As of 2015, millennials represent the largest segment of the U.S. workforce. While most millennials are either just embarking on their careers or employed in entry-level roles, the generation represents the business leaders of tomorrow. All millennial stereotypes aside, the new labor force brings a unique set of skills to organizations that engage in proactive college recruitment processes. Gone are the days where the biggest industry name took first pick of the best college grads. Work-life balance, self-worth, and niche company perks are the new career priorities that have enabled even small businesses to compete in attracting young professionals. Here’s how to make sure your company doesn’t miss out on the brightest and best of the new generation:
Reputation is key to influencing the decisions of students embarking on their new career. The information they read online or hear discussed by fellow students forms an impression that can have long lasting effects on the final decision making process. Posts by current employees on social media, reviews on sites such as Glassdoor or Indeed, mentions in the news; all will have an impact. It’s up to the company to make sure the impact is a positive one. For smaller companies, just getting the name out and creating a sense of familiarity and legitimacy can help when the student is sifting through dozens of job applications and career sites.
Posting creatively composed job descriptions touting the social atmosphere and innovative environment of your company will not result in a flood of inspired applicants. It takes active engagement to drive student interest, investigation, and eventually action. For all the talk of the “Entitled Generation,” there is some truth in that students expect the companies to come to them, and not the other way around. After all, wasn’t their mailbox littered their last year of high school with offers from hundreds of colleges all saying: “we want you!”? Just like colleges, companies should drive candidate flow so that they can afford to be selective in the interview process, rather than desperate for applicants.
Young professionals are overwhelmingly clear about what they want. The terms may vary but most studies show new grads look for a “People/culture fit,” “Career potential,” and “Work-life balance.” The last point gets the most scrutiny in that it differs from previous generation’s preference for compensation over “balance.” This doesn’t mean millennials want to work for free or don’t care about money; they’re still by and large young, hungry professionals looking to get ahead. But it does show how companies should market themselves to millennials. Being up-front about benefits, placing an emphasis on innovation and employee welfare, and demonstrating an egalitarian team structure will have great appeal.
Process makes perfect
Driving interested students to take the next step is all about the process. There should be an established step-by step plan that guides students from investigating the company all the way through the interview stage. Attending career fairs, working with career services, email marketing and the rest merits nothing without qualified applicants to show for it. Having a complicated application process followed by a convoluted, multi-stage interview process won’t appeal to anyone, let alone new college grads. Again, it is worthwhile to be proactive and drive the process, instead of letting students set the pace.
Putting it all together
It’s not too late to improve your college recruiting process and attract the top talent from this spring’s graduating class. Many students are still undecided, waiting for the employer of their dreams to come along and sweep them off their feet. Make the changes or implement a plan to go after these budding professionals and be rewarded with the new skills and fresh drive they have to offer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert Gallagher is an Executive Recruiter and Career Coach at The Denzel Group. He received his Bachelors in Corporate Communications from Penn State University. He has published works in Lehigh Valley Business, Tradition Magazine, ERE Media, The Pottstown-Mercury, State of the Valley and is a LinkedIn contributor. Follow him on www.hiringrecruiting.com