Recruiting, Talent

Millennials Aren’t Disruptive—They’re Innovating the Hiring Process

You’re probably sick of hearing about Millennial workers, and as a Millennial, so am I! Fortunately, Generation Z is starting to enter the workforce, which means we can all turn our attention to attracting and retaining this new group of workers. But before we completely write off Millennial talent, I’ll share a few strategies some companies are using to successfully recruit and retain these workers.


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In a recent Spark Hire webinar, “Companies Killing the Millennial Hiring Game,” Josh Tolan, CEO and Founder of Spark Hire, joined a panel of talent acquisition professionals to discuss how their companies are successfully recruiting Millennial talent.

Before we dive into some of the most effective hiring strategies, I want to share this key takeaway from this webinar: Stop calling Millennials disruptive! Sure, they may have disrupted the hiring process when they first entered the workforce, but now that employers have adapted to their presence, the workplace is, overall, a better place.

Employers across the country are now more focused on culture and engagement rather than the bottom line and revenue, which is creating a happier workforce. And as we know, happy workers are productive workers. So, let’s move on to the juicy “secrets” you came here to read about!

Change Your Outreach Methods

As mentioned above, this webinar included a panel discussion featuring Tolan; JD Conway, Director of Talent Acquisition at BambooHR; and Amyra Rand, Vice President of Sales and Strategic Partnerships at Criteria Corp. Each participant was asked a series of questions related to his or her hiring practices for recruiting Millennials. The first question that was asked was: How has your candidate outreach process had to adapt to Millennial expectations/attitudes?

For Tolan, his company had to switch over to text messaging vs. standard phone calls. Tolan offered this advice to the audience: Get a pulse on what your messages should say by polling your current staff. Focus on what’s important to them, and then build that into your outreach efforts. He added that third-party validation is critical and that most Millennials make their decisions based on social proof.

Rand’s company focuses on highlighting the learning and development opportunities, as this appeals to the Millennial generation more so than previous age groups. Rand suggested highlighting how a candidate can grow and develop with your company during the interview process and communicating how your company serves a greater purpose to the community, as corporate responsibility is becoming even more important to the Millennial generation.

Conway started by expressing how important the quality of communication is. He said to be transparent about expectations in your outreach efforts and to adapt that transparency as needed. He said, “Tell the candidate, ‘here are our struggles as a company and here’s how you can make it better.’” He added that you need to be deliberate in what you own (like owning your mistakes), and you need to allow the candidate to opt into these areas.

Basically, you should be up front about what your company is struggling with so candidates know what they’re getting into. You’ll reduce turnover by being transparent because candidates will be aware of problems or issues right from day 1.

The Benefits Game Continues to Evolve

The panel also discussed the types of perks and benefits that appeal to Millennials. If you thought nap pods and happy hours, think again. Millennials want a good culture—and not one that’s filled with just games and slacking off; they want something meaningful.

You may be thinking, “But wait, didn’t Millennials start the whole ‘beer cart and ping pong table’ workplace culture movement?” Boy, that’s a mouthful. The Internship may have you believing that, but contrary to popular opinion, those perks aren’t as important.

Sure, those trendy perks are still there. Tolan explained how Spark Hire still does happy hours and picnics and also does a movie night, which he said is a huge hit. But the company prides itself on empowering employees to work autonomously, or independently, and it makes constant efforts to keep employees “in the know.”

Tolan explained how Millennials want a culture that allows for growth and gives them a sense of community, a place where employees enjoy going to work. Conway and Rand also agreed that culture has become one of the most important perks/benefits a company can offer, but they also stressed the importance of tangible perks and benefits that give workers independence outside of the office.

Conway advised the audience to be mindful of benefit offerings. For example, BambooHR is proud to offer employees a generous 401(k) match. As Conway put it, “we want to show our employees we care about them after they stop working for us.”

Rand said her company focuses on providing its workers with the work/life balance that is most important to them. If your employees want a better work/life balance, try offering flexible working arrangements, she advised.

As we know, trendy perks are always nice to have, but as the Millennial generation gets older, these perks won’t be enough. Millennials are buying houses and starting families and eventually will retire, too, which is why employers should be offering robust benefits packages that accommodate all stages of an employee’s life.

Digital Natives Crave Technology

Millennials and Gen Zs are the most technologically advanced workers yet, and this trend will only continue as technology grows and evolves. If you’re still making employees apply through physical paper applications, good luck hiring Millennials and Gen Z workers!

The panel of speakers discussed what types of technologies are successfully being used to recruit Millennial talent, which include video interviewing, social media outreach, and career websites. The panel agreed that these three areas were most important to this generation.

Conway said video interviewing applications have worked great for his company, but he didn’t offer much detail on why that is. Fortunately, Tolan chimed in and offered great tips for leveraging your social media pages.

Tolan explained that you should be using your social media channels to engage with Millennial talent. This helps leverage the “social proof” this generation craves. You can do this by creating company-branded content, such as videos that highlight what it’s like to work at your company, and you can then leverage the members of your existing workforce by having them share this content on their personal social media accounts. When employees share your company’s content, they’re saying to their friends and family, “Hey, look how cool my job is. Wouldn’t you like to work here, too?”

Rand also added that your career page or website should be using images of the diverse talent you’re trying to attract. Millennials and Gen Zs are more diverse than previous generations, so they expect to work at companies that are just as diverse. Using stock images of people who are the same age or ethnicity is not how you attract diverse talent.

To show how diverse your company is, use images of your actual employees on your company’s career page/site. By leveraging your existing workforce, you’ll also come across as more authentic to jobseekers and, in turn, verify your “social proof” that Millennials are always on the lookout for.

Once you ace the Millennial hiring game, you’ll be in good shape to start attracting the next generation of workers. As the panel has shown, Millennials aren’t disruptive; they’re the pioneers of “out with the old; in with the new.” And if you aren’t “in with the new,” you’re missing out on hiring all generations of new workers.

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