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Recruiting Millennials: What the New Largest Cohort Wants in a Workplace

Posted by Edna Nakamoto on Aug 15, 2019 10:35:00 AM

Recruiting Millennials

Today, just about everyone is interested in how to recruit and retain millennials, i.e., the population born between 1981 and 1996. This year, millennials surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living population cohort, with more than 73 million of them in the marketplace. With the unemployment rate at its lowest rate since 1969, recruiting millennials should be an important part of any company’s hiring strategy.

Now that millennials are the largest demographic bloc in a work environment and are grown professionals, how should recruiters try to make their companies appealing to attract this talent?

Improve Recruiting with a Millennial-Friendly Hiring Process

While it might not always be wise to generalize an entire population cohort, millennials do have one unique characteristic that sets them apart from every other generation: They are the first generation in history to grow up as information technology natives. This, coupled with their sheer numbers, shifts the work world in some surprising ways.

The new cadre of workers is used to being digitally connected around the clock and has never known a time without the Internet. They communicate with family and friends via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and are accustomed to the immediate gratification that comes from the digital era. They are impatient with legacy technology platforms and readily embrace working from anywhere at any time.

PwC conducted a global survey to determine the best strategies for how to recruit and retain millennials. They found that this population:

  • Remains unconvinced that sacrificing work-life balance for long hours on the job is worth it;
  • Like all other population cohorts, millennials want greater flexibility in their work schedules;
  • Wants a strong, cohesive team at work, with the opportunity for advancement;
  • Does not expect job security from their company, and does not anticipate working at the same job for their entire careers.

While attracting millennials is the new business imperative, it’s still important to create a culture where you retain the best of each generation. Certainly, there are generational differences between millennials and non-millennials. PwC says millennials will leave a company if their needs for flexibility and career growth are not met, whereas non-millennials are more likely to leave if they perceive their pay isn’t competitive. However, all generations are negatively affected and will leave if their bosses are ineffective.

How to Recruit Millennials

Understanding how to recruit millennials will likely require a few shifts in your processes to reach this audience. Here are some ways to improve your candidate recruiting process to make it more millennial-friendly:

  • Go mobile-first is the number one thing you can do to reach this population. Most millennials browse job boards on their phones now, so if it’s a pain to apply through a mobile device, many won’t bother. Check to be sure your website is responsive enough to scale the careers page to the small screen. Make sure you’re posting jobs in a mobile-friendly way.
  • Improve your online job application systems so that it’s simpler and more intuitive to apply. If your online portal requires manual reformatting of data, has bugs, or fails to facilitate communication between your company and the job seeker, you’ll be more likely to lose your millennial audience.
  • Get good reviews on crowd-sourced review sites. Millennials trust these sites, so make it a best practice to solicit good reviews from customers and current and former employees. HR, marketing, and recruiting teams should monitor these sites regularly.
  • Have an active social presence that gives a prospective applicant a good sense of not just the work they’d be doing, but the company culture.

By far the best way to attract millennials is to create a culture in which they want to work. Here’s what millennials are looking for in their next job environment.

How to Build a Millennial-Friendly Workplace

“Millennials want to work for organizations that foster innovative thinking, develop their skills as leaders and wish to see them making a positive contribution to society. But many Millennials find business lacking in these areas.” - The Deloitte Millennial Survey

The best advice for recruiting millennials is to create an environment in which they want to work, and then promote that culture. This requires organizations to change their internal processes to better fit this cohort.

Millennials are looking toward their future career growth. Companies seeking to recruit and retain millennials should create more formalized career roadmaps for their new hires. Furthermore, organizations must build a more supportive work environment for learning, with regular feedback and opportunities that challenge and inspire young talent.

Here are some simple ways you can build a millennial-friendly workplace to quickly improve your chances of hiring and retaining this talent:

  • Provide actionable feedback, both positive and constructive;
  • Fully leverage technology for collaboration and execution;
  • Foster a creative culture where innovation is the norm;
  • Offer competitive pay and the opportunity to advance;
  • Support flexible hours and working from home, both of which millennials greatly enjoy;
  • Have a strong company culture that isn’t afraid to have fun – this doesn’t have to mean that the environment is unprofessional, just that it isn’t restrictive;
  • Stand for something. More than half of millennials appreciate ethical companies and like to work in socially conscious and mission-driven environments;
  • Offer training programs and good potential for growth.

Having an authentic and engaging culture with work that is meaningful will go a long way toward attracting and retaining top talent.

Preparing for Tomorrow’s Hiring Trends Today

By 2025, millennials will represent 75% of the working population. The growth of the millennial population is just one of the HR hiring trends impacting the workplace of the future. The challenge for HR teams is to shift legacy best practices to respond to the millennial population’s differing workplace values.

Creating strategies for recruiting, engaging, and retaining talented millennials should begin with your online application process. Having an outdated applicant tracking system will leave millennials with the impression that you’ve fallen behind. Contact TAM today to request a demo of a next-gen applicant system that will reach your targeted talent with the right tools to make you stand out.

Free Ebook: How an Applicant Tracking System Can Streamline Your Recruitment Process

Edna Nakamoto

Written by Edna Nakamoto