Tips For Recruiting Millennials

By Robert Jones
EAP Trainer, The Village Business Institute

To quote Bob Dylan, “The times they are a-changing.” This line, written in 1964, is a good description of the workplace right now. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, approximately 10,000 baby boomers reach the retirement age of 65 every day. Consider this statistic, and compare it with the estimation that the millennial generation will be 47% of the workforce by the year 2020. There is clearly a dramatic change coming to the workplace. In order to adjust for this dynamic, companies are going to have to make changes, beginning with how they recruit millennials. In a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 53% of human resource professionals acknowledge they have difficulties recruiting and hiring millennials.

The first thing that companies are going to have to understand is who millennials actually are, from a societal perspective. There are some perceptions that millennials are lazy, entitled, or anti-social, just to name a few. These perceptions are interesting when you consider what studies have shown are the various criteria millennials consider when accepting a position. For example, a PricewaterhouseCoopers International survey shows that the number one thing that millennials are looking for in an organization is the opportunity for personal development (65%), with starting pay ranked fourth at about 21%. The opportunity for development is related to the individual desire to learn and grow in the position with the hope of obtaining promotions either within the organization or in another. The millennial generation wants to create a future, and they are willing to work and move around to achieve their goals.

As millennials are entering the workforce, one of their biggest concerns is whether the organization has shared values. In order to determine this, millennials look to see if an organization is collaborative and engaging, if training opportunities are available, if there is a level of flexibility, and if there is a culture of open communication. They examine both the internal and external culture. The big question is, how does a company portray this to a potential employee?

There are five ways to increase visibility and entice millennials to your company. First, personalize your company’s brand. According to LinkedIn, 72% of millennials search online job boards for positions. Through the job boards, it is easy for them to review the organizational website to gain a better understanding of your organization. Millennials are trying to get an idea of the culture. This can be accomplished by posting pictures of teams actually working, offering glimpses into the day-to-day life of an employee. It is important to remember that millennials are attracted to digital maturity, so incorporating video interviews can be a powerful recruiting tool.

Second, make sure the image you portray is an accurate one. In other words, do people in the organization live by the mission, values, and expectations the organization is describing online? Millennials entering the job market may buy into the situation temporarily, but they will learn quickly what the actual culture is and then leave. So make sure that the portrayal of your organization is truthful because the millennials will be checking.

The third way to recruit is to use social media. Millennials are consumers of information and are willing to research organizations. Social media can make it easier for millennials to make an informed decision as long as the representation of the organization is true and accurate. Another advantage of employing social media is that it allows companies to get creative in their recruiting. For example, it might be effective to post videos of an intern’s experience working for the organization on YouTube or to document an employee’s first day on Instagram. These examples allow your organization to present the culture of the company to a specific generational group.

The fourth way to recruit millennials happens in the interview. Millennials want more than a one-on-one interaction in a boardroom. When a potential employee comes in for an interview, allow them the opportunity to meet with other members of the millennial generation and give them a tour of their potential workspace. In essence, let them make some connections within the organization. Another important factor in the interview phase is to make sure that all of their questions are answered during the process. This generation believes in the notion that they are interviewing the organization at the same time the organization is interviewing them. As previously stated, this generation seeks information and they will use this information to build a connection on a greater level.

Finally, there is a need to present the potential candidate with options for development. Of course, the compensation package is important because people need to have money and healthcare to survive. However, millennials are looking for opportunities to advance. They understand that to advance in their field they are going to need to develop their strengths by seeking certifications and attending conferences. Presenting them with these opportunities and informing them about how these opportunities would benefit their career growth can be enticing.

The workforce is changing because the young people that are entering it are changing it. There is concern and apprehension when it comes to millennials entering the workforce and making those changes. However, millennials are not afraid of work, they embrace technology, and they want collaboration. More importantly, they have expectations on how they want to live, and it is time that we prepare for them.


Robert Jones, Employee Assistance Program Trainer at The Village Business Institute

About the author
Robert Jones is an Employee Assistance Program Trainer with The Village Business Institute. Robert has a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in counseling and leadership. He also has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, and recently began working on his Educational Doctorate in Leadership.  Robert has nearly 20 years of experience in the hospitality field and has been doing freelance training for almost 10 years.