How should you recruit for Millennials? Don’t.

Posted by Amy White 

I read a great article by one of my favourite bloggers the other day (check it out here) which compared generalisations made about Millennial to making racist generalisations.  

I say it’s a great article because this obsession with categorising people into specific groupings, based on the year they were born and then assigning a fixed set of characteristics is a pet peeve of mine. Every time I read an article about “How to recruit for Gen Y’s” or “How to manage Millennial in the workplace” it sets my teeth on edge. Why don’t we just treat people … like people? How’s that for a radical approach?

I think this is especially important when it comes to recruitment. When you try and fill a particular position, you should be considering what experience, skills and attitude your ideal candidate will have. What randomly demarcated ‘generation’ they belong to should not factor in at all. (And it shouldn't need to be mentioned that recruiting based on age is downright discriminatory)
Much of the advice for recruiting Millennials stressed the importance of things like flexibility, recognition, offering regular feedback and the importance of social values such as a green workplace. I would argue that these things are important to most workers, not just those born after 1980.

When you are developing your recruitment strategy, there are a number of things that need to be considered. Who your ideal candidates are, what channels will reach them and what kind of messages will engage them are all important. These things will differ depending on your organisation and the roles that you are recruiting for. They will differ depending on the industry you are in, the culture you try and promote and the values that are important to your organisation. These things are all infinitely more important to your strategy then some arbitrary characteristics assigned to a generation based on some sketchy studies and anecdotal feedback.

So, when you recruit for a role, try and find a person that meets your requirements for that role. If you need a tech savvy, social media guru – then advertise on social media channels. And if a “Baby Boomer” who has more twitter followers than Kim Kardashian applies with a snappily edited Vine video resume, then don’t rule them out.  

Amy White is the Client Director and Business Partner at Talent Propeller. You can connect with Amy on LinkedIn or email her here.  

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