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Employee recruitment is a lot like dating. The lessons you and I have learned from those sometimes (OK, pretty much always) awkward first dates can and should be applied. In Part 3 of our Millennial Series, we’ll focus on some of the things companies can do to successfully recruit and retain employees from the generation that is quickly taking over the workforce.

There are 53.5 million millennials currently in the workforce, and 1 out of 4 is currently looking to change employers. The primary reason cited by millennials for wanting to make a move is the lack of opportunities to develop their leadership skills. With this many millennials exploring new opportunities, there is a pretty good chance one of them is looking at your organization to determine whether or not you are a potential match. I spoke with some of the millennials here at the agency to find out what they look for in an employer.

Online Presence
The design and structure of your company’s website can tell a prospective employee as much about you as the information on it. When researching potential employers, the first place millennials go is online. Your website should be easy to navigate and grab their interest. And in the right context, humor and wit show that your company doesn’t take itself too seriously and isn’t afraid to break from the norm. Building a relationship is important — even during the prospect stage.

RELATED: Part 1 – We’re living in a millennial world 

Your website and social media channels should tell your company’s story. Use pictures of real employees working together and having fun. Providing this inside look into your company’s culture will help millennials determine if they can see themselves being a part of the team. It’s also important to make sure your website is mobile friendly. Millennials want to know that you understand how valuable your online presence is.

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“If I look at a website on my phone and it isn’t mobile compatible, I stop looking. More and more people use their phone to access information, and I expect companies to have websites that are formatted for mobile” – Caroline Havekost, account coordinator 

 

Technology
Millennials want to work for a company that is going to provide them with the technology they need to be successful. For example, if your employees are expected to give presentations, then you need to provide them with the right technology and equipment to perform that job effectively.

Millennials also want to work for a company that recognizes we live in a mobile world. Providing your employees with desktop computers doesn’t foster this type of environment. A better option is to allow employees to decide if they want a laptop or desktop. Doing this sends the message that being mobile is possible and accepted.

When recruiting millennials, an overall openness and commitment to new and improved technology will take your company a long way. Having an indifference to or late adoption of technology can deter millennials. (If a company is resistant to new technology, what else are they unwilling to change?)

RELATED: Part 2 – Are you isolating your millennial workforce? 

Communication Style
In the words of Aretha Franklin, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.” Respectful communication goes a long way. Even before they submit their résumé, millennials are looking to see if your company is respectful and personable. One way you can open the lines of communication is by welcoming perspective employees to connect with you regardless of if there are open positions. This shows that you are an inclusive community that is always looking for good talent.

Once someone has submitted their résumé, communication becomes even more important. Millennials want to be kept up to date on how the hiring process is progressing. If it isn’t going to work out, or if the position has been filled, they want to know. Millennials value this type of open communication. They grew up with parents, teachers, and mentors who provided straightforward feedback, and they desire the same thing from a potential employer.

“When going through the interview process, I appreciate transparent communication. I want to be kept in the loop on how things are progressing, and if I’m not the person they have chosen to hire I want to know that right away so I don’t keep following up with them” – Caroline Havekost, account coordinator

Work Environment & Culture
Millennials are the captain of their own ship: 3 out of 4 millennials feel like they are in control of their career path, and they appreciate employers who can outline how working for them will advance their career through professional development and mentor programs. Your recruitment strategy should highlight these opportunities and clearly show a potential employee how your company can help them advance their career.

Another important trait millennials are looking for in a future employer is forward thinking that makes a positive difference in the world. Millennials choose to work for companies whose values align with their own. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 70 percent of millennials believe that the company they work for shares their personal values. Make sure your company incorporates messaging into your recruitment materials and website that highlights the ways you are making a positive impact.

Providing a comprehensive compensation package that provides more than just financial benefits is also key. It’s not all about the money for millennials; they also consider work-life balance to be a priority. Be sure to highlight employee benefits such as gym membership reimbursements, workplace flexibility, volunteer time off, and company outings that provide the opportunity to connect and build community.

 

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“We don’t want to feel like just another cog in the machine. When I was looking at employers, I really wanted to hear about how working for them would allow me to make an impact on the community” – Nicole Scilingo, content specialist 

 

When it comes to recruiting millennials, just like on a first date, be sure to put your best foot forward and highlight all your best qualities. As you look at incorporating programs that provide opportunities for career growth, work-life balance, a flexible workspace, and making a difference in the world, be sure to stay true to what you can reasonably offer to jobseekers. Recruiting employees under false pretenses rarely works out in the end. But incorporating these tips will help ensure that you’re not only putting your best foot forward when it comes to recruiting millennials, but also recruiting new business.

About Minda Kuckuck

As a public relations supervisor, Minda spends her days working with our clients to provide valuable content and thought leadership to the manufacturing market. To chat about PR strategies and talking with editors, you can contact Minda at mindak@2rm.com.