According to Bullhorn’s Global Recruitment Insights and Data (GRID), 45per cent of UK recruiters consider Millennials the most difficult generation to reach, engage with, and ultimately hire. Hot on their heels are post-Millennials, cited by 23 per cent.
And if recruiters aren’t up to the challenge, they should work to change that. Millennials and post-Millennials are the next generation of business leaders, and they’re essential to the future of the workforce. Finding out what they want, how to hire them, and how to motivate them once hired is vital.
So, what do they want from their jobs? And how can recruiters and hiring managers do more to reach them?
Go through the right channels
Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) and post-Millennials (born after 1997) have grown up in the information age. As such, recruiters should reach out to them via channels such as mobile, search engines, and social media. Now, it’s a little obvious to say ‘Millennials use digital channels’, but it’s about making sure recruiters use the right channels – developing specific strategies to ensure a personalised, meaningful experience on all sides. They can do this by, for example, making it easier to find roles via Google, tailoring job posts to ensure they are returned on the results page for as many relevant candidate search terms as possible. Another approach might be using paid social media posts, which will get more responses, especially on popular platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. As these tactics become more important, so too does the need for recruiters to upskill in key digital marketing disciplines. To further aid this process, recruiters will need to assess which online channels are the best for reaching individual candidates, what types of content resonate with them the most, and even what time of the day to message them for the best chance of a response. Using a data-driven CRM system, you can track and analyse multi-channel interactions to reach a deeper understanding of candidate preferences and behaviour.
Technology can also simplify the early stages of the recruitment lifecycle – including sourcing and screening. For instance, rather than getting candidates to fill in tedious paper or online forms, recruiters can streamline initial interactions using chatbots for screening, video conferencing for first-stage interviews, and more.
Strengthen employer branding
In comparison to previous generations, Millennials place more value on working at a company with a good reputation. They entered the workplace around the beginning of the information age – a time when technology started to make it easier to find out more about prospective employers, and thus drove expectations of these employers higher.
Companies now need a reputation for doing excellent work. But they also need a reputation for treating employees well and for doing socially responsible work for the community. In addition, Millennials and post-Millennials are conscious of diversity and inclusiveness, so they will often seek out organisations that reflect these values.
As such, businesses must be aware of their reputation, especially online. Ideally, employees should be encouraged to post positive work experiences on social media. Companies that are active online can also engage with the public, giving them more control over how they are perceived.This idea of employer branding is especially crucial from a recruitment point of view. Recruiters need to sell the company, including its culture and benefits, as well as selling a role. And job descriptions should always use inclusive language to encourage applications from a diverse range of prospective candidates.
Support professional development
Millennials and post-Millennials are less likely to stay in a single job for life than previous generations. This is partly because many jobs do not seem to offer much room for growth or change. Thus, if recruiters want to attract Millennials to a role – and, just as importantly, encourage them to commit to a company – they will need to highlight opportunities for professional development. This includes training employees in their current roles, but it can also mean offering reskilling opportunities. This will appeal to many Millennials, who value knowing they have the option to retrain and change roles or take on new challenges within a company.
As a result, recruitment is now more about hiring for potential than specific skills. And while investing in in-house training may seem like a big financial outlay, it can save companies a lot of time and money over the years by reducing staff turnover. It’s also useful in terms of training staff in specific skills that are projected to be more important in the future – a lot of the jobs you’re looking for now might not have existed five years ago, and the same principle will apply five years from now.
Ensure work-life balance
Perhaps most of all, Millennials value jobs that offer freedom and flexibility. They want work that is rewarding, but they also want to enjoy their personal lives. And for many younger people, this makes the traditional nine-to-five routine unappealing. Companies should therefore consider offering flexible working hours, or even chances to work from home, if they want to attract millennial and post-millennial candidates. Employers can also provide benefits that improve the work–life balance of employees. Google, for example, offers employee perks such as on-site healthcare, company shuttles, and financial help after the birth of a child, which all appeal to Millennials and post-Millennials.
Recruiters should therefore focus on the quality of life a role offers, not just remuneration.
Generational divides in the workplace
Millennials and post-Millennials now make up the largest section of the workforce. And this is going to increase in the coming years. As such, recruiters need to appeal to younger people. And companies need to provide flexible, rewarding roles that appeal to Millennials. However, this does not mean that recruiters should ignore older groups when setting hiring policies, of course. Skilled Baby Boomers and Generation Xers remain crucial in many settings, especially when recruiting for leadership roles that require specialist skills, a certain depth of experience, or the ability to mentor and train others. But we must think about what Millennials want from their careers and what motivates them when seeking a new role. This will help us to implement hiring policies that appeal to all generations, no matter how young or old.