20/05/2015

By Rory Jeffcock, Business Development Director at Futurestep

The Millennial generation — tech-savvy job-hopping do-gooders aged 18 to 34 — think about work and their careers differently than generations that have come before them in some fundamental ways. Recognising these differences and accounting for them in an organisation’s talent acquisition strategy will enable the business to attract and engage the best and brightest among them.

Here I will highlight trends unique to Millennials and discuss how businesses can adapt their recruitment strategies to better target this generation.

1. Meet them on mobile

The use of technology solutions has rapidly progressed in the recruitment space; especially where mobile is concerned. Data from job search engine Indeed found 62 percent of job seekers globally are searching and applying for jobs on a mobile device. What’s more, job-hunting apps are redefining the concept of the “job search”, targeting passive candidates and bringing open positions to them based on information collected from their LinkedIn profiles. Organisations must ensure they are meeting Millennials where they live. A mobile-friendly career site is a must, whilst investing in job search apps for mobile so open roles are visible to both active and passive job seekers can be a useful addition. Moreover, businesses may want to consider a career portal where candidates can upload their resumes and apply for openings with the touch of a button.

2. Have a social strategy

59 percent of Millennials currently use social media to find information — compared to only 29 percent of the plus 35 crowd. In addition to a company’s website, potential candidates will glean what they can from a prospective employer from social media. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are invaluable platforms from which a company can showcase its employer brand and market itself to potential candidates. Additionally, social media enables an organisation’s recruitment message to bet tailored based on the nature of the role. For instance, an oil and gas exploration company could target candidates for a marketing specialist position differently than they would those for a petroleum engineer position. So when it comes to social media it is important to develop a presence and take the time to work out what the business wants to communicate and how it wants to communicate it. This is why, when investing significant time, money and effort on social media recruitment strategies, organisations need to be sure their desired candidate group actually uses the social platforms being considered. As such, businesses need to spend time researching their target audience and their recruitment behaviours to ensure they are not building a white elephant.

3. Take a vested interest in their values

Millennials differ from preceding generations in the way they favour real-time feedback and expect flexible work schedules. If a departure from the traditional career review process runs counter to the company’s current culture, they must think about how encouraging managers to be mentors instead of bosses could facilitate consistent feedback. With three-quarters of Millennials saying flexible hours are the key to boosting productivity within their generation, fostering a culture focused on results rather than time spent at the office is key to attracting Millennials. Whilst adapting its recruitment strategy to address Millennial priorities will be critical to the organisation’s ability to recruit them, the brand message must remain authentic. Additionally, businesses should look to be bold and targeted in their rewards packages. For example, many progressive companies are offering incentives such as headphone allowances and office based bike tune-ups to attract and retain top digital talent, demonstrating how in tune they are with their target workforce’s values.

4. Embrace their entrepreneurial spirit

A recent Futurestep survey found compensation to be one of the least important factors for recruiting Millennials, who instead ranked their ability to make an impact and evidence of a clear path for advancement as top priorities — a reflection of the millennial generation’s entrepreneurial spirit. Where older generations expect their work to result in promotions and career advancement over a number of years, this new generation is known for seeking instant gratification and acknowledgement for their contribution to the business. Companies need to think about how rotational programs, leadership and talent development initiatives and international opportunities speak to Millennials’ desire for career advancement, and highlight these as aspects of the organisation.

5. Get on the #FemaleMillennial Bandwagon

Price Waterhouse Cooper’s recent report, ‘The female millennial: A new era of talent’, noted 86 percent of female Millennials said an employer’s policy on diversity and equality was important when deciding whether or not to work for them. However 71 percent of them felt that their employer’s diversity efforts fell short and opportunities were not equal for all. To better engage female Millennials, companies need to present their position on diversity as it truly is — even if progress still needs to be made. Strategies such as building talent communities for female candidates can provide a twofold benefit: it’s a proactive stance supporting women in the workforce and will provide the organisation with a pool of diverse talent.