Recruiting Millennials and New Grads: 21st Century Advice for Recruiting This 21st Century Generation
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads
21st Century Advice for Recruiting This 21st Century Generation
Millennials are expected to be 75% of the global workforce by the year 2020. Is your company doing everything it can to appeal to and recruit this burgeoning workforce group?
Download the Findly white paper, “Recruiting Millennials and New Grads, 21st Century Advice for Recruiting This 21st Century Generation.” We discuss these topics and more:
- How has early introduction to technology impacted Millennials’ expectations of the recruiting process?
- What are the true motivating factors when Millennials assess work opportunities?
- What activities and strategies should your company be employing in order to appeal to and connect with young workers?
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads: 21st Century Advice for Recruiting This 21st Century Generation
Findly White Paper
and New Grads
Century Advice for Recruiting
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads | www.findly.com2
From the increasing popularity of cellphones in the early 2000s to the
near ubiquity of smartphones today, technology has changed how we
live, interact, and operate, both in our personal lives and our careers.
This is especially noticeable when we observe the habits of different
generations, each having been exposed to the different phases of the
technology revolution at different phases of their lives.
Much has been reported about the habits of Millennials, individuals born
between 1980 and 2004, who were exposed to computers and cellphones
from an early point in their lives. Stories have emerged about how this
unique group of individuals differs from their predecessors, including
differences in how they communicate and behave in the workplace.
To understand how to recruit Millennials and new graduates, first we
need to understand how this group has grown up and how experiences
involving technology, society, and the changing economy impact
professional activities and motivations.
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads | www.findly.com 3
A recent US Census makes it clear why understanding the size, scope, and preferences of Millennials is
important. Those born between 1980 and 2004 make up the largest generation presently. With the oldest of
this group now reaching their mid 30s, they are now becoming the critical consumers and business leaders
that businesses must target and engage. The younger members of this generation are now either starting to
attend or currently attending college, thus beginning to prepare themselves for a job market unlike that of
their parents and previous generations.
Millennials grew up alongside the rapid evolution
of technology. Consider these major technology
Though this is only a partial list of the many
technological innovations that have surfaced in the
past two decades, the general trend is the increasing
accessibility and customization of information. The
vast amount of information was organized by search
engines in the 1990s, curated for consumption in the
early 2000s and then delivered directly to users via
handheld or wearable devices a decade later.
Even from within this cohort, technology is seen as
a major differentiator and defining factor. When Pew
Research (2009) asked members of each generation,
“What makes your generation unique?”, the most
popular response from Millennials was “technology
use” (24%). Interestingly, the most popular response
from Baby Boomers was “work ethic” (17%).1
concepts of technology expertise and work ethic
often come up in stories of workplace frustrations
between Boomers and Millennials.
Millennials and Technology
born btwn 2005-present
Source: US Census, 2010
40,438,669 107,449,443 61,660,996 76,484,374 30,095,357
Excite launches first web search engine
tools in 1993
Yahoo launches its web portal in 1994
Google launches in 1998
iTunes store launches in 2001
LinkedIn launches in 2003
Facebook launches at Harvard University
First generation iPhone launches in 2007
Fitbit launches its first wearable fitness device,
the Fitbit classic, in 2008
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads | www.findly.com4
Millennials in the Workforce
Given the size of this generation as well as the
upcoming exodus of Baby Boomers from the job
market, there is a strong focus on recruiting and
nurturing new grads and Millennials to become the
leaders of tomorrow. A 2012 survey jointly released
by the Society for Human Resource Management
(SHRM) and AARP shows that US employers are
increasing investments in training programs to
narrow expected skills gaps left when Baby Boomers
The point is succinctly summarized in a
SHRM article: “corporate America must reinvest in its
workforce and come up with creative ways to retain
that massive amount of knowledge that will walk
out the door as millions of Baby Boomers retire.” In
fact, Millennials are expected to be 75% of the global
workforce by 2020.3
Additionally, companies plan to increase hiring
of new graduates. A recent Careerbuilder survey
showed that 65 percent of employers say that
they plan to hire recent college graduates in 2015,
compared to 57 percent last year and the highest
outlook since 2007.4
For various business reasons, there is a great need
to recruit and hire high quality Millennial workers
and create the necessary programs to develop these
individuals for tomorrow’s business needs.
What Habits Drive Millennials and
Young Workers in Their Job Search
Having grown up surrounded by computers,
cellphones and social media, Millennials are often
described as “digital natives” and their behaviors,
activities, and expectations are a result of this early
• Network dependent. With social media and
other instant communications applications
always accessible, Millennials are most
influenced by friends, personal contacts, and
word-of-mouth when making major decisions.
In their job search, they care about company
reputation and will seek out information from
their network to get a full perspective of the
• Digital first, and in some cases, digital only.
Online is not only the first source of information
for Millennials; for some, it is the only resource
they have ever had to utilize to find the
information they require. In their job search,
Millennials rely heavily on online resources,
with the corporate career site being the most
What Makes Your Generation Unique?
Millennials Generation X Boomers
Technology use (24%) Technology use (12%) Work ethic (17%)
Music/pop culture (11%) Work ethic (11%) Respectful (14%)
Liberal/tolerant (7%) Conservative/traditional (7%) Values/morals (8%)
Pew Research (2009)
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads | www.findly.com 5
• Time/attention constrained. Millennials spend
the greatest amount of time online (35 hours
per week) and on their cellphones (14.5 hours
per week) compared to other generations.5
They also switch their attention between media
platforms at a higher rate (27 times per hour
compared to the 17 times per hour for previous
To grab their attention, websites
including career sites should use clear and
simple navigation, and have just the right amount
of real and authentic information.
• Content hungry. With information always
available and often right at their fingertips,
Millennials expect to have a wealth of data and
insights with which to make important decisions.
They will check a company’s career site, social
media presence, YouTube, and review sites, and
they will use search engines to find compelling
stories about the company’s culture.
Technology as well as the economy in which
Millennials came of age has also impacted how they
see their lives related to work.
What Millennials and Young
Workers Care and Think About
Related to Work
• Higher turnover / lower loyalty compared
to predecessors. A 2015 Jobvite survey
reported that Millennials are twice as likely as
30-somethings to leave a job after 3 years. More
than one-third (36%) of Millennials expect to
change jobs every one to three years.7
calls this phenomenon “loyalty-lite,” stating that
enduring previous downturns has significantly
impacted the loyalty that Millennials feel towards
• A desire to make a difference. A Bentley
University survey showed that 84 percent of
Millennial respondents said that “knowing
I am helping to make a positive difference
in the world is more important to me than
corporate failures and recessions, 94 percent of
college-educated respondents agree that their
generation is questioning the assumptions of
the business world and asking themselves,
“What is the best use of my heart and mind?”10
• Company culture matters. Whereas previous
generations are focused on job stability and
compensation as major priorities, Millennials
prioritize company culture as a huge motivator
for selecting and staying at an employer. A Hodes
study showed that around half of Millennials
say that “Work environment/culture” is an
attribute that makes an employer attractive
(41%) and impacts their decision to stay at an
• But make no mistake of it—money and stability
matter too. While Millennials are known for
valuing authenticity and purpose in their
professional endeavors, they also care about
compensation and job security. A 2015 study
by EdAssist shows that financial security is
Millennials’ #1 concern, with 71 percent saying
that they would prefer a retirement savings plan
over other financial perks. A Hodes study mirrors
this finding, with Millennials and Baby Boomers
both overwhelmingly saying that compensation
and job security are the #1 and #2 attributes that
make an employer attractive.12
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads | www.findly.com6
• Opportunity for growth is an important factor.
Millennials want to see an opportunity for
personal and professional development when
assessing employers. A PWC report entitled,
“Millennials at Work,” showed that almost
two-thirds (65%) of respondents stated that
“the opportunity for personal development”
most influenced the decision to accept their
current job—even more than the organization’s
reputation (36%) or even the role itself (24%).13
Another report stated that 52 percent said
opportunities for career progression made an
Knowing that Millennials hold different values
and expectations as it relates to assessing work
opportunities, employers should adapt how they
communicate with Millennials in order to put their
best foot forward when trying to appeal to and
recruit this group.
Tips for Recruiting Millennials and
Content. As previously noted, Millennials are content
hungry and will want as much authentic information
about employers as they can secure. Make sure
the right information is available to Millennials via
the right channels so that they are armed with the
information that they desire in making professional
• Career website. Sixty-three percent (63%) of
business students (US) use an employer’s website
to learn more about a company, making it the
most important information resource.15
the most part, employers understand and are
on board with this idea; almost three-quarters
of employers (71%) state that their career site
is an online/interactive way to engage with
potential candidates who have not yet applied.16
Understand what compels Millennials—
including the opportunity for development and
professional progress, company culture, and an
authentic look into how the company operates
and what it cares about—and be sure that you
share your company’s unique perspective on
these and other topics.
• Email. A 2015 study by Principal Financial Group
found that despite the popularity of social media
and real-time communication media such as
chat and SMS, Millennials overwhelmingly prefer
to communicate with companies via email. For
4 in 10 Millennials, email is the preferred method
For more information on optimizing your
recruitment email marketing strategies,
please download the Findly tipsheet or watch
our webinar on this topic. See resource links
at the end of this document.
Top-Ranked Employer Attributes That
Make an Employer Attractive
Compensation (68%) Compensation (68%)
Job security (44%) Job security (40%)
Bernard Hodes Group (2012), The Growing Value of Employer Brands
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads | www.findly.com 7
of contact for outbound communications.17
Beyond just an application confirmation, email
offers your company an opportunity to express
its unique traits, give updates, and offer the
information that Millennials require to feel
good about their professional choices. Email,
unfortunately, remains an underutilized form
of candidate engagement with 91 percent
of employers admitting that they make no
additional contact beyond the automated
acknowledgment of application receipt.18
In-person engagement. Onsite events, including
career fairs and on-campus recruiting, remain
a popular way for companies to connect with
interested candidates. Companies should use best-
in-class technology and have a strong game plan in
order to maximize ROI of these recruiting activities.
• Events, including on-campus recruiting. Sixty
percent (60%) of business students indicate
that they learn about employers at career fairs
and 45 percent say that they do so at employer
presentations on campus.19
According to the
Talent Board’s 2014 CandE Awards report,
employers use in-person events to develop
relationships directly with candidates including
internship fairs (46%) and career fairs (27%).
These in-person events are often themed and
therefore allow companies the opportunity to
connect with military, university, diversity, and
• Mobile technology. Advances in portable
technology, including mobile phones and tablet
computers, extend the opportunity to interact
and collect vital information from candidates you
encounter at events. Thirty-nine percent (39%)
of job seekers feel that the ability to leave their
contact information with an employer and apply
later is extremely or very important.21
remains an area where employers are missing
out on connecting with great candidates—the
Findly Customer Success Story #1
One of Findly’s customers, a well-known, global
hospitality company, reported that Findly’s
automated candidate engagement was one of the
highest performing external sources of hires (second
only to a niche job site). Within two months, these
company branded emails were the source of 171 of
the company’s hires—nearly the same number of
hires referred by four job boards and job resource
sites combined (173 total for all four sources).
Findly Customer Success Story #2
One of Findly’s customers, an energy products
manufacturer, determined that attending a student-
centered STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering
and Math) Conference would be the best way to
interface with high quality, hard-to-hire engineering
candidates. Over the course of one day onsite at
the conference, they captured over 300 candidate
profiles into their recruiting CRM. Better yet, they
were able to source and shortlist candidates in
real-time, interviewing over 50 candidates on
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads | www.findly.com8
approximately 90 percent of job seekers who
may express interest in your company but who
do not apply. More than half (57%) of companies
admit that they do not use a tool to capture
candidates who do not apply and 21 percent
are not sure if they do or do not.22
have just moments to interact with candidates at
events, make sure you have the means to quickly
capture essential information, such as an email
address, so that you can continue to interact
with candidates over time. This increases your
capture rate and will enable higher ROI for your
event marketing investments.
Technology and candidate experience. Millennials
have grown up alongside technology and research
has shown they have the highest of expectations
when it comes to digital experiences. Compared to
other generations, they have higher expectations
of seamlessness in job search activities, with one-
third (33%) stating that the ability to apply for a job
using a mobile phone is important.23
And 6 in 10 job
seekers have started but failed to complete an online
application due to how long or complex it was.24
The candidate experience, from beginning a search
to a click of the “Submit” button to the continuous
engagement that enables you to keep in contact
with your talent community, should be simple and
easy, and it should be an extension of your employer
brand and your employment value proposition.
Finally, while this paper focused on the Millennial generation—digital natives
who have grown up alongside technology—many of the habits and expectations
that we have shared extend to other job seekers who may be equally tech
savvy. As such, the tips and recommendations we have provided should be a
part of your company’s strategy for engaging any/all job seekers via effective
engagement, compelling content, and cutting-edge recruitment technologies.
Findly’s talent acquisition solutions are innovative
in concept, differentiated in execution, and proven
in the value experienced by customers. The unique
combination of award-winning recruitment
marketing, candidate relationship management
(CRM) cloud-based technology, employer branding
strategy and deliverables, and assessment testing
enable Findly’s customers to address the challenge
of finding and hiring the right talent with a single
partner, easily and cost effectively.
The company’s technology business is
headquartered in San Francisco and its employer
branding services agency, Findly Hodes, is located
in New York. Findly is privately owned by Symphony
Technology Group (STG), a private equity firm
in Palo Alto. Findly services over 2,000 global
clients today. Learn more at www.findly.com or
contact us at 1.800.603.0680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recruiting Millennials and New Grads | www.findly.com 9
With a focus on helping employers provide the best of candidate experiences, Findly has created a number of
resources to help you understand talent acquisition best practices and provide valuable tips. Here are some
topics we have covered:
The 5 Do’s and Don’ts of
Recruiting Digital Job Seekers
5 Tips for Successful Recruitment
Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down:
The Consumerization of
1. Millennials: Portrait of Generation Next, 12. Pew Research Center, February 2010.
2. Minton-Eversole, Theresa. “Concerns Grow over Workforce Retirements and Skills Gaps.” SHRM.org, April 9, 2012.
3. “By the Year 2020, Almost Half of the Workforce Will Be Made Up of These People,” Upworthy.com. http://www.upworthy.com/by-the-year-2020-almost-half-of-the-workforce-will-be-made-
4. “Companies Planning to Hire More Recent College Graduates This Year and Pay Them Better, According to Careerbuilder Survey,” Careerbuilder.com, April 23, 2015.
5. “Millennials Spend More Time With Digital Than Traditional Media, But…,” Marketingcharts.com, July 1, 2014.
6. “By the Year 2020, Almost Half of the Workforce Will Be Made Up of These People”
7. Job Seeker Nation Study. Jobvite, 2015.
8. Millennials at Work, Reshaping the Workplace, 4. PWC, 2012.
9. Millennials in the Workplace, 4. Bentley University, 2012.
10. Millennials in the Workplace, 2.
11. The Growing Value of Employer Brands. Bernard Hodes Group, 2012.
12. Adams, Susan, “What Millennials Want At Work.” Forbes.com, April 7, 2015.
13. Millennials at Work, 11.
14. “By the Year 2020, Almost Half of the Workforce Will Be Made Up of These People”
15. Building a Global Employer Brand, Insights from the World’s Most Attractive Employer Survey 2014, 20. Universum, 2014.
16. Candidate Experience 2014, 10. Talent Board, 2015.
17. Millennial Research Study 2015, 50. Principal Financial Group, 2015.
18. Candidate Experience 2014, 27.
19. Building a Global Employer Brand, 20.
20. Candidate Experience 2014, 11.
21. How Candidate Experience is Transforming HR Technology, 58. Careerbuilder, 2014.
22. How Candidate Experience is Transforming HR Technology, 34.
23. 2015 Job Seeker Nation Study, Inside the Mind of the Modern Job Seeker, 8. Jobvite, 2015.
24. How Candidate Experience is Transforming HR Technology, 56.
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