4 Tips for Targeting Millennial Candidates (and Convincing Them to Stay)

One goal for many businesses, regardless of industry, is to reach and attract millennial talent. As with all generations before them, millennials are driven by many factors that are unique to their particular age group. According to Deloitte's Millennial Survey 2016, the best way to recruit members of this group is to tailor outreach efforts to match their preferences.

"Millennials want to work for a company that will add meaning to their lives," says Andrew Allen, marketing manager at talent management software solution Saba. "They want to feel like the work they do makes a difference and that the company they work for produces something meaningful to the world. That could be innovative technology applications, cutting-edge biotech, or even providing clean drinking water to poor communities."

Work-life balance is also a huge part of what drives millennials' career choices. Flexible work schedules or work-from-home policies provide adaptable timetables that millennials find attractive. In an economy where unemployment is low and skilled talent is in high demand, millennials are in a position where they can demand this type of flexibility.

Companies should still offer competitive wages and benefits, but priorities have shifted a bit for the millennial generation. In addition to meaningful and flexible work, camaraderie and culture are also much more important to millennials than they have been to past generations.

"I warn recruiters against focusing too much on the latest trendy perk, like plush couches, a cool office with guitars and ping pong tables, or unlimited vacation policies," says Allen. "Those things are great, but I know of companies that have these things where the people are so overworked they never use them. They're just for show, not truly part of the company culture. If these things aren't part of your culture, millennials are going to see them for what they truly are: gimmicks."

Instead, focus on the things millennials care about. Show them how they'll be integral pieces of the large company picture. Talk to them about the company's vision and how the organization aims to make the world better. Give millennials the opportunity to grow through mentorship and training programs. These actions will all give millennials more compelling reasons to stick around than competitive wages and benefits packages would on their own.

A company's digital presences is also important to millennials, so be sure it is kept current at all times. Much like hiring managers scour the web for information on candidates, job seekers spend plenty of time researching potential employers on the internet.

Here are a few more tips from Allen on how to increase millennial engagement, both during the hiring process and once they're on board:

1. Be Transparent

Company leaders must communicate not only the vision of the company, but also the hows and whys behind the company's decision-making. This will give context and meaning to employees' day-to-day activities.

2. Foster a Culture of Feedback

Provide feedback to employees, but also seek their feedback about the company. Seeking employee feedback will keep them engaged and show them they are valued contributors to the organization.

3. Make It Mobile

Millennials are mobile natives, so it's a good idea to engage them via mobile platforms. Not only is this a technology they are comfortable with, but it also gives them the flexibility they desire.

4. Provide a Clear Path of Growth

Show millennials the steps they need to take to advance their careers. Create clear plans with short-term goals and actionable tasks, as opposed to long-term ones that can seem vague and harder to navigate.

"HR leaders have to keep these tips in mind," Allen says. "I'm not saying change your values to the latest cause du jour just to attract millennials. But a company should be transparent about its own values. This will attract the types of millennials that share those same beliefs that will help guide the business forward."