In 2015, Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, and currently, there are 53.5 million Millennials in the job market.
Surely there are talented hires somewhere in the midst of this new generation of workers. The question is, where are they? Nearly 80 percent of small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates for their open positions.
The problem for businesses is that Millennials are changing the job market.
Talented hires are still out there, as they’ve always been, only now they are harder to find and harder to please as more workers adopt the Millennial mentality.
In today’s world, employees expect more from businesses in terms of freedom and growth opportunities, and it’s up to employers to please potential employees and attract them to their open positions.
The key to finding talent in 2016 lies in understanding the Millennial workforce and how they are changing the traditional job market. When it comes to hiring top talent in 2016, there are four tips to keep in mind during the search process:
1. Always Use Referrals When You Can
It’s really no surprise that referral networks are powerful hiring tools, but the extent to which they work is nonetheless surprising. Referred candidates are hired two-thirds of the time, and 65 percent of hired referrals are happy with their new jobs. Referrals have an incredibly high success rate of onboarding because they are more likely to be a good fit at the company and they already have an emotional attachment to the company through the person that referred them.
If you’re struggling to hire new employees, start with your own professional and personal networks. If no one is enthusiastic about referring candidates, then create a referral incentive program to encourage them to do so, and you’ll be hiring a new employee, millennial or otherwise, in no time.
2. Utilize the Global Workforce
While referrals have been a common hiring tool since businesses first hired employees, the rise of the freelance economy has changed the way many employers and employees think about job contracts. In today’s world, many Millennials want flexibility and room for growth rather than being trapped in a 10-year career ladder.
This desire has led to an increase in short-term freelancing gigs, many of which involve telecommuting from different places all over the world, because these short-term opportunities often allow employees to learn new skills and continue their professional growth at a faster rate. The benefits of this new system are many-fold: remote workers are more productive than in-office employees, and they are happier. Businesses, on the other hand, save money by reducing the need for office space, supplies, and energy consumption.
As detailed in a Bloomberg report, an ex-Google employee now makes twice as much freelancing, revealing that the freelance marketplace is expanding to include not only people looking for side-gigs but also top talent looking for serious work. Many companies have taken advantage of the global pool of elite talent, opting for a remote structure and building their entire team and business on the model of finding the best talent in the world, wherever it may be. After all, if you don’t limit your employee search by location, you’re looking at a broader pool, which ultimately means you’ll find better talent too.
Related Article: Millennials In the Workplace: How Will They Affect Hiring?
3. Leverage Social Media as a Powerful Hiring Tool
Another key step of hiring talent is to go to where the talent is, though it may not be where you would expect. Sure, social media is not always meant to be a professional network, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage. Nearly 20 percent of time spent online in the U.S. occurs on social media platforms. At first, you may think this figure is skewed by teenagers who spend all their time on social media, but in fact, the highest social media usage comes from people between the ages of 25 and 54, a combination of Millennials and Generation X-ers in the prime of their careers.
Here’s what strategic use of social media can do for your talent search: to hire the best, attract the best. Going deep in the search process can be time-consuming, and while you should still make every effort to seek out the best millennial talent, sometimes finding a way to draw that talent to you can be even better.
Will you hire an employee directly through social media? Probably not, but social media is a crucial way to get exposure to potential applicants. Utilizing social media is more about leveraging your reputation and getting public exposure than it is about tracking down an individual. The more the public knows about your business, the more people will end up becoming interested and applying for your open positions.
Related Article: Keep Your Crew: Creative Ways to Attract and Retain Top Talent
4. Offer a Strong Package
Similar to the concept of attracting new applicants by going to them, the last, and most important, part of any hiring process is have an attractive package, to begin with. Talent won’t work with you if you don’t have an open position with an established salary, goals, and parameters. The key to hiring in 2016 is to target Millennials, who by 2020 will make up 40 percent of the U.S. workforce. In fact, 44 percent of Millennials say that they would like to leave their current employer in the next two years because the company does not match their values or meet their work expectations.
So what can you offer Millennials to engage them as candidates and retain top talent? According to Fortune, Millennials want three things: flexibility in the workplace (i.e. unlimited vacation, options to work remotely), personal and professional growth (i.e. extensive training and constant learning), and the ability to help the world (i.e. the company provides benefits to others and society).
While it can be difficult for a company to offer all three of these, Millennials are encouraging change in the workforce by putting these issues at the forefront of any hiring process. The more hiring managers can meet these desires, the better chance they’ll have of hiring that new employee, and ideally a talented one at that. The key to finding talent is to provide the opportunities they’d most be interested in while expanding your search to boost your exposure and reach the right candidates.
What other hiring tactics are you using in 2016? Leave a comment below.