out, including community events hosted at their offices.

Of course, one of the primary places millennials live is online. Approximately 86 percent 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.

Make sure you’re reaching out to a variety of communities, including professional networks that cater to minorities, women, and other such groups. When evaluating candidates, behavioral interviews are an effective way to gauge their values and ability to work within a diverse organization.

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.

Christie Bell, HR director of accounting firm Porter Keadle Moore, says they take a shorter-term approach by focusing on what they can do at the firm in a year or two. “If we talked about the path to partner and spending a career at our firm, that would freak out millennial candidates,” she says.

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.

Since Porter Keadle Moore’s interns move quickly from client to client, they are evaluated on a regular basis, says Bell. Their interviews are more relationship based, she adds, as opposed to 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.

Traditional benefits are an afterthought for millennials, says Tracy Tenpenny, a sales executive and partner at Tailored Label Products. Their approach to benefits is less about breaking down health insurance and retirement plans and more about a having a broader wellness program and playing an active role with sustainability in the community.

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

Remember to Assess Their 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. For instance, they’ll look at specific character traits such as the ability to deconstruct complicated things into smaller bits and understand and manage those bits. They’ll ask people to go through exercises that show their ability to maintain forward progress while under intense pressure.

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.

Get the Right Tools for Recruiting Millennials and Building Your Workforce

As with job candidates from any generation, knowing how to connect to millennials is the key to recruitment. That means understanding their priorities and expectations. Whether you need to fill an immediate position or are developing a long-term recruiting strategy for your business, Monster has resources to keep your company competitive. Connect with us today for free access to the latest hiring trends, job market insights, and much more.