Understanding the Millennial Job Search

Millennials are undoubtedly the future of the workforce, and employers are always searching for the tools and techniques that are going to allow them to source the best talent from this multi-faceted generation. By 2020 millennials will account for 40 percent of the workforce, making understanding how to not only manage but also how to recruit them of the utmost importance.

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Young employees are interesting and diverse, but one of the places employers see quite a few similarities amongst these individuals is how they search for jobs.

Understanding the Millennial Job Picture

While in general unemployment rates are moving lower, a 2014 survey of more than 500 millennials by Business Insider showed 16 percent of respondents were still unemployed after their first six months in the job search.

Almost ¼ of respondents said they had applied to more than 11 full-time jobs before they landed one, and nearly half of Millennials participating in the survey said when they did find full-time employment it was a position that didn’t require a college degree.

The Job Search

What’s interesting to note is that many Millennials, despite their comfort with new technology and their flexible approach to the career world in general, still prefer to rely on traditional job search tools in many ways.

A survey of the clScreen Shot 2015-10-23 at 1.21.00 PMass of 2014 conducted by ConnectEDU and Achievers showed 60 percent of recent graduates were planning to use a company’s website to look for work. 45 percent said they would utilize recruiting events, and 42 percent said they would search for positions with the help of their college career services. Finally, a third of people who participated in the survey said they would search through their friends.

While sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites are often seen as the primary avenue used by Millennials searching for jobs, in reality their use appears relatively uncommon. Only slightly more than ¼ of respondents said they planned to use LinkedIn in the job search, and less than 3 percent said they would use Facebook, Twitter or another job board.

When it came to graduates of top-tier schools like Princeton, there was an even higher percentage of Millennials using school career services and internal job boards provided for upcoming and new graduates.

At the same time, while Millennials are more reliant on traditional job search techniques than one might think, they’re also incorporating familiarity with technology into their searches. In particular, mobile searches are popular amongst young adult job seekers. The job search site Indeed released a recent report showing Millennials are significantly more likely to use a smartphone or tablet to search for a job as compared to their older counterparts.

Passive and Active Job Seekers

Along with techniques and tools used by Millennial job seekers, it’s also important to understand the difference between passive and active talent potential.

This applies to everyone, not just Millennials, but because Millennials tend to see more fluidity in their careers and are more likely to change not only companies but even job roles than older workers, this is an important consideration.

Often the most talented Millennial employees are those who would be considered passive job seekers. This means they may already have a job, and maybe even a very good one, but there is potential to woo them. However, passive job seekers are likely to be more trepidatious when it comes to leaving a steady position in favor of a new opportunity.

On the other side of the spectrum are actively engaged Millennial job seekers. These are the people that are typically unemployed, and they may be more eager or feel a greater sense of urgency in the search process.

The Millennial Job Search Process and How to Attract the Best Talent

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While Millennial talent may not be using social media sites as often as is commonly believed, their number one source of job information is the Internet. This is why it’s so vital that companies develop and maintain a strong employer brand, which should begin on your own website.

Don’t neglect job openings and information about available positions on your own website in favor of focusing attention on social media sites.

More than 90 percent of Millennial job seekers say they start their job search process by researching online, with the process mimicking the consumers’ retail buying journey.

Before employees ever begin applying for positions, they first look for a company’s online reputation, much like they would before buying a product or visiting a website. A survey from Spherion Staffing showed 47 percent of millennials say the online reputation and presence of a possible employer mattered as much as the job itself.

Along with generalized research, Millennials are utilizing sites like Glassdoor to gain what they see as a more honest and transparent view of companies. An overwhelming two-thirds of Glassdoor users are Millennials and 50 percent of all job seekers in the U.S. use Glassdoor at some point in their job search. This represents a sense of skepticism seen on the part of Millennials and their desire to find trustworthy online information during not only their job search but during all major decision making.

As well as keeping your business jobs portal informative, robust and up-to-date it’s imperative employers make their websites mobile friendly. If a job seeker has trouble loading a portal or even a job description using their smartphone or tablet they’re likely to go elsewhere.

Along with working to build a strong, active online presence and reputation with a mobile friendly website, incorporating elements of personal contact into the job seeker experience is valuable in the eyes of many Millennials.

Millennials want to feel as if they’re able to connect with a real person rather than the abyss. Even if they don’t get the job, by providing some sense of personal contact you’re able to strengthen your employer brand and improve your image.

Another way to source the very best in Millennial talent? Go to the source. As highlighted by the research above, Millennials turn to their on-campus career resources much more than you might initially assume. By being a proactive recruiter and aligning yourself with local campus career services you’re going to likely have the first opportunity to recruit top talent and position yourself as having a strong employer brand.

Let us know your thoughts—how do you tailor your recruiting efforts to Millennials and what differences do you see in how they look for jobs compared to other generations?

October 23, 2015   Updated :September 19, 2016      

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