Amy Edwards: How to make your job vacancies appeal to Generation Y

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Also known as ‘Millenials’ or the ‘Millenial Generation’, Generation Y tends to refer to anyone born between the years of 1982 and 2004 – which makes it easily one of the largest sections of society in terms of marketing and promotion.

That said; it’s no wonder that businesses of all shapes and sizes struggle to make their business and job vacancies appeal to Gen Y when the time comes to recruit – the problem being that ‘Gen Y’ is just so huge and diverse.

As I said at the start, Generation Y tends to refer to anyone aged between 32 and 10 – which represents an incredible 22 year gap – all the way from a primary school child to someone in the middle of their career.  When you consider that, appealing to all of Gen Y at any one time seems practically impossible – and if we’re being honest, it is.

If we’re looking at it from a recruitment perspective, we can probably cut that down to 16 and 32 – but even that leaves us with a huge, incredibly diverse target market to try and appeal to in terms of behaviour, tastes, preferences and opportunities.

Here at Bubble, Gen Y represents the majority of our target audience – so we’ve had to create our whole marketing plan and strategy around this section of society. It’s our job to market the digital job vacancies our clients post on our jobs board to Gen Y – and to try and generate interest and drive applications – so it’s safe to say we’ve picked up a few tricks and insights along the way.

Just to clarify; we’re not saying that Gen Y is our only target audience – but since the majority of our roles are entry-mid level and call for what’s known as ‘digital natives’ (ie. members of Gen Y who already have the existing digital skills employers are looking for), we feel we’ve got enough experience to share what we’ve learnt and what we advise our clients when they choose to advertise on Bubble.

So just how do you make your business and employment opportunities appeal to job seekers aged from 16 to 32? Well, believe it or not, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer – and it really comes down to what your business has to offer and the type of candidate you’re looking for.

When trying to make your vacancies appeal to Gen Y, think carefully about whom you are as a business, what particular subsection of Generation Y you’re looking to target (chances are you’ll only be looking to target one particular subsection at a time) – and what would make you feel attracted to a particular company or vacancy if you were that age. Think about the ideal candidate’s lifestyle, wants, needs and career aspirations – and keep that in mind when marketing your business and vacancies.

When trying to market your business and individuals to Gen Y, there are a number of key things you need to remember, no matter which subsection you’re looking for candidates in.

Choose The Right Language

Think you need to use ‘cool’ language to appeal to Gen Y? Well, you do… but probably not to the extent you think! When it comes to Gen Y, it’s all about striking the right balance between formal and casual – so try and use approachable language – but avoid words such as ‘funky’, ‘trendy’ or ‘cool’ – as you’ll just alienate candidates who’ll view this kind of language as cringe-worthy.

Give Gen Y A Reason To Apply

Think about what makes your business unique and what qualities you think will appeal to Gen Y and be sure emphasise them in your job advert/on your company careers page. Is it the fact you’ve got a great training scheme available? You offer 25 days holiday and a subsidised gym membership? You’re a new and upcoming start-up? Or the fact your company has a prestigious heritage and has got big plans for the future?

Like I said earlier, try and think about your company objectively and consider what the most appealing aspects are, particularly from the point of view of someone who’s fairly early on in their career. Once you’ve worked this out, try and shape your advert around this – and try and tailor every sentence in your job advert to appeal to your target audience.

Choose The Right Platform

Just like any other form of marketing, when it comes to promoting your business and your vacancies, it’s all about choosing the right platform and solution. When considering job boards, consider the average age of the candidates the job board has in their database (any good job board should have this to hand and be happy to share it), its main target audience and how they market vacancies to their audience – even if you don’t decide to use them in the end, at least you’ll have an insight into their strategy which you should be able to adapt for your own business.

Have A Recruitment ‘Face’ For Your Business

If you’re trying to appeal to Gen Y and you want to make your business approachable, I’d definitely advise you to have a ‘face’ for the recruitment side of your business. By this, I mean make it clear that there’s a real person with a real face and a name that Gen Y can approach with regards to working for your company – and make sure they have a presence on platforms like Twitter and Facebook – the main social networks that Gen Y use. The less barriers you create to contacting your company about careers and opportunities, the more interest you should see.

Similarly, you need to make sure you’ve got a presence on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for your general business too – and you need to ensure you’re sharing not only your own personal business news but general industry news and local news that might interest Gen Y too. This way, you’ll make your business relevant to Gen Y from the off – so potential candidates will already be familiar with your business before any job opportunities arise.

That said, when you do have vacancies, be sure to share them on the major social media platforms and be sure to use relevant hashtags to try and reach a wider audience – but be careful not to spam. Use a maximum of two hashtags in each tweet and share the vacancies on Facebook and Twitter no more than twice each week.

Don’t Try Too Hard

Last but not least, when trying to appeal to Gen Y, the worst thing a company can do in my opinion is try too hard – it’s a bit like your Mum trying to be cool – a little bit cringe-worthy and embarrassing – I’m guessing not the look your company is trying to go for!

As I mentioned before, you need to think carefully about the language you choose both in your job advert and on your company careers page, the marketing material you produce and the material you put out on things like social media. Again, it’s all about striking the right balance between ‘cool’ and ‘unapproachable’ – and this can all be influenced by the language you choose, the platform you select and the approach you take. Remember, sometimes less is more!

If in doubt, test your job adverts and your marketing material out on a couple of members of Gen Y that are the same age as the candidates/customers you’re looking to target – you must know some either through family or friends! These people should be able to give you an honest review of what you’ve created and should be able to give you some invaluable tips and constructive criticism which could help to transform your overall marketing and recruitment strategy.

Amy Edwards is the SEO Manager for Bubble Jobs

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  1. The word is ‘millennial’

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