Recruiting millennials is becoming an increasingly important topic for companies all around the world. With projections that 75% of the workforce will be composed of millennials by 2025, recruiters are being forced to figure out how to best attract and retain this demographic. Companies that recruit this generation effectively will find that they are better positioned to succeed in the long run, while those that don’t will likely face a significant talent shortage.

So what’s the best way to recruit millennials?

To answer this question, TomTom, one of the largest tech companies in The Netherlands, invited a small group of some of the best recruiters in the country to join a roundtable discussion to consider how companies today can more effectively recruit the millennial generation. Recruiters from a wide variety of organizations, including ING, Heineken, Netflix, Uber, and Blendle engaged in the opportunity to discuss millennial recruiting with each other as well as with successful managers at TomTom and even a group of millennial employees.  Hello Talent was fortunate enough to be a part of this dialogue. Here are our three key take-aways:

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With a majority of millennials expecting to have six or more employers in their lifetimes companies can expect the employment marketplace to start looking more like a traditional marketplace, with people shopping around and moving quickly if they aren’t satisfied. This means that branding and marketing will play a key role.

One of the things TomTom shared is that it has created an entire division within its HR team strictly devoted to employer branding. This is a fairly unique, not to mention cool move (take a look at their career site), but it’s also one of the things companies will have to do more of in order to recruit a demographic that will approach shopping for jobs in a similar way to how it approaches shopping for anything else. Companies that do a better job of showing what they have to offer employees will have a larger pool of great candidates to hire from.

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TomTom invited one of its managers, a Gen-Xer, to share his experiences managing millennials and how he’s been able to have success. One of the things he shared is that his millennials seem to do best when he gives them space to do their work as they see fit. By focusing more on outcomes than processes, millennials are able to do work in the way that works best for them. In addition to giving people independence, he also tries to involve the team in key decisions. While he may have the final say, he knows his team does better when they can contribute their views as well. Finally, in recognizing the independence that characterizes millennials he also tries to give unique perks to each employee. For one employee this means having the ability to buy an unlimited amount of books, for another it means having the freedom to work from abroad from time to time.

So how does this effect recruiting? One, it impacts retention. Employees enjoy their jobs more and feel they are growing, so they’re less likely to leave. Two, it influences referrals. When millennial employees can share that they love working for their manager their peers are more likely to apply.

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During part of the session, TomTom invited a group of millennial employees to present a panel discussion on recruiting. The biggest takeaway from the panel was that millennials really want to know what they are working on and why. They can’t simply have a nice salary if you want to attract them. Instead, your company needs to clearly and effectively articulate its vision. Companies lacking that are going to struggle to attract millennial talent.

One other comment that stood out is that millennials do not like being approached by recruiters on Facebook. To them this social network is separate from their professional lives, and attempts to break into by recruiters turn them off to the idea of talking with those recruiters at all. What this means for recruiters is that Facebook may be a good source for information about candidates, but it is not the appropriate medium to contact them.

Final Thoughts

Recruiting millennials has been a hot topic for a while now, but it is just now starting to become an essential component of good recruitment strategies. Organizations that devote more attention to their employer brand, give employees freedom, and effectively articulate their visions can expect a leg up in the war for millennial talent.

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