Top 4 Things Millennial Job Candidates Want

As marketing communications professionals, we know we have to understand what motivates Millennials so we can communicate our value effectively. Hiring and recruiting face a similar obligation, and we have to figure out Gen Y (and Gen Z, since they’re entering the workforce now, too) in order to fit the right candidate into crucial roles.

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As communications become predominantly digital, as some firms resort to algorithms to find candidates, as submissions come via email, and as interviews exist first on the phone, then via video, hiring managers have a lot to learn about accommodating the styles and preferences of four generations.

Below are four ways to focus your approach and offerings to effectively engage with and hire Millennials.

1. Meaning

Chief among the aspirations of younger workers is work that makes a difference, for a company that stands for something. Millennials won’t commit to their job unless it has inherent worth and meaning. So talk about your business’s mission, demonstrate your engagement in workplace giving and volunteerism, and tout your pro bono work. Gen Y is drawn to companies that engage in bigger picture and for-good work, so show off whatever you have (or do better in the change-the-world arena, starting now).

2. Opportunity for Growth

Dead-end jobs are pointless to Gen Y, whose entrepreneurial streak runs both wide and deep through their sense of self. Millennials start their own businesses more often than any other generation. If you don’t offer them the opportunity to learn, grow, and advance, they’ll create their own opportunities (likely with a different organization). Map out with candidates and employees where their skills and your organization can grow together. Help them see there’s more than one path, and make clear what kind of work you value enough to reward. Make it clear your company values contributions and focused engagement, and Gen Y candidates and employees will be more willing to choose you over the competition.

3. Health and Wellness

According to a recent Washington Post research summary, Millennials are more keen to cultivate and maintain good health than previous generations. And this shows up in HR departments as requests for strong health care, fitness, and wellness programs at work. As I mentioned in a previous post, offering onsite yoga or offsite gym memberships is a simple, effective way to get younger workers to accept job offers and stay healthy while they work. A Business Journal article noting similarities and differences between Gens Y and Z suggests that health and wellness programs are far more important even than that paragon of Millennial stereotypical desires: work flexibility.

4. Flexibility

We all know that Gen Y prefers workplace environments and structures that allow flexibility in how, when, and where they work. Beyond a flexible workplace and a malleable work day, though, 20- and 30-somethings want to see that you’re willing to make exceptions when warranted. A new designer who has a gorgeous portfolio but less client experience than you’d like? That leap of faith might be worth the chance. A strategist who shows great thinking but doesn’t have the software skills you require? Show that you’re willing to train when a candidate is worth it. You don’t have to bend over backwards to include someone who isn’t a fit or lacks a significant number of your required skills. But you would be foolish to stick to hard-and-fast rules at the expense of a great hire who is missing a piece (including a degree), the substance of which is easily learned or which doesn’t actually factor into how they can succeed with your organization. In the same way that you should be willing to accommodate older workers with voluminous experience and fabulous people skills even if they need some work on their social media savvy, show that you care more about thinking and effort than resume and you might find a better fit with all your job candidates.

For the data behind these tips, see:
The Washington Post article widely circulated this week
An article from Business News Daily that was picked up by Mashable.
And a Business Journal post on the intersections and divergences between Gens Y and Z

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