The Future is Now. Tips for Connecting with, and Recruiting Millennials

Sheridan Gaenger
January 12 ․ 17 min read

recruitment marketing millennialsA millennial-driven workforce is here, but a ready-or-not attitude isn’t why you should be recruiting this generation. Millennials bring passion and a willingness to fully engage with a new job if given the opportunity. The benefits to the business can be immense and set you apart from the competition—if you can find the talent and inspire them immediately. And though recruiting these younger workers requires an updated approach, the effort can yield benefits in terms of improved quality of hire—and in less time to hire.

Here are some mandates that companies must initiate in order to recruit millennials and position themselves ahead of the pack for the next decade and beyond:

Content and Creative

As previously noted, millennials are content-hungry and will want as much authentic information about employers as they can find. Make sure the right information is available to millennials via a wide array of appropriate channels—the omni-channel, which reaches job seekers in the preferred media and through the most logical technologies— so that they are fully knowledgeable of all you have to offer when considering your company.

Learn more in our latest ebook, “Recruitment Marketing to Millennials: How to  Connect with a Connected Generation »

  • Branding: In the current candidate-owned job market, employer brand isn’t just important—it’s all but required. If a job seeker doesn’t form a favorable opinion of your company, the odds are he or she will shift interest to one with a more active brand. Research has shown that 56 percent of full-time professionals say an employer’s reputation is the most important factor to potentially considering a new job.¹ Establishing, promoting, and enhancing employer brand across your omni-channel content is essential to attracting millennials and seamlessly moving them through the hiring process. Your branding strategy must not only appeal to candidates, but also impress, educate, and inspire them so that they apply to work for your organization, engage upon hire, and tell their friends about how great your company is.
  • Career websites: Sixty-three percent of business students (U.S.) use an employer’s website to learn more about a company, thus making it the most important information resource.² For the most part, employers understand and are on board with this idea; almost three-quarters of employers state that their career sites are an online/interactive way to engage with potential candidates who have not yet applied.³ Understand what compels millennials—including the opportunity for development and professional progress, company culture, and an authentic look into how the company operates and what it cares about—and be sure that you share your company’s unique perspective on these and other topics.
  • Email: A 2015 study by Principal Financial Group found that despite the popularity of social media and real-time communication media such as chat and SMS, millennials overwhelmingly prefer to communicate with companies via email. For 4 in 10 millennials, email is the preferred method of contact for outbound communications. Beyond just an application confirmation, email offers your company an opportunity to express its unique traits, give updates, and offer the information that millennials require to feel good about their professional choices. Email, unfortunately, remains an underutilized form of candidate engagement with 91 percent of employers admitting that they make no additional contact beyond the automated acknowledgment of application receipt.
  • Optimizing paid and earned media:PESO” is a hot acronym in recruitment marketing, referencing an omni-channel approach that covers paid, earned, shared, and owned strategies to engage candidates, especially millennial candidates. Paid (PPC and paid social media options) and earned (articles and posts about your company in publications, blogs, and other media outlets) are effective channels on their own, but when used in tandem can provide a powerful, optimized means to reach candidates. With paid and earned, your employer brand keeps bubbling to millennials’ attention, even when they aren’t actively job-seeking.
  • Retargeting: If at first you don’t succeed, recruit, recruit again! Millennials often engage with a brand on social media or on a company’s job site, but the timing might not be right for them to apply, or something doesn’t instantly strike a chord, or they just wanted to learn more about your organization. Retargeting, via personalized email, text messaging, paid media, and other channels, keeps their engagement active or, at least, rekindles their interest. Just because the timing wasn’t right now doesn’t mean it won’t be right later; you want to be sure that somebody is home when opportunity comes knocking.

In-Person Engagement

Onsite events, including career fairs and on-campus recruiting, remain a popular way for companies to connect with interested candidates. Companies should use best-in-class technology and have a strong game plan in order to maximize ROI of these recruiting activities.

  • Events, including on-campus recruiting. Sixty percent of business students indicate that they learn about employers at career fairs, and 45 percent say that they do so at employer presentations on campus. According to the Talent Board’s 2014 CandE Awards report, employers use in-person events to develop relationships directly with candidates including internship fairs (46 percent) and career fairs (27 percent). These in-person events are often themed and, therefore, allow companies the opportunity to connect with military, university, diversity, and industry candidates.
  • Mobile technology: Advances in portable technology, including mobile phones and tablet computers, extend the opportunity to interact and collect vital information from candidates you encounter at events. Yet, this remains an area where employers are missing out on connecting with great candidates. When you have just moments to interact with candidates at events, make sure you have the means to quickly capture essential information, such as an email address, so that you can continue to interact with candidates over time. This increases your capture rate and will enable higher ROI for your event marketing investments.

Technology and Candidate Experience

Robust hiring technology not only creates a process that appeals to digitally savvy millennials, but also increases the volume and quality of applications received. After all, if job seekers can apply and communicate with you without hassle, they are more likely to stay engaged with the process; they may not immediately apply or accept a position but will be on your radar (and vice versa) for the future. Here are some examples of how technology enhances the candidate experience:

  • Ease of use: Millennials who have grown up alongside technology have the highest of expectations when it comes to digital experiences. Compared with other generations, they possess higher expectations of seamlessness in job search activities, with one-third stating that the ability to apply for a job using a mobile phone is important. And 6 in 10 job seekers have started but failed to complete an online application due to how long or complex it was. The candidate experience, from beginning a search to a click of the “Submit” button to the continuous engagement that enables you to keep in contact with your talent community, should be simple and easy, and it should be an extension of your employer brand and your employment value proposition.
  • Credentials and assessments: You want to impress millennials, but they also want to bubble to the top of your list. In this digital age, technology offers a way to verify credentials and assess candidates’ skills. This is a win-win for millennials and employers—candidates aren’t jumping through hoops to prove their qualifications, and companies can identify the strengths and weaknesses of potential hires and place them appropriately.
  • Employee advocacy: The recruiting process with millennials doesn’t end at hire. In fact, these new employees can become integral to promoting the company brand and attracting subsequent waves of job seekers. If the candidate experience is good, these hires won’t hesitate to tell their networks about it on social media and via word of mouth. Technology is available to facilitate this, thus making the process easy for advocates and evangelists to spread the word with other millennials or the next generation of workers.
  • Referrals: Word of mouth remains an important avenue of finding quality candidates, and technology encourages millennials to be part of this process. Referrals, whether formal and detailed or merely suggestions, can be made digitally and reach the recruiting department for further action.
  • Onboarding and engagement: A robust ATS and CRM guides candidates into employment—hires know exactly where they are in the process and are ready to be productive from day one. These systems and other onboarding solutions facilitate engagement by setting millennials up for success and building enthusiasm before they even put on a name tag or are assigned a cubicle. Engaged employees then are more apt to become advocates, refer others, and pump up your brand, thus strengthening the recruitment marketing lifecycle that is so critical—and effective—for this generation.  

The millennial generation isn’t the future of the American workforce—it’s the present. Companies must adapt their recruitment marketing strategies to this reality or lose out on the best young talent. The omni-channel, employer brand, employee advocacy: These and other innovations are driving how organizations are finding, nurturing, and hiring millennial candidates.

Not sure where to start? Here are three tips to get you going:

  1. Look at the social media accounts that your recruiting department maintains. Are you posting regularly? Are candidates liking and sharing your content? Is the content interesting or rather pedestrian? Taking a more active approach to your social media channels will provide an instant boost and capture the attention of millennial candidates.

  2. What does your employer brand say about your company? If it’s vague, confusing, or otherwise weak, take steps to strengthen your brand across the omni-channel, including social media outlets, email communication with candidates, and your career website. Tell candidates why they should work for you, and don’t be afraid to brag!

  3. If your department doesn’t possess the resources to maximize a recruitment marketing strategy, consider partnering with a third-party expert to implement winning solutions and technology. Symphony Talent, for example, is a partner that companies across a wide range of industries have trusted to transform their talent acquisition programs. We offer cutting-edge sourcing, nurturing, engagement, and analytics solutions that are redefining the ways organizations hire millennial talent. 

Recruitment marketing to millennials

1. “56% of Professionals Rank Talent Brand as Top Factor When Picking a Job.” LinkedIn Talent Blog, April 1, 2014.

2. Building a Global Employer Brand, Insights from the World’s Most Attractive Employer Survey 2014, 20. Universum, 2014.

3. Candidate Experience 2014, 10. Talent Board, 2015.

4. Millennial Research Study 2015, 50. Principal Financial Group, 2015.

5. Candidate Experience 2014, 27.

6. Building a Global Employer Brand, 20.

7. Candidate Experience 2014, 11.

8. 2015 Job Seeker Nation Study, Inside the Mind of the Modern Job Seeker, 8. Jobvite, 2015.

9. How Candidate Experience is Transforming HR Technology, 56.

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