Wild & Crazy Kids: Millennial Hiring Trends Every Employer Needs To Know.

andy_rooney_quoteWe all have pet peeves. You know, those little things that people do that piss you off big time. Like that annoying loud talker in the next cube over, motivational speakers trying to sell books on leadership or those candidates who keep on talking after you’re pretty clearly done.

Come to think of it, actually, almost everything candidates do piss recruiters off, including, you know, wanting to know where they stand in terms of next steps, how much a position actually pays and that kind of thing.

I mean, who do these people think they are, anyways? Don’t they know you’re too busy tweeting resume advice to look at resumes, or too busy engaging a talent community to actually engage talent?

Seriously – I know this to be true, because, well, I asked what candidates do that really pisses recruiters off on the RecruitingBlogs Facebook page, and people really let it out there. And obviously when a candidate declines an offer or doesn’t show up for an interview on time because they weren’t told where to go, it’s entirely their fault.

And everyone wonders why recruiters are the Rodney Dangerfield of professions. They get no respect, but turns out, that’s a two way street – at least judging from the Facebook conversation that somehow, recruiters weren’t too overwhelmed with reqs and resumes to take time to weigh in on.

Some responses were funny, some were horrifying (like the one where a candidate somehow thought bringing up poop in an interview was a good idea – this must be #TheMovement Top Recruiter keeps tweeting about).

Millennials Myths, Misconceptions and Recruiting Reality.

37677171But in reading through the posts, I noticed another trend that’s just as alarming as the fact that candidate experience seems to be more of a commoditized catchphrase than an actual cause d’celebre. Now, I’m admittedly not a recruiter, although I’ve spent years closely watching and working with this industry.

I’m also not a data scientist, since I’m as good at math as most people in marketing, but I realized in reading through this recruiter whine party that quantitative measurements and metrics aside, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that there’s something rotten going on in the state of talent acquisition today.

These trends were confirmed by the recent release of the Jobvite 2015 Hiring Trends report (or at least the associated infographic):

1. People out there are pretty much still f-ing crazy.

2. A lot of the recruiting pet peeves are associated with classic millennial traits. And that’s a problem.

Stay with me here. Follow a few of the comments on the thread: accepting an offer, then declining it because there was a better one. Trying to tell you, the recruiter, that they know more about the job market than you do. Applying for a bilingual job because they had just purchased a copy of Rosetta Stone. 

These are all obnoxious and annoying, sure, but the truly cloying part of all of this is that these all come back to this “shit millennials do” conversation that’s older than the actual workforce segment being discussed.

Millennial Recruiting: Wild & Crazy Kids.

A3F7t56CMAEd-CIWhile there’s no real evidence that the stuff we ascribe to this much maligned generation has any actual statistical validity beyond age (which ain’t nothing but a number), looking at Millennials purely through that lens, the fact is that this year, Gen Y officially became the largest age-related demographic in the workforce in 2015.

The Millennials are no longer coming – we’re here, and we’re your co-workers, colleagues and clients (and the bylines on most best practices blog posts, in case you hadn’t noticed).

Crap.

Well. Clearly, we’ve been thinking about Gen Y long before now, but considering we’re halfway through the year I’m going to guess at whatever strategy meetings or touchpoints have gone on since your last workforce plan was planned, Gen Y has had absolutely NO real relevance for your organization in terms of tangible talent management takeaways or actionable action items.

If the word “Millennial” came up in your last planning meeting, I can almost promise that you either work in market research or are selling consulting services. In recruiting and retention, though, as much as we like to wax philosophical on this theoretical abstract, the fact is when put in practice, having to align the right candidate with the right role and overcoming process limitations and hiring manager objections is in no way impacted by Millennial theory or sweeping generational stereotypes.

It’s not just the younger generation that expects basic stuff like mobile enabled application processes or feedback from employers – it’s just they’re the ones openly challenging the often inane staffing status quo. Add in an entire buzzword bingo board worth of stuff to worry about (engagement, talent communities, big data, etc.), and you come to the conclusion that no matter how good we get at analytics, the math around Millennials adds up to nothing more than a pastiche of myths and misconceptions with as much foundation in reality as most LinkedIn profiles.

Which is to say, we’re just making shit up without actually addressing the critical problems behind what we perceive to be critical problems. But since you’re so damn sure that big data is going to somehow overcome endemic apathy and end user stupidity, I took a look at the numbers to pull out what’s actually going on with Gen Y talent today.

2015 Hiring Trends: 5 Things You Need To Know About Millennials.

Hey, numbers don’t lie. They’re just spun into whatever story is the most expedient for whatever it is your providers and partners happen to be selling – and the quarterly quota of crap is continually exceeded. Ergo, a deep data dive by yours truly.

1. They’re Going To Quit.

Have you stopped worrying about attracting Gen Y workers long enough to concentrate on keeping them? If not, might be high time to brush the dust off that retention strategy and start planning a new playbook. That’s because Millennials are twice as likely to leave an employer voluntarily within three years of accepting a job.

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2. Millennials Are Mobile (Like Everyone Else).

Let’s make this clear: mobile isn’t an emerging category or best practice in recruiting – it’s not even optional if you’re actually committed to hiring top talent. 47% of Millennials report using their mobile devices exclusively to search for jobs, according to Jobvite data. Let’s do some quick math on that.

If most Millennials are using their “mobile devices” to look for jobs (a number that’s up 4% year over year), and Gen Y statistically represents a majority of the job market…

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3. Gen Y Wants To Work In A Dorm Room, Not An Office.

Have you ever seen the kinds of facilities that Division 1 athletes have access to at big time programs? To say that they’re state-of-the-art would be understatement. From the new lazy river at LSU to the PS4s installed in every Notre Dame player’s locker, the average D1 football program – this is just football, folks – according to the US Department of Education. That’s up there with the average cost per hire of a LinkedIn Recruiter licence. 

Why are schools splurging on these spurious white elephants? Duh. Because everyone’s going after the same set of five star studs, and 18 year olds are pretty easy to impress if you’ve got enough cash to invest in silly stuff like having a Sorbonne trained chef on call 24-7, as is the case at two SEC programs.

Millennials, similarly, are the workplace equivalent of that star running back on National Signing Day. If your facilities fail to impress, you’re going to lose that recruit to the competition, and it’s going to come back and bite you in the ass on Game Day.

Don’t believe me? One example of this phenomenon: Los Angeles based startup Scopely, competing with the likes of SnapChat for Silicon Beach tech talent, is offering new hires custom tuxedoes, spearguns and a year’s supply of free beer.

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4. Gen Y are a bunch of loud mouthed little jerks.

Millennials are more likely than their, uh, “overqualified” counterparts to actually talk publically about your candidate experience, and share it with their friends (and the world, vis a vis that magical social media thingie). WIth the rise in employer branding in recruiting and the increase of culture as a competitive differentiator, Millennials are not necessarily going to say nice things to try to score some Brownie points with your business; they’re just as likely to share their negative experiences, even if they’re still in process.

63% of job seekers report talking about their job search experience at any given employer with their professional and personal network – which are probably the same set of candidates you’re actively trying to attract with that pretty careers site and your “social recruiting” efforts. The thing is, the echo chamber reverberates much more loudly than the “tactical transparency” most companies think they’re getting away with.

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5. More LIke Job Bored.

Bad news for anyone recruiting Millennials using that old post and pray strategy that’s been the go-to for so many recruiters for so long: Gen Y aren’t hanging around the job board jungle. That is, with the exception of Indeed, which far outperforms all other job boards with Gen Y job seekers.

That’s because, you know, there’s this thing called Google that kids today use to find information about everything you’d probably ask Jeeves. In fact, less than 40% of Millennials reported using a traditional job board like Monster or CareerBuilder in their most recent job search. Hey, I don’t make the news, i just report it – and this is the reality of recruiting tomorrow’s talent today.

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But then again, what the hell do I know? I’m really just another one of those loud mouthed Millennials. And if you’re like most recruiters, you’re probably too busy stereotyping me and my ilk to actually do the stuff you need to for recruiting and retaining us.

It’s OK – you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and there’s nothing older than employers fixating on generational theory while completely ignoring the facts. Which, like Millennials, isn’t a new phenomenon among recruiting and HR professionals – but in this case, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to use my mobile phone to engage my talent network on social media. Or some shit like that.

Katrina Kibben


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