Taking the Pain Out of Millennial Recruiting

How do you feel about recruiting Millennials? If the thought makes you involuntarily groan, you are not alone.  Whether or not you believe the stereotypes about this young generation, also known as Generation Y, it's clear that some recruiters are experiencing challenges when trying to place them.  

Before you throw in the towel, check out these tips for navigating the challenges involved with placing Millennials, who were generally born between the early 1980s and early 2000s:

  1. Sometimes a bad candidates is just a bad candidate. The Millennial label tends to take the blame for any issues people have with young candidates. But you will always have entitled, arrogant, and just downright difficult candidates of ALL ages.  Sometimes its not the generation, it's the person.  
  2. Don't take anything for granted. Be prepared to do more coaching than you may be used to. Traditional courtesies such as dressing appropriately for an interview, not bringing up salary in the first interview, and using proper English and grammar in communication may be second nature to many job seekers, but don't assume that is the case with Millennials. Better to over-educate and over-prepare your candidates than find out from your client that they don't know how to present themselves. You may even want to consider purchasing affordable online courses on basic skills, such as interpersonal communication and business writing, for them. 
  3. Clients may need to be coached, too. Your clients may automatically assume Millennials are job hoppers, entitled, or a number of the other generalizations that have been attached to them.  There is little doubt that these newbies are going to have a different approach to work, but that could be beneficial. After all, Millennials are known for being good at multi-tasking, skilled critical thinkers, and technology wizzes. If your clients can overcome their potential biases, they may find some of their best employees within this generation.
  4. Be patient and understanding. Millennials' knack for asking a million questions may drive you nuts, but they want to make sure they are making the right decision. You can make this process easier by understanding upfront what they need.  Millennials desire collaboration, technology, work-life balance, and innovation. It is also important to them that the company they work for is socially conscious and can fulfill their long-term career goals. By being aware of these and other needs, you can present opportunities that are the most likely to be a fit.
  5. Traditional employment just may not work for them. Some Millennials (and members of other generations for that matter) really are job hoppers. They need variety and will move on if they can't get it at their current job. Many also can't handle the structure of the traditional 9-5 workday and require a more flexible work arrangement. For these candidates, you may never be able to find a direct hire fit. On the other hand, contract assignments can provide the variety and flexibility they need, so you may want to present them for contract job orders rather than direct.

Despite all the stereotypes, Millennials just want what everyone wants: a job that they can be proud of and enjoy and where they are respected. They want to make a living but not at the expense of having a life.  As a recruiter, you have the opportunity to help them meet those goals while filling critical openings for your clients.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

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