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A quick guide to recruiting millennials

By yu:talent

Exactly like their ancestors, the Baby Boomers and Generation X, Millennials are impacting the recruiting, hiring and managerial strategies. But, before even creating a plan to hire this generation, there is a need to understand their mind-set, their global approach to a career and their motivations. The generation who doesnt know the life before internet is resourceful and flexible, with a high level of digital literacy. Therefore, in order to search, attract and retain the millennials, forward-thinking recruiting companies need to invest in new sourcing tools and techniques.

Who are millennials and Gen Z?
Millennials or Generation Y are considered to be born from 1980s to the early 2000s. This demographic cohort following Generation X cannot be precisely placed on a time scale. Generation Z follows them, with individuals born around the mid or late 1990s or from the mid-2000s to the present day. One thing is for sure: in 2025, these two generations are going to make up 75% of the workforce, according to the Business and Professional Women's Foundation.

How are Millennials different than normal candidates?
Hated or loved, Gen Z and Millennials are a valuable workforce resource. With ages starting from 18 to 30, they are often considered narcissistic, entitled or hipsters. Some believe that millennials are not really loyal to organizations, but according to a researchmade by the Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL), they are just as loyal as any other generation has been in their 20s.

For staffing companies, recruiting Millennials equals having a highly skilled pool of available candidates, more likely to take assignments that experienced candidates would decline, with pay checks more realistic in the current economy. There are no hints that Millennials are easily exploitable, but a win-win situation, as Baby Boomers are walking into retirement at the rate of 10,000/day and Generation Z demographics spreads.

Tools and methods to recruit Millennials and Gen Z: 

1.       Get social: New generations are digitally literate from infancy, so recruiters need to be present on their playground: social media. Reports demonstrate that some of the largest companies worldwide already use social networking tools for candidate mining and advertising. Millennials are recruited with a various mix of media: LinkedIn, YouTube videos, microblogs, Facebook, Google +, Twitter, etc.
According to a research done by the Pew Internet Foundation (PIF) in 2013, 75% of Millennials maintain an active presence on social media sites, compared to only 41% of the total online population.

2.       Establish a credible relationship: The same study made by PIF shows that Millennials are five times more likely to leave their jobs if they have a poor relationship with their manager. The same rule applies to the recruiting process. While interviewing Millennials, there is a necessity of creating a trustful relationship. According to Sara Luther, Managing Partner at Human Resources Division, Millennials want feedback. Unlike many in the workforce, they want it informally; they want it frequently; they want specifics; they want praise and constructive criticism; and they want it now writes Sara in Targeting Gen-Y in Your Recruiting and Hiring.

3.       Know your audience: Extending the social media approach to a deeper level, recruiters have the benefits of following their potential candidates activities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Behance or Pinterest. Very often, Millennials are showcasing their online portfolios on those platforms. For a niched search, there are networks focused only on professional interests, like LinkedIn, Plaxo, Ryze and Networking for Professionals. However, this doesnt imply only posting jobs on these platforms, but producing useful and relevant content for potential candidates.

4.       Talk digitally: According to John Palfrey and Gasser Urs , the Digital Natives are born after 1980, when social digital technologies, such as Usenet and bulletin board systems, came online. They all have the skills to use digital technologies, so recruiters have to talk digitally in order to be understood. Millennials will do their research before applying to jobs, so its important that recruiters and their clients have a transparent reputation. The exponents of this generation will ask around, research on Glassdoor, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or even do sweatworking.

5.       Build a Community: Millennials are interested in opportunities to contribute, connect and grow. The next step after pitching millennials on social media is to create a community where they can openly discuss, where they can be advised by hiring managers or career consultants. In a Dice article, Lauren Smith, Director of Marketing for Ascendify, shares a valuable resource for hiring millennials: Recruiters can share applicable news, post openings, offer advice, make introductions, describe company culture, set expectations for the hiring process, and build credible relationships.

6.       Use flexible hours tool:  Millennials are not so eager to squeeze their life in an inflexible working program, so employers and recruiters should think about giving them options like: telecommuting, non-traditional working hours, or a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). In addition, interviewing via Skype is a good alternative method, undoubtedly saving both time and money. This shouldnt be seen as a sign of awkwardness, but Millennials are the first generation to embrace  the culture of flexible working. Therefore, they are less likely to be attracted to inflexible work patterns.

7.       Use Cloud Technologies: Generation Y individuals are quite dependant on technology. Funny enough, according to a studyordered by a car-sharing company, almost 40% of the Generation Y respondents said that losing their phone would be harder for them than losing their car. With this in mind, it's probably time to rethink recruiting with paper handouts and printed documents. In addition, the appetite of millennials towards mobile platforms increases the need of cloud based tools in recruiting.


Lets not get too hung up on calling them millennials, Generation Z or other names though. The tools and the ways or recruiting might have changed a little, but all in all, like Aram suggested in his Recruiting and Managing Millennials, the key is to find great people for the job, regardless of their age or generation.
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