Among the many buzzwords circulating throughout the recruiting and staffing industry, none perhaps is said with more trepidation and contempt than millennials. The term for many a hiring manager and seasoned recruiter conjures images of some bearded hipster who wants to bring his two dogs and papoose-bound newborn to work. And while that image may not always be too far from reality, it doesn’t alter the greater reality, which is millennials as a generation are, by and large, the pool of candidates you will be dipping into now and for the foreseeable future and too many recruiting websites lose millennials. For the sake of argument, we will reference the Strauss and Howe range for millennials, which as of publication date, is ages 13-35. There is quite a bit of debate regarding the edges of that range, but there is little denying that the much-maligned millennials are the present and future workforce.
At Recruiters Websites, our focus, as always, is helping our clients develop a digital ecosystem that is not only dynamic but is also effective. A number of our clients come to us with concerns regarding reaching millennials and we have distilled some of the most common missteps to focus on three of the most immediate issues that turn millennials away.
Functionality is king, and in the world of websites, responsiveness is the throne on which it sits. To clarify, responsiveness refers to the appearance of the website as it is across the multiplicity of browsers and devices used by today’s clients and candidates. Many recruiting websites lose millennials because they simply don’t mesh with the devices millennials are using. More job searches are done on a mobile device than on a traditional desktop browser by a ratio of more than 2 to 1. If your website is not designed to adapt to the browser and screen size of a millennial user, they are going to back out before your outdated Flash plug-ins can finish loading. For millennials, the sight of a website that displays the desktop version on a mobile device is a sign that a business is lacking in functionality.
We too often see recruiting websites lose millennials, as well as other groups, because of a lack to accept the norms of modernization. Sometimes a classic approach to your website’s design can have its own appeal, and we certainly aren’t suggesting to abandon a more traditional design scheme, if that scheme is relevant to your company’s messaging and still meets the functionality needs of the website. However, a lack of faith in the intuitiveness of today’s users can make your website come across as outdated and unaccommodating. Recruiting websites lose millennials too often because they miss the aesthetic mark, not just in the visual appeal of the site but also in operational designs therein.
There is no quicker way to deter a millennial audience than to make it blatantly obvious that you are trying to attract them. We often see recruiting websites lose millennials because their efforts to reach them are seen as pandering. Millennials are the generational group most likely to reject their label. To put it plainly: millennials don’t like being called millennials. This can create a bit of a hurdle when trying to create compelling content that connects with them without being too obvious, which brings to mind the old saying: “The main thing is Honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” But seriously, don’t try and manufacture authenticity. Just be honest and speak to millennials plainly and directly. There are a few suggestions that can make honest content more targeted. Make your content more conversational by using personal pronouns like you and your. This makes your message seem more personal. Making your content too slang-ridden or immature, however, can quickly deter millennials.
It can seem difficult to navigate the millennial waters, but ultimately recruiting websites lose millennials because they are either trying to hard or not at all. Avoid this by creating modern, functional websites that speak to the user honestly and plainly, but not unprofessionally. Recruiters Websites is an exceptional partner for this because not only do we understand the millennials (we might even be millennials), but we understand the recruiting and staffing industry from a perspective that can only be gained through personal experience.
Adam is a copy writer, content specialist and editor with Recruiters Websites, a web design firm specializing in websites for the recruiting and staffing industry.