Looking to Recruit Millennials? Here's Where to Begin

A little while back I was interviewed by Christopher W. Hunt of Hunt Scanlon Media about how companies should be approaching the recruitment of millennials. Here is an excerpt from the article (you can view the entire article here):

"Recruiting Millennials: Where to Begin"

By Christopher W. Hunt

June 30, 2015

As employers strive to reach, engage, and hire Millennial talent, a new report out today by Findly outlines strategies for connecting with this demographic group that is, by most measures, highly educated, self-confident, absorbed by technology and ambitious.

According to Findly, Millennials are expected to represent 75 percent of the global workforce by 2020. Given the size of this generation, born between 1980 and 2000, as well as the upcoming exodus of Baby Boomers from the job market, there is a growing focus on recruiting and nurturing Millennial talent.

Smooch S. Reynolds, an executive recruiter with ZRG Partners, said that Millennials are in the driver’s seat when it comes to the future of business. “The way they interact digitally and revolve their lives around technology is completely reshaping how business is done,” she said. “As a result, companies are scrambling to keep up and establish best practices to thrive in a world that’s gone digital.” Ms. Reynolds said that one way this is being done is by simply employing Millennials, but some companies are finding this to be more difficult than they’d expected. “This generation is different from those preceding it. As a result of their digital lives, they’re given a transparent view into business,” said Ms. Reynolds. “In a way, Millennials are already dictating the direction of business through the use of constantly changing technology and digital platforms.”

"We’re starting to realize that Millennials don’t really think like us," said Ms. Reynolds, so how do we attract them to work for us and make them stick around? Surprisingly, the answer isn’t money. In order to understand them, say experts, we must first understand how Millennials approach their lives. According to Ms. Reynolds, they value experience over being able to pay the bills; they’re unwilling to sacrifice their personal lives for their professional lives; and they’re social beings (but not social in the normal sense) that like to emphasize digital.

What Millennials want isn’t some secret formula or obscure business practice; they want similar success to ours, however, “they frame the operating philosophy of their lives a bit differently,” said Ms. Reynolds. So here’s what you need to do in order to attract Millennials and keep them around – after all, they are the future of the world and business:

– Be Approachable: if you’re friendly, open, social and approachable, your employees (of all generations) will want to work for you.

Work/Life Balance: There’s been a noticeable shift in work/life balance towards the life side. Sometimes work requires extra hours outside the designated 9-5. Giving employees ample personal time makes that extra Saturday time commitment a pretty reasonable request. They don’t need to be in the office? Let them go early. It’ll pay off when you need something timely done over the weekend and they jump right on it.

Social Beings: Millennials grew up with constant exposure to social life through digital channels. They crave social interaction that’s bigger than group/team projects. Make your workplace a social atmosphere. Having a friend at work makes all the difference in the world, let alone an entire office of buddies.

– Life Stage: While compensation and benefits are important to a Millennial, these aren’t the key drivers or motivators of that entire generation. They value a job with good experience, a strong mentor and room for growth over a dead end job that pays what they perceive to be a paltry annual salary. They take directions well from management and look to you as a coach/mentor, so play the part. Just be careful not to overstep your bounds.

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