How to Recruit Millennials When You’re a Boomer-Centric Company

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LightsIt’s no secret that members of the youngest (and now largest ) generation in the workplace can cause their older managers some serious aggravation at times. Gen. Y’s expectations about work are often at odds with what more veteran employees have come to understand as “appropriate” for the office.

Still, there’s a slow shift happening in corporate America. As companies realize that formal policies and workplace norms formed by the boomer generation are not all that relevant to millennial employees, they’re making efforts to adapt.

For recruiters trying to hire younger workers, that adaptation can’t happen fast enough. If you’re a recruiter caught between a boomer-centric workplace and your company’s big goals for recruiting twenty-something candidates, there are a few things you can do to boost your company’s employment appeal for millennials.

Show Millennials That You Understand Their Priorities

Students responding to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Class of 2015 Student Survey said they are more interested in things like extensive vacation time and tuition reimbursement for advanced education than company-matched 401(k) programs, 100 percent employer-paid medical insurance, or guaranteed annual salary increases.

Whether this surprises you or not, it does present recruiting opportunities if your company’s vacation or tuition reimbursement benefits are on the generous side. Emphasize either or both of these in your recruiting messages, and you’ll have a much easier time appealing to younger employees’ deep-rooted desires for more free time and career-advancement opportunities.

Be Transparent About Collaboration

Though millennials are stereotyped as the “me, me, me” generation, they’ve also been raised as team players who spend a lot of time connecting socially. This manifests in their expectations about having friends and fun at work.

If your company is big on collaborating and teams, think about ways you can present this aspect of your culture during recruiting. The more transparent you can be, the better. If you have a special space for brainstorming, take younger candidates there on a quick tour.  If you use video to collaborate for any function — e.g., talent acquisition, starting new initiatives, or internal team-building —  give younger candidates demonstrations of your teams at work. They’ll want to see for themselves how they may fit into your culture and patterns of work.

SprinklerAlso, keep in mind that millennials expect their workspace technology to be on par with or better than the tech they surround themselves with at home. Look for ways to show off your organization’s cutting-edge technology.

Highlight the Right Perks

Your company may not be ready to allow visible tattoos and piercings in the workplace, but millennials may grumble less about this policy if you can offer perks they find meaningful.

Flexible scheduling, even on a minimal level, will be appreciated. If your workplace has nontraditional workspaces or an impressive on-site cafeteria, or if it is located near trendy restaurants and hot spots, move these facts up in priority in your recruitment messaging. You can be sure that younger candidates will weigh these extras carefully when deciding whether or not they want to work with you.

Don’t Oversell It

It pays to present your company in a way that aligns with younger candidates’ priorities, but you shouldn’t oversell it. This generation values honesty and authenticity above all else. If your company isn’t truly on the way to becoming more millennial-friendly, don’t stretch the truth. You risk greater turnover and permanent damage to your organization’s online reputation.

If this is the case at your company, you may need to do some internal selling first to get leadership on board with the idea of catering to millennial talent. Gen. Y brings with it some considerable talents and strengths to the workforce. You don’t want to let those get away.

By Michele Ellner