Overcoming the challenges of recruiting millennials

Last updated:
December 14, 2020
December 19, 2021
min read
Sim Samra
overcoming challenges
Table of contents

When some people think of millennials, they still picture teenagers or college students. Yet millennials are getting older and quickly dominating the workplace. In 2017, they made up a plurality of the American labor force.

They are expected to make up half of the United States workforce by the year 2030. Many of these workers have different values than their parents and grandparents did. Recruiting millennials thus requires new collaborative hiring strategies.

Who are millennials?

First, of course, you need to know who millennials are. They are typically defined as those born between 1989 and 2002. That means the youngest of them are around 18 years old, and the oldest ones are about 30.

  • Millennials and technology

Unlike older generations, millennials are reliant on new technology. They send an average of 20 texts each day, and 41% of them live in homes without landlines. Also, 14% of millennials use Twitter. Therefore, it is no surprise that 80% of them sleep with their phones next to their beds.

It would help if you thus took advantage of technology when recruiting millennials.

You may want to adjust or tweak your social media strategy. You should update your company branding for the internet age, as well. Also, keep in mind that many millennials apply for jobs using their cell phones. Therefore, you should make sure your company's website and overall online presence are optimized for mobile users.

  • Characteristics of millennials

While all millennials are different, many of them do share some important values. For starters, they don't care as much about money as their parents do. They primarily want to work for innovative companies that can make a difference in the world.

When recruiting millennials, keep in mind that they hope to grow and learn as they continue their careers. They want to be challenged by specific projects instead of doing the same monotonous work over and over again. They also are looking for jobs that let them express their creativity.

Since millennials are ambitious, it is perhaps no surprise that they have a knack for entrepreneurship. In fact, 27% of them are self-employed. One survey even found that 70% of millennials envision being their own boss in the future.

Finding millennials

Of course, before you start recruiting millennials, you have to know where they are. Find out where young professionals in your area hang out and advertise in those locations that you are hiring. Conferences and community events are great ways to spot emerging talent, as well.

  • Interviewing millennials

You may encounter some challenges in recruiting millennials due to their unique qualities. However, there are some strategies you can follow to get them interested in your workplace.

Because millennials are internet savvy, they can easily research your company before their job interviews. They don't just look up the basics of your business, either. They can also find out about your workplace culture and any previous employee complaints. They may even search your name in Google to see what they find.

When recruiting millennials, you thus need to prepare for any questions they may ask during the interview. It would help if you considered interviews as a two-way street rather than as an interrogation of a potential employee.

During the interview, you must demonstrate to the millennials that your workplace is a progressive and equitable environment. If there have been any well-publicized scandals in your company, reassure millennials that it won't happen again.

Millennials and diversity

For many millennials, an equitable and progressive workplace features a diverse group of employees. This diversity is something that young professionals value. You should thus bring in workers from a variety of different nationalities and backgrounds.

If you have statistics that show how diverse your company is, use those numbers when recruiting millennials. This diversity will also help your business compete on a global scale.

  • The sales pitch for millennials

During job interviews, millennials don't want to hear about long-term goals for the company. They want to know what will happen in their first year or two on the job. Many of them will panic if they think about staying in one job for several decades.

It would help if you instead focused on the benefits the millennials will receive. You can specifically mention the experience and skills they will learn that they can then put on their resumes. You may also want to discuss the network of industry contacts they will build.

Offering job perks can also help you with recruiting millennials. However, they are not only interested in retirement plans and unemployment packages. Instead, millennials care about things such as staying healthy and protecting the environment.

You should thus provide perks that appeal to these values. Consider making a wellness plan for all of your workers. Your company could also promote community service and sustainability. Even your older employees will appreciate these ideas.

Retaining millennials

Recruitment is only part of the challenge. You have to retain millennials for the long haul, as well. This is easier said than done since millennials are known for job-hopping. A recent Gallup poll found that 21% of millennials had changed jobs within the previous 12 months. Meanwhile, only half of the millennials strongly agreed that they planned to be working for their current employer in a year.

After recruiting millennials to your company, you need to find ways to keep them engaged. You can do this by giving them more control over their tasks. Millennials do not like to be micromanaged. Instead, make them feel like entrepreneurs in the office. Let them calculate their budgets and develop their marketing strategies.

Tell them that as long as they hit their productivity goals and deadlines, they don't have to work a certain number of hours each day. This will increase the chances of millennials staying with your business for several years.

It would help if you mentioned these policies as you are recruiting millennials, as well. A flexible work environment will appeal to the younger workers you are trying to bring to your company.

  • Evaluating millennial employees

Millennials also prefer instant feedback. After all, many of them grew up in the age of the internet, when the answers to simple questions were just a few clicks away. Traditional annual or semiannual performance reviews are thus not enough for them. In one survey, 80% of millennials said they preferred real-time criticism over waiting for regular performance reviews. It would be best if you thus communicated with millennials more frequently.

Offer to help them if they need it, and give them rewards if they come up with innovative strategies. Above all, make sure your feedback is clear and instructive so the employees know exactly what you want from them. This will make them happier and more likely to stick around.

This feedback loop should start when you are recruiting millennials. Contact them when you receive their application and update them throughout the hiring process. This will make them feel as if they are part of a community within your office.

Millennial recruitment doesn't have to be difficult. It just requires different strategies. By understanding what millennials value, you can get them to join your company and stay there for many years.

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