Posted by
October 14, 2013

Last week we talked about how Generation Yers are entering the workforce en masse. We also discussed what these millennials want from employers, besides an endless supply of single origin coffee and permission to wear very tight pants.

This week, as promised, we’re going to explore the top ways you can attract millennial candidates.

As always, I’m going to present data from surveys, and polls, but since I am a millennial myself, as are most of my homies, I am also going to share some anecdotes and my own personal thoughts on the matter. Like Gen Y, these tips will both meet and defy stereotypes… they will also be heavily fueled by caffeine and free-range, ethically-farmed, sustainable bacon from a pig named Apple.


Focus on lifestyle over salary

“Once a salary meets their basic needs, millennials still desire progression and growth, along with challenging and interesting work that piques their interest,”

– Razor Suleman (founder and chairman of Achievers)

Millennials want a challenge. They want to solve problems, try new things, and think outside the box. This is a generation reared on online strategy games. Millennials get bored easily, so keep them progressing, and on their toes. Not only will this entice Gen Y candidates, but it will keep your corporate culture fresh, relevant, and thriving.

Another great way to entice millennials is to offer them the ability to move around (laterally) within your organization.

Take my lovely friend Masako, for example. The company she works for encourages their employees to spend time working in different branches of their organization. She has expressed just how much she loves this initiative nearly every time we discuss her career. And it is truly a great policy, because it gives employees a better overall understanding of what their company does, and, who knows… maybe Cheryl in shipping is actually a genius at customer satisfaction!

Make us excited to grow with you

52% of millennials listed ‘the potential to grow with a company’ as an essential part of their decision to accept a position.

As previously mentioned, when assessing a first-time employer, Gen Yers like myself are looking for a committed relationship. One of the best ways to woo millennials is by showing us that your company is growing, that it will offer us opportunities to advance, and that working with you will help us progress in our careers.

We don’t need no plaques and trophies

Seriously, stop it with the employee-of-the-month certificates already. Gen Y gets enough of that from gamified apps like Fitocracy, and at least with Fitocracy badges, all of your Facebook friends can see how bad-ass your Crossfit skills are!

Millennials value choice, so let them have a say in what kinds of incentives your company chooses to offer. Gen Yers also value experience over stuff (yeah, I was just as shocked!), so if your employee reward budget allows, offer experience-based rewards like zip-lining tickets, or a gift certificate for a yoga retreat.

Be social or die

Not to be an extremist or anything, but the amount of times my friends have listed a potential employers’ outdated social media practices as a major reason for turning down a job offer is too often to ignore.

Over 83% of millennials use social networks every day (and honestly, I think that stat is very conservative), and Gen Y’s use of LinkedIn has gone up by 700% in the last year (yet that one may be a bit exaggerated!)

More job seekers than ever before are using Facebook to connect with potential employers, and Facebook’s recent recruiting-friendly updates have made it a better place to build a talent pool than any other online platform.

1 in 6 Facebook users access the social network from mobile exclusively. And at least 77% of potential candidates will be surfing your career site from the comfort of their mobile device, myself included. In fact, I work almost exclusively from my iPad.

If you want to connect with millennials, your recruiting and application process must be social. And today, all social recruiting strategies must take mobile into account. If your candidates cannot complete their application from their smartphone, chances are they won’t complete their application at all.

Offer coffee

Good coffee. Preferably Bows & Arrows. Please — no Nespresso!

Okay, so that last tip is directed pretty specifically at my favorite employers: Ryan and Johnny — Hi guys!

But, hopefully, the rest of these tips will help you grow your own super army of millennial hipster/rockstar employees, who will make your company thrive! Or at least introduce you to weird drinks like kombucha, and bring some vintage flare to your company culture.

Oh, and if you do live in Canada, I really do recommend that you check out Bows & Arrows Coffee. You’ll thank me (and my hipster ways). I promise!


Mercer – Generation Y: Realising the Potential

Acheivers –The Class of 2013

Mashables – How Job Seekers are Using Mobile

PWC – Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace – #hipsters