Talent Acquisition and Millennials

Are employers adapting their talent acquisition strategies to win the war for talent among Millennials (ages 16 to 33)?

how to recruit millennialNot so much. Amid a struggle to attract high-quality talent, many employers are not even focusing on recruiting from this population.  Just under 40% of current hires are Millennials, and they will represent the majority of the workforce by 2020. Employers can and should do more to attract them, not to mention develop the ones they have, as my colleague Laci Loew has written.

The Yin and Yang of Recruiting Millennials

Almost all organizations surveyed (98%) in our two talent acquisition studies this year have hired millennial talent. Yet 40% indicate that they have no specific recruiting efforts targeted at that population, and 21% are not specifically recruiting from university-based student groups. So is it that despite their efforts employers are hiring millennials? To be sure, the millennials are a force, and are changing the rules of recruiting.

Let’s examine the recruiting strategies currently being used by employers that could be attractive to Millennials.

Social Networking

According to Pew Research Center 2014 research, 89% of 18-to 29-year-olds and 82% of 30- to 49-year-olds use social networking sites. Brandon Hall Group’s research shows that about two-thirds (67%) of employers are currently using social tools for talent acquisition to some extent, and another 21% plan to use them.

But, are these organizations making the most of these sites and capitalizing on their branding efforts? Not really. Just posting ads on social networking sites – rather than engaging candidates on those sites, and communicating your organization’s Employer Value Proposition/brand messages — does not give candidates an understanding of who you are as an employer, help them determine whether or not they would be a good fit for the organization, or make your brand stand out as an employer of choice.

Here are some statistics from our research that show that although more than half of organizations (56%) invest time and resources in social media recruiting, many are not making the most of it:

  • An average of 3% of job requisitions are filled by candidates from external social sites.
  • 49% of organizations share job openings via social media marketing.
  • In terms of the most important steps their organization could take to improve the candidate experience, 29% selected leveraging social media and 18% selected developing relationships with candidates through social sites.
  • 24% say their organization uses rich content and social media marketing for recruitment.

Missing with Mobile

Pew Research Center research reports that 64% of all adults own a smartphone; ownership among 18- to 29-year-olds is 85%, and79% among 30- to 49-year-olds.

However, many employers are slow to adopt mobile solutions for talent acquisition:

  • About 24% of respondents to our research indicate their organizations are not using, nor do they plan to use, mobile solutions for talent acquisition.
  • 45% are currently using mobile solutions to some extent, and another 31% plan to use mobile solutions.

The good news is that investment in these mobile solutions, among those that use them, will either stay the same (37%) or increase (63%).

One of the basic components needed to benefit from mobile for talent acquisition is to have a mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized career website. From what I see, many organizations are still in the process of making their career sites mobile-friendly. And, not unexpectedly, according to Brandon Hall Group research, only an average of 2.5% of job requisitions are filled via the organizations’ mobile corporate sites.

In addition, Brandon Hall Group research found that only 16% of organizations are currently investing time and money in mobile recruiting and even fewer (13%) think investing in mobile solutions is one of the most important steps their organization could take to improve the candidate experience.

In conclusion, the use of social networking and mobile solutions for attracting Millennials is not yet robust for many organizations.  These technologies and platforms are still evolving at a rapid pace, and employers are grappling with the practices and processes required to succeed at engaging Millennial candidates.  I recommend that organizations establish a rich, interactive, career-related presence on those social sites that are relevant to their needs. Consideration should also be given to having a mobile-optimized website/career site and using mobile solutions for recruiting.

Daria Friedman, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition, Brandon Hall Group

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