Recruiting Millennials: 10 Things You Need to Know

millennials.pngThere’s no time to brace yourself for the arrival of millenials to the workforce: they’re already here.

The Bureau of Labor rightly predicted that, by 2015, millenials would make up a majority of the workforce. By May of that year, adults ages 18 to 34 outnumbered Generation X’ers — those born between the early 1960s and mid-1970s) — and Baby Boomers. In fact, by the time the Pew Research Center released this analysis of U.S. Census data, every third person in the workforce was a millennial.

Because they’re here to stay, it’s important now to tailor your recruiting to suit the millennial mindset. If you’re not of their generation, it might seem hard to understand them, especially when they sometimes get a bad rap in the public eye. Some see them as entitled, lazy and distracted, but that’s simply not the case. They’re smart, creative and ready to give your business a breath of fresh air, but you have to know how to recruit them.

Here are 10 things you need to know so you can do it successfully — and work symbiotically with the workforce’s youngest generation:

1. Look Past the ‘Experience’ Section

Not every millennial is going to leave college with multiple internships or part-time jobs. But you might find that, if you look past the ‘Experience’ section on their resumes, you’ll find knowledge and skills applicable to the job at hand.

For one thing, millennials are on track to be the most educated generation thus far. As of 2015, millennial women were four times as likely as women of the Silent generation (born between 1929 and 1945) to have a college degree. Compared to the same generation, men have almost doubled their likelihood to have the same diploma.

Because they have these degrees, it shows that millennials have the smarts and the drive to tackle a new job, task or concept, even if they don’t have the lengthy experience of another older candidate. In fact, you might just find an entry-level millennial is more eager to step into your business and work hard in order to move onward and upward.

2. Don’t Search for Them in the Traditional Places

You won’t have much luck if you go out of your way to headhunt millenials. Instead, you should let them come to you. They’re part of an incredibly tech-savvy generation, and want to do their own research in finding you. They expect the application to be easy, too: 43 percent believe they should be able to apply for jobs via tablet, while 39 percent think they should be able to do so by smartphone, according to the Center for Generational Kinetics.

And, while millenials love to search organically for jobs and apply for positions and companies that speak to their interests, they do not like to be recruited. In fact, many have said that recruiting feels as though someone is trying to push a not-so-good job to them, so tread lightly.

3. Interviews Don’t Have to Be Intense

Millennials do their homework before they arrive for an interview, because they won’t just work for anyone (more on that later). So, before you call a millennial into your office for an interview, you should do as much background research as possible so that you know the person before he or she walks through the door.

Because you’ve both done plenty of prep work and seem to know already whether it’s going to be a good or bad fit, you don’t need to put your millennial through as long of an interview process as you might normally. If you feel like you still need to have a handful of talks before a final in-person interview and offer, go digital: 41 percent of millennials prefer to communicate electronically, rather than face-to-face.

4. Millenials Want to Move Up and Out

As previously mentioned, millenials are smart — and they will use their knowledge to their advantage. They’re known to bounce from job to job, leveraging experience and education to get something better each time. Employers have experienced this first-hand, with 30 percent losing 15 percent or more of their millennial employees within a year of hiring them.

Again, millenials do this because they constantly want to do more. One way to keep your millenials on board is to give them more opportunities to work their way up the corporate ladder, which will keep them engaged and motivated.

Your millennial hires might also want to use their work as a way to travel nationally and internationally. A survey by Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed that 71 percent of millenials would like to work abroad, so be sure to pitch any such opportunity to the younger crowd first.

5. Millennials Live for Feedback

Millennials share their lives online and are handsomely rewarded in the form of Facebook likes, Twitter re-tweets and text messages sent back and forth within seconds. They expect the same kind of attention at work.

In order to help your millennial employee adjust to your office, give them plenty of face time and critiques in order to shape them into more effective and successful workers. Millenials will typically want 50 percent more feedback than the rest of your employees. In fact, the Harvard Business Review found that millenials prefer monthly feedback, while non-millenials would like to have sessions quarterly.

Make your critiques more frequent to keep your millennial happy — and hungry for an even better review next month.

6. Millennials Want to Make Friends

At one time, you might have attracted a new employee by highlighting the competitive nature of the office. Or, you might’ve peaked someone’s interest by saying everyone works individually on projects. None of this will work on a millennial.

That’s because millennials live to collaborate, and value the opportunity to do so. Eighty-eight percent would prefer to work somewhere collaborative instead of competitive. On top of that, the same survey revealed that millenials want “work-life integration.” It’s not necessarily a balance between the two, but a nice blend that means some aspects of work make it into the everyday, and vice-versa.

Hiring a handful of millenials will help them make friends and fulfill this desire.

7. Millennials Want Lives, Too

On a similar note, millennials typically do not want to devote themselves completely to their first jobs. Instead, they really value the idea that you can have a successful and healthy work-life balance.

One in three millennials would rather work somewhere where they had “social media freedom, device flexibility and work mobility” over their salary offer, according to the same Kenan-Flagler survey. Furthermore, they value a job with more than two weeks of vacation time as “very important,” said the same survey.

Giving them the opportunity to breathe could mean that you keep your millennial employees on board for a longer period of time.

8. You Might Not Be Their Only Employer

Millennials value entrepreneurship, and many of them put these types of skills to good use. First of all, 92 percent of millennials believe that entrepreneurial education is vital in today’s society. They put it to good use, too, with 30 percent of millenials saying they had a business in college. Many of them continue to work on the side and believe it’s easier than ever before to start a business, so that could be a big goal for millennials as well.

This means you should give your millennial employees the opportunity to forge their own paths within your office. A new take on a project or a new method for managing — who knows what type of ideas they’ll bring to the table?

9. Millenials Can Help You Recruit Other Millennials

Like we said, you shouldn’t headhunt for millennials. But, if they’re not applying for jobs within your company, how are you supposed to get them onto your staff?

Ask your current employees — especially those who are millennials themselves — if they know any young people in search of employment. Everyone knows that networking is the best way to obtain a position — in fact, a recent LinkedIn survey found that 85 percent of all jobs are filled this way. By reaching out and spreading the word, you could contribute to making this statistic even higher in the next survey.

10. They Want Their Work to Matter

Millennials, it seems, have one major requirement when it comes to choosing a company for which they will work: they want it to make an impact and make the world a better place. The same Kenan-Flagler survey referenced above revealed that more millennials value a job that incorporates meaningful work over one that has high pay. 25 percent of respondents in the same survey said they wanted to feel a sense of accomplishment, as well.

As for your company, make sure something about it contributes to the greater good of society, and that you can easily point millennials to that information after an interview. One study showed that 78 percent of millennials believe it’s a company’s responsibility to give back to social or environmental causes.

Millennials even want to make sure they will have the opportunity to give back, too, with 55 percent saying that the opportunity to give back through volunteering opportunities at work would affect their decision to accept or decline an offer.

Work for Millenials and They’ll Work for You

There’s a reason you want to attract more millennials to your staff: they have fresh eyes, they’re smart, they work hard and they innovate. Their youthful energy and array of viewpoints will only enrich the environment in which you work.

So who cares if they like to take selfies or tend to bounce around to find better jobs? If everyone had the millennial drive to be equal parts fun and successful, the world would be a much more productive — and happy — place.

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum

Sarah is the founder of Punched Clocks and a contributing writer at Forbes, Business.com, and more.