Looking to Hire Millennials? Start with the Right Job Description

Hiring managers are starting to understand that the blanket criticism of millennials as entitled, narcissistic and lazy – is just plain, well, lazy. Millennials make up one-third of the current workforce and to generalize such a significant segment of the population or ignore this audience is to turn one’s back on an enormous pool of talent. When companies actually take the time to understand this generation’s perspective and values, they learn that millennials’ defining qualities can be harnessed for growth and innovation. Social media obsession is suddenly viewed as connectivity, praise-seeking as motivation, and narcissism as entrepreneurialism.

So, how can companies and organizations attract and retain millennial talent? One area they need to focus on is starting with the right job description.

Start with your mission

Millennials don’t want to just get a job; they want to join a movement. According to Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Study, at least 60% of surveyed millennials cited “sense of purpose” as one of the reasons they decided to accept a position. Whether your company is curing cancer or manufacturing widgets, make sure you’re including the most clear, concise, and inspiring version of your mission statement.

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And take the time to craft a sentence or two that demonstrates how important the position is to the company’s overall mission. Emphasize the importance and value of administrative and junior-level positions, as it may not be immediately clear to someone who’s new to the workforce.  Millennials need to know that their contributions are meaningful.

Highlight opportunity

While the potential for promotions and pay raises are important for all job seekers, “opportunity” can mean other things for millennials. Does the position include significant face time with senior leadership? Does the organization support continuing education and skill development? Will the employee have the chance to learn about other facets of the business through inter-departmental projects and collaboration? These are all examples of opportunities for personal career growth that should be called out in any job description.

Include perks and benefits

If the position comes with benefits, you should certainly highlight them in the job description. But remember that, in a post-ACA world, health insurance is more accessible than ever before. And while saving for retirement is important at any age, a solid 401k program is less likely to be a key decision-making factor for someone in their early 20s.

Keep in mind that millennials think of work as more of a “thing you do” and less of a “place you go;” depending on their role, they may be able to do 90% of their job from anywhere that has Wi-Fi. Benefits like a flexible work schedule or a generous work-from-home policy will resonate with them.

But when they are at work, millennials want to feel connected and inspired. Benefits like paid time-off for volunteering and pro bono work allow millennials to use their skills and experience to give back to the community. Perks that are health and fitness-focused (free gym memberships, organic snacks, etc.) demonstrate the company’s commitment to its employees’ overall well-being. And fun perks that are unique to the company, like Google’s famous Lego room or Adobe’s Innovation Kit, send the message that having fun and being creative is a part of working for your company.

But don’t be misleading

Even the most casual offices aren’t all creative brainstorms and happy hours. Millennials aren’t afraid to leave a job that was falsely advertised, so resist the temptation to embellish less-than-glamorous job duties. In fact, “job hopping” is slowly losing its negative connotation and is starting to be viewed as a valuable part of career exploration. There’s even research that shows that individuals who switch jobs more frequently early on in their careers earn higher wages later on. So it’s in your best interest to be completely transparent regarding what the position entails.

Meet them where they are

You won’t be surprised to hear that nearly 75% of millennials are conducting their job searches on mobile devices. You can have as many killer, millennial-targeted job descriptions as you want, but if they’re not easily read via iPhone, they may as well not exist. Your company’s site, especially its “Careers” and “About” sections, need to be optimized for mobile devices.

Test and measure

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with format, wording and distribution of your company’s job descriptions. Work with your tech department to create duplicate landing pages for each job description and test changes and adjustments by randomly sending half of the potential applicants to each page. Keep and continue to refine the version that generates the most inquiries. If possible, utilize a web analytics tool like Google Analytics to track the source of job applications and calculate which jobs sites have the greatest ROI when it comes to referring millennials.

Spending time on crafting a strong job description is definitely worthwhile when it comes to your recruitment strategy. But it can also be a great exercise for assessing your company’s culture and employee relations. If any of these suggestions seem inapplicable or too difficult to implement, that may be a sign that your company needs to make some bigger changes before it can be a place that millennials want to work.

Looking to Hire Millennials? Start with the Right Job Description