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Is Your Company Prepared to Attract Millennial Talent?

Candidates are looking for authenticity, plain and simple.
Is Your Company Prepared to Attract Millennial Talent?
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images
Guest Writer
CMO of BeeHex, Inc.
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Workplaces around the country are changing. While a lot of this has to do with evolving technologies, like smartphones, the biggest change we’re seeing isn’t what businesses are doing. It’s what’s happening inside the businesses themselves.

Estimates show that by 2025, three-quarters of the entire work force will be millennials. They’re going to be the driving force behind the economy in less than a decade.

Related: 6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Business Practices

Are businesses ready for this change? After all, millennials have been called many things -- lazy and entitled, to name a few. How can a business effectively work with millennials who don’t plan on staying in a position for more than a few years?

Kathryn Minshew, CEO and co-founder of The Muse, has the solution: to pair the right business with the right candidates, based largely off what the candidate is looking for and what the business can offer from a cultural standpoint. “It’s kind of like dating,” Minshew said in an interview at Collision conference in New Orleans.

In a lot of ways, Minshew is right. Many millennials aren’t just looking for a job, but the culture that comes along with it.

But finding the right candidate isn’t just about making everyone happy. It’s also about retaining that talent, a big issue businesses are facing with millennials.

Understanding motivations.

Minshew has a track record of successful networking. It wouldn’t be a reach to call her a leading expert in understanding the hiring process, both from the employer and candidate side.

She decided to use her expertise when she co-founded The Muse back in 2011. The Muse is a career and job discovery site used by 50 million people each year. While anyone can use the site, most of the users have turned out to be millennials.

Her reasoning behind The Muse was simple. “Companies spend so much time, energy and money marketing products,” she said. “And yet, a lot of businesses have not put anywhere near that same amount of time and energy and resources into marketing their positions and their organization as a great place to work.”

This is true. Many businesses don’t know how to properly represent themselves when looking for new candidates. While being “hip” or “cool” might seem like a draw for millennials, their desires actually run a lot deeper. Minshew said candidates are looking for authenticity. And this doesn’t only apply to millennials. Everybody who uses The Muse wants to find a good fit.

So, to help these businesses -- like Facebook, Dropbox and AT&T, to name a few -- The Muse puts together profiles that target the right candidates. The result? Minshew told me that after Dropbox adopted their strategy, conversions on LinkedIn rose from 3x to 10x.

Again, simply hiring the right candidate isn’t the only issue businesses face as millennials continue to take a larger role in the work force. Businesses need to find ways to retain the talent they’ve worked hard to get.

Related: Failure and Authenticity: Why Millennials Succeed at Marketing

Understanding millennials.

By now, you’ve heard or believe at least some of the stereotypes that surround millennials. But Minshew, being a millennial herself, sees it a different way. “It’s hubris to paint an entire generation,” she told me.

Minshew went on to explain that millennial is an incredibly broad term. The only things millennials share in common is that they grew up using technology like the internet and that most of them came of age during the Great Recession. Fundamentally, however, the millennial generation isn’t different from any other generation.

As a whole, millennials are used to having their voice heard -- the result of growing up using social media. But what they’re asking for from employers is exactly what any other candidate from a different generation wants. Millennials, like all candidates, are motivated by different things -- autonomy, creativity, stability, compensation and prestige, among many other motivators.

So, while one millennial candidate may be looking for a job that offers creativity, another may place value in a position that offers security. Security in particular has become important to millennials since many of them saw parents struggle through the Great Recession.

But above anything else, millennials want to find the right job for them. Many of them realize that there is no such thing as a “dream job,” or a position that they can land out of college and stay in until they retire.

Minshew said that through The Muse’s research, they’ve learned that millennials are looking for a workplace that fits their specific needs. To pinpoint these needs, Minshew explained her three P’s: people, purpose and path.

People concerns the type of people a candidate works for and with. According to Minshew, 77 percent of millennials want to work with a friend. At the same time, many candidates might want to work for someone who treats them as an equal.

Purpose is the meaning behind work. Millennials aren’t lazy. They just want to know that their work is being valued. When a company or position has a specific goal in mind that resonates with the candidate, the chance of retaining that new employee is much better.

Related: 5 Reasons Millennials Shouldn't Depend on a 9-to-5 Job

Path concerns the next step. Minshew says that most people are looking to get something back out of their work, whether that be growth within the business, learning new skills, etc. All candidates want to have a sense of direction, and one that they can control.

Once you determine the individual needs and desires of each candidate -- like millennials -- then you can find the right candidate that has a higher likelihood of staying with your business for a long time.

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