Opinion: How to recruit the best and brightest millennials

by External30 Mar 2016
Generation Y is really not as mysterious as some people would believe. Tom Amos provides a 'cheat sheet' for recruiting the best of the best Gen Y talent.

Far too many companies have struggled with the very idea of Gen Y, with many in a state of confusion as to how to attract the brightest minds of the youngest working generation. If many conversations with some of Australia’s largest companies are anything to go by, the idea of attracting, hiring and keeping millennial staff is something that is as elusive as the yeti.
There isn’t any need for confusion when approaching millennial recruitment. Generation Y is really not as mysterious as some people would believe. They are, however, some of the brightest, fastest, most tech savvy minds in the country and many of the most eager, willing and hardworking staff you will have on your team.
Recruiting for talent is a lot like earning and winning a new client or customer. The top talent is aware of their value in the market place and they have the power. Attracting millennials to your team isn’t rocket science, but attracting the best talent can sometimes mean revisiting your recruitment strategy and making a few simple tweaks.
The very nature of temporary staffing means that we attract a lot of millennial talent, more so than any other generation. And what we see time and time again is that generation Y is attracted by some key basic criteria: credibility, transparency, clear requests, simple process, opportunity, and good employers. This is hardly the unattainably high list or a sense of entitlement that many seem to expect from millennials.
Getting your house in order is the key to attracting talent from any generation, but there are a few simple things you can adopt that will give you the nudge on the competition.
Below is Sidekicker’s cheat sheet for attracting the top millennial talent:
Good design and simple process: Generation Y has understandably come to expect that technology should be beautiful and simple, and that simplicity should be applied to all areas of business, including the recruitment process. How you help millennials through the application process is one of the first indicators of whether or not they want to work for you. The application process should be easy, sharp and quick, with added points for colour and beauty.
Clear information and well defined requests: we find that organisations with the best quality requests for staff get the best quality applicants. Start with a description of your company, what it does and how it works, no matter how large and recognisable your brand is. Then write a clear request of what the position is and what you would need the applicant to do. This sounds so simple, but you’d be amazed at the difference it makes.
Looking after your existing staff and be able to prove it: I would estimate that 90 percent of applicants for any given job would be based on referrals. Millennials communicate widely and are as vocal about positive experiences as they are about negative ones. Rest assured, if you treat your staff well, word will get around about how good you are as an employer. We find that time and again with clients such as Sofitel and Uber; they select quickly, brief properly and look after their staff. The result is that people are lining up to work for them.
Be open, transparent, and real: Millennials have a finely tuned radar for management jargon and insincerity. Be open about who you are and what your company believes in. Look at the tone of your job ads, position descriptions and company collateral and ensure they use open, inclusive and positive language. If you don’t, the good millennial talent simply won’t bother applying.
Strengthen your online and social presence: It comes as no surprise that millennials are tech savvy. They will use the technology at their disposal to do extensive research on your company online. If there are skeletons in your filing cabinet, they’ll find them almost immediately.
A strong online presence is something that can be a huge advantage when recruiting Gen Y. They really care about who they work for and value cool and credible companies over salary. You don’t have to be the next Google, either. Invest time in your website and social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s not just valuable marketing for potential customers, it adds enormous credibility as a potential employer.
Offer opportunity: The misconception of millennials as flighty and entitled is completely inaccurate. If a Gen Y loves where they work, they will be incredibly loyal, but you must provide opportunities for constant improvement and clear career progression. This shows that you value them as a team member and what they can bring to the company. The minute you stop offering progression and opportunity, they will feel undervalued and seek it elsewhere. 

About the author
Tom Amos is CEO and cofounder of Sidekicker, the online temporary staffing platform.