How to recruit millennials

4 tips that form the backbone of a hiring strategy


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As a majority-millennial office, my company, Stax Consulting, is regularly in the market looking to hire top talent in the generation. I work closely with our HR team on our university recruiting and am also involved in our ongoing recruiting marketing initiatives and candidate interviewing. 

Between my time interacting with potential candidates as well as the other aspects of our recruiting, there are four important takeaways related to how millennials search for jobs and interview. Alongside those takeaways, I’ve also added guiding questions on how a company can optimize the experience for millennial candidates or the millennial perspectives at each stage:

1. Online presence is the first — and can be the last — interaction with the company: We grew up in the digital world and the first stop in a job search is the Internet. Glassdoor, LinkedIn and aggregated job-searching sites serve as the foundation of finding openings and learning about a company. Outdated websites, poor company reviews, or inadequate SEO can influence the decision to apply or not before a company ever has the chance to interact with a candidate. Is the company’s website up to date and mobile-friendly? Is the company’s presence on review sites a fair representation of the day-to-day life? Have steps been taken to address any potential issues, and has this been communicated to potential job seekers that read the review?

2. Candidates can be reached through non-traditional channels: Job boards and postings are a source of employment opportunities, but not the only source. Traditionally seen as peer-to-peer communications tools, social media is an influential channel to learn about companies and their culture. Seeing an interesting piece of content posted by a company can spark interest in the company itself. Every digital touch point, formal or not, creates an impression and helps a candidate draw a clearer picture of the company they would join. What type of content is the company posting – is it interesting to me? What types of employee engagement activities does the company have? What can I learn about the culture by the way the company is portraying itself online? 

3. Speak their language and understand the value drivers: The topic of a job description has historically focused on the job – with good reason. Millennials are just as concerned with who we’re working for and how the role fits into the company as the work that we’re actually doing. In addition, we’re forward-looking in the sense that each move is a precursor to a future move. We want comfort that the company will balance our goals with those of the organization. How does the work make an impact on the organization? What are the skills built from being in this position? What’s the next step in the organization as a result of this job?

4. Create a positive interview experience: The interview process is reflective of the underlying organization. Rather than the tired old “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” ask about an interesting recent project undertaken or to walk through their thoughts on a company’s recent business challenge. In addition to a more engaging and interesting conversation, it gives greater visibility into a candidate’s critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities.

Also, understanding that hiring decisions can’t always be made quickly, frequent communication is key throughout the process. At each stage, the candidate is assessing if they want to uproot their career and switch jobs just as much as the company is evaluating the candidate themselves. Is the interview process set up to benefit the company or the interviewee? Are candidates continuously informed of the status of their application regardless of whether a decision has been made?

The above points are not necessarily revolutionary to the recruiting industry, but collectively they form the backbone of a millennial recruiting strategy. The human touch remains important, but it’s pushed back further in the process, with the digital components creating a first hurdle to overcome for companies. 

Ultimately, failing to have a cohesive and compelling digital presence can be an immediate red flag for millennial candidates and can be a costly misstep in creating top-of-funnel candidate opportunities. 

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