5 Essential Recruiting Strategies for a New Generation

As recruiters begin to grapple with the influx of Millennial talent into the workforce, many are finding that their tried-and-true tactics and strategies don’t seem to be as effective as they had been for previous generations.

By Evan H. Lesser
It’s no secret this generation has ushered in sweeping changes in the ways we communicate, socialize, work, and prioritize. Millennials are mobile and dynamic, and they expect instantaneous communication and a job that aligns with their values and lifestyle.
As a result, recruiters are having to learn a new approach that speaks to Millennials in a language that they understand, and in many cases, using entirely new media to reach them. Here are five ways Millennials have changed the recruiting process and some tips on how to adapt to meet these new demands.
1) Recognition and purpose trump compensation as incentives.
Millennials want a sense of purpose in their work, and they have a strong desire to be recognized for their contributions and accomplishments. For many, that means a great job is defined by a workplace that supports their ideals and desire to make a difference in the world and not by a salary and benefits package. In fact, 83% of Millennials say they are willing to accept lower pay to work for a company with a great reputation.
That means recruiters must shift their employment branding tactics to focus on showcasing a company culture that enables employees to grow as an individual and to contribute to the greater good. Providing a flexible work environment that allows for creative pursuits, volunteer work, and a healthy work/life balance is also an important benefit that carries far more weight with Millennials than bonuses or profit-sharing.
2) They’re savvy consumers.
Just as shoppers would check out product ratings and reviews on multiple sources before they decide to buy, Millennials are also doing the same with prospective employers. Not only are they researching on sites like Glassdoor® and others, but they’re also following what happens on Twitter and Instagram to get a sense of company culture and what it’s like to work for a given company—through both official accounts and the personal accounts of employees.
And, because they care what their peers think, Millennials will gravitate toward companies doing good things that make them look good as a result. For recruiters, promoting an energetic and exciting company culture can be a strong contributor to success.
But it also goes beyond recruiting, carrying over into customer service—companies like Zappos, Comcast®,®, and American Airlines have become well known for their real-time and proactive approach to customer care over Twitter, and potential employees are watching. After all, how a company cares for its customers is a great indication of how it cares for its employees.
3) Personalization is paramount.
Millennials have grown up in an era of personalization, where their favorite retailers, brands, and social sites have cultivated an experience customized for their unique likes, interests, and behaviors primarily from data they’ve gathered through Millennials’ online and mobile activities. As a result, they expect the same from recruiters—the bulk send from a generic e-mail account is not going to cut it.
Leveraging social networking and behavior data as part of your recruiting strategy to personalize outreach is critical to deliver the one-to-one communication Millennials have come to expect. For example, rather than a batch-and-blast approach about a new open position, instead have someone in that department or skill sector reach out personally to top prospects to build a relationship, establish relevancy, and create a personal connection.
4) Media matters.
Most companies rely on e-mail as a primary engagement tool for recruiting. However, just as the landline telephone has become nearly obsolete, Millennials have moved on from e-mail to more immediate and social communication platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, and texting. That means messages sent via the wrong channel (e-mail) could go completely unnoticed, or if they are received, give the impression that your company is “old school” and behind the times.
Again, perception is critical, and Millennials expect any company they’d consider working for to be on the cutting edge of technology. Recruiters must learn to leverage these new social platforms to reach their target audience at the right time, in the right place, over the channels they already use, and in much the same way marketers would choose advertising channels.
5) Creativity is key.
Because Millennials have always lived in the YouTube era—and now the Snapchat and Instagram era—they’re accustomed to showmanship, creativity, and memes that create a memorable impression. It takes an unconventional approach to get their attention.
In the current healthy job market, this is even more important, especially when it comes to wooing passive candidates who will need to see some serious pizzazz and excitement coming from your company in order to consider leaving their current position.
This means you’ll have to think outside the box in order to make your employment value proposal enticing. Invite programmer prospects in for a hackathon or participate in a public community service project. Spread the word about a cause that you’re sponsoring or a fundraising event you’ll be participating in with a unique twist. Not only does it showcase your corporate citizenship, but it also shows your creative edge.
Millennials are looking for a dynamic work environment that enables them to pursue both career and lifestyle goals. They want an employer that understands their need for purpose and gives them the opportunity to pursue meaningful work that they feel invested in.
Recruiters who can engage Millennials with this employment brand message over the modern, social channels that this generation uses every day will build a candidate pipeline that’s overflowing with high-demand talent and hard-to-find skills.