In less than a decade millennials will make up close to half of the workforce and that is projected to grow to 75% by 2025, underscoring the importance of recruiting and retaining this group of workers. Unlike generations before them, millennials, or people born between 1982 and 2002, aren’t out for lifetime job security but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about where they work, even if it’s only for a short period of time.
“Companies need to be thinking about the kind of environment and experience millennials want to have at work,” says Terri McClements, human capital leader at consulting firm PwC. “They want to feel connected to people. They want to feel some purpose in their work.”
Recruiting is tough for any level but when it comes to millennials, companies are having a rougher time. Older generations may be drawn to companies that will give them job security, but millennials are used to and expect to jump from job to job to further their career. “Millennials are going to be changing jobs every three years, “ says Kimberley Kasper, Chief Marketing Officer at Jobvite, the social recruiting service. “Because of the need to maintain a steady flow of employees, recruiters have to change how they look for people.” In the past recruiters were tasked with selling the position, focusing on things like salary and benefits. With millennials, recruiters have to sell the company and its culture first and foremost because that’s what matters to them. Yes they want a good salary and perks but they also want to have a say and make a difference. If the company itself isn’t making a difference with its product or service then millennials want to work for organizations that give back to the community.
When it comes to recruiting millennials companies have to do it all. They have to be on college campuses, at networking events and on social media if they want to attract the right talent. While many human resource professionals think this group of workers is more comfortable communicating via technology than in person, that couldn’t be the farther from the truth. In fact when it comes to job prospects or their career they prefer in person connections to the technology driven ones which is why companies have to adopt a multi-prong solution to recruiting millennials, says McClements.
Take college campus recruiting. McClements says the consulting firm hires a lot of college graduates partly because of their efforts on college campuses across the country. PwC tries to connect with students early on in their college career. “We want to start the relationship early so they understand the brand,” says McClements. PwC doesn’t only forge relationships with student but reaches out to the faculty and the administrative heads of the universities. Let’s say PwC is looking to recruit engineers focused on the supply chain. Recruiters for the consulting firm will establish relationships with the department head and teachers, will go in and talk to the students about what the company does and provide case studies for the students to work on. “We are constantly on the campus developing relationships to help them understand what it’s like working for a firm like ours,” she says.
In addition to being ever present at the schools around the country, companies have to embrace social media if they want the attention of millennials. Even if millennials want that face-to-face interaction they will use the Internet and social media to do their job research. According to Kasper not only is it imperative that companies create and maintain Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and even YouTube pages, they have to sell their company on these social media channels. That could mean providing testimonials from employees, highlighting the culture of the company or showcasing how the company gives back to the community both on a local and national level. Social media is also important to build that word of mouth buzz that wouldn’t be possible without the Internet. “By using social media the company extends its reach,” says Kasper. “Their employees will be able to use social channels to drive that story out to all their friends on Facebook. If they see a job post and are able to share that with other people the potential to reach more people is so much greater.”