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How to Catch the Eye of Gen Y Candidate

How to Catch the Eye of Gen Y Candidate

By Mark Swartz
Canadian Workplace Specialist
Those testy teenagers are all grown up, pounding on office doors to get hired. Say welcome to Gen Y: the fastest growing segment of the workforce.
Candidates from this particular cohort, also known as Millennials, were born somewhere between 1979 and 1994. A portion are recent grads from college, university or trade school. Others are verging on the ripe old age of 30.
Gen Y is bursting with energy and creativity. They can spark your workforce with their youthful vibrancy. And they’re less costly to hire than a typical Gen X’er. So how can you get their attention when recruiting new talent?

See The World From Their Eyes
Oh, to be 21 again. Or 24. 29, anyone? At those ages you were probably raring to go but wet behind the ears. Only you likely weren’t as tech-savvy as the generation raised on Internet, cell phones and social media. And maybe you didn’t have helicopter parents hovering over you like a protective cloud.
For Gen Y, trust and transparency are important when scoping out employers. They want to build a relationship, not just be treated like cogs in a machine. They’re confident in themselves and their futures. Yet they may need some extra hand holding and direction so that they don’t feel neglected.

Use More Than Just Your Website To Attract Applicants
Millennials are apt to start their job search online first. Your website and social media presence are vital in creating your brand and making a positive impression.
Begin by ensuring that your website isn’t old and tired looking. It might only take a small investment to freshen up the appearance of your site and give it a more Web 2.0 design. Create a bright, clean layout. Place key information in boxes that are easy to identify. Practice the “more is less” mantra and let visitors pick and choose the areas they want to know more about.
Then augment by adding social media components. Youtube videos that promote your employer brand authentically. Flickr photos showing your staff having fun, working hard, doing things together. Facebook pages that let people see what you’re all about. A LinkedIn summary about your company you’ve carefully filled in to be informative, not just propaganda. Slideshare presentations using Powerpoint to show employee profiles or talk about your products and services. And maybe Twitter or blogging to spread the latest news.

Show Them What’s In Store For Them
Members of Gen Y are information sponges. They have access to so much input from multiple sources it’s scary. They expect you to be sensitive to this, so give them a good deal of insight into your inner workings.
Some helpful material to provide if you can offer it online:
  • Detailed position descriptions that are engaging and challenging, not intimidating
  • How your formal onboarding and mentoring systems work, and how this helps new hires to succeed
  • Examples of what your existing Millennials are accomplishing early on in their careers
  • Specific types of rewards you offer to those who excel on the job
  • Sample career paths of younger employees who have grown with your firm

Describe How Your Work Environment Meets Gen Y’s Needs
Work to live, not live to work, is what many Gen Y’s expect, having seen their parents downsized or treated like replaceable parts. This isn’t to say that Millennials aren’t willing to work hard. They are. But they want their job to be fun, interesting. And their workplace should reflect the spirit of their upbringing with cultural diversity and acceptance of differences.
Which is why it can boost your street-cred to show you have employees of varying ethnicities and females who hold high ranking positions. If your company hosts onsite meetings for the gay/lesbian/transgendered community, promotes people who are differently-abled, or has staff with piercings or tattoos (hopefully not too outrageous), make this known.
There is also a premium placed by Gen Y’s on Corporate Social Responsibility. Do you give opportunities to get involved on Green Teams in the office? Do you pay for a day or two of your staff’s time to volunteer at a cause of their choice? Are you sponsoring some not-for-profits that are benefiting society? All of these can have a big impact on how Millenials view you as their possible employer.

Be The New Generation’s First Choice
Connecting with Millenial job seekers is more than a matter of getting the word out. If you can show them, honestly, that you provide conditions that match their preferred lifestyles, you’re on the right track.
Flexible hours and telework, with less emphasis on face-time (more so on results), are a good start. Some tolerance of self-expression in the clothes they wear and how they customize their appearance aids too. So does reaching out through social media without sounding like an endless commercial.
If it’s enthusiasm and liveliness you’re seeking, Gen Y has it in spades. Show them you respect their need for community, and their desire to be managed closely while they learn the ropes; give examples of how their peers are making contributions early on and this cost-effective cohort might just beat a path to your door.