Keep up with the latest hiring trends!

The Millennial Bug: How To Successfully Recruit The "Me, Me, Me" Generation


Recruiters have millennials on their minds. It’s hardly surprising. Millennials (those born after 1980) are the most educated generation in history – almost half of UK millennials have at least one degree. They understand and welcome the technological innovations and globalisation reshaping the workplace. And they cannot be ignored, being on course to represent 75% of the global population within a decade.

Unfortunately, the percentage of recruiters who think sourcing and retaining millennials is easy is a lowly 14%. Millennials have a reputation as fickle, work-shy, and demanding. But Millennials’ differences are more superficial than they first appear. Recruiting them successfully isn’t so much about changing your pitch as repackaging it:

millennialBenefits Not Bonuses

Ever since Google unveiled their ‘productivity-enhancing’ nap pods, it can seem like every Millennial expects to be able to sleep on the job. It’s true that Millennials want perks like flexitime much more than older generations. But they don’t expect to have it all – in return for these perks, they’d forfeit an average $7,600 of annual salary. Companies with one eye on the bottom line should appreciate this shift in focus, particularly as working longer hours does not make employees any more productive.

When you’re pitching a role to Millennials, therefore, it’s worth focusing on the various benefits they can expect to enjoy. Convincing clients to open flexible working up to even new or low-level employees will also be an important factor in being able to recruit and retain the most talented Millennials.

millennialCulture Is Key

We spend half of our waking hours at work. Millennials insistence on a culture match (88% want to work for an employer with the same CSR values as themselves) is therefore not particularly outrageous. Because of this trait, however, recruiters need to do two things: (1) get a feel for your Millennial candidates’ opinions and values before you try to place them, and (2) impress on your clients the importance of employer branding. Without a clear understanding of the culture and values a company wish to project, it will be difficult to ensure which are a good fit for your Millennials.

While Millennials’ emphasis on shared valued makes it important to identify any social trigger points they may have, bear in mind this may not be information candidates will automatically divulge when you first reach out to them. Take the initiative by asking leading questions about the sort of culture they envision themselves working in, and encourage an open and non-judgemental discussion about their opinions on topics such as environmental policy or diversity programmes.

Bringing the personal into the professional may seem odd, but Millennials tend to regard the two as inseparable. They are strongly predisposed to vocalise any ethical disagreement: 61% of senior millennials have refused to do a task because it conflicted with their values. All recruiters know that placing a candidate is only half the battle, and focusing on finding them a workplace culture they enjoy can reduce the likelihood of dropouts by 15%.

employer brandSocial Media

The importance of social media in recruiting is hardly a secret, but when it comes to Millennials you may need to tweak your methods. Consider this: 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn in their job, but only 55% use Facebook. Meanwhile, 41% of millennials use Facebook every day but only 13% of them say the same for LinkedIn. You don’t have to be a genius to spot the problem!

Just like LinkedIn, Facebook has groups dedicated to particular industries or interests with easily accessible member lists. Just like LinkedIn, Facebook lets you know if you have a ‘connection’ with a candidate in the form of a mutual friend(s) who could be asked to introduce you. And just like LinkedIn, Facebook encourages users to list their current and previous places of work, which are easily searchable.

Consider utilising more novel social networks as well. Millennials are famously techie and informal. 60% of them would rather watch a company video than read a newsletter, yet the number of recruiters using more informal video platforms is dismal – 21% use YouTube, 13% Instagram and only 3% Snapchat.

millennialLook to Create Long-Term Relationships

When it comes to job tenure, Millennials are an unusually restless generation. When asked when they planned to leave their current job, a quarter of them said in under a year, almost half said in under two years, and a whopping two-thirds said by 2020. This restlessness remained even when the economic climate was factored out and was as true among senior staff as their entry-level counterparts. While investment and mentorship can help retention rates, the sheer numbers looking to move suggests many millennials view short workplace stints as the norm.

For recruiters, this presents a great opportunity. If you can establish a positive relationship with candidates early on, then you are well-positioned to help them transition between jobs as they move up the value chain. After placing a candidate, stay connected and check-in on them semi-regularly. This is where social media is your friend – a quick catch-up message on Facebook or LinkedIn is friendly without being obtrusive. A good referral scheme encourages candidates to get back in contact while growing your candidate pool. And using content marketing, such as a careers advice blog, keeps you relevant to employed Millennials.

The theory that ‘weak ties’ underpin many social transactions is popular for a reason – as the technology makes the world smaller, we’re all become more and more interconnected. This is particularly true of Millennials, and recruiters should use it to their advantage.

Like them or loath them, Millennials are here to stay. Perhaps those who prophesied commercial destruction on New Year’s Day 2000 were not as far off the mark as they now seem. The Millennial Bug is going to change everything.


Beth Leslie writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs London listings for roles, or if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.

Find out how the likes of IBM, IKEA and Siemens
drive hiring excellence with SocialTalent