gen y social mediaThe first thing you should know about recruiting Generation Y? According to pioneering generational researchers William Strauss and Neil Howe, workers born between 1982-2000 actually prefer to be called Millennials. That nuance illustrates the essential element to recruiting and attracting the best Millennial talent — effective communications that speak to and understand their language and values.

Millennials and Social Media Use

While it’s no secret that communication is increasingly facilitated by social tools and technologies, social media is particularly relevant for Millennials. According to the Pew Internet Foundation’s 2013 Future of the Internet report, fully 75% of Millennials maintain an active presence on social media sites, compared to only 41% of the total online population; they are as likely to consume a daily blog as a daily newspaper.

The ubiquity of social media recruiting puts the onus on your staffing firm to deliver a clear, compelling message that speaks to this generation’s expectations about work and life, and how they should be combined.

These changing expectations present the staffing industry with a unique opportunity to fill the requisitions of today with the talent of tomorrow. Like any recruiting relationship, however, creating and executing a strategy involves an understanding of the mindset — and motivations — of the professionals you’re looking to place.

If those professionals are Millennials, that means rethinking, and reframing, many of the pervasive misperceptions about Generation Y.

The End of the Trophy Generation

While they’re commonly referred to as The Trophy Generation, the expectation of entitlement for many Millennials stopped at about the same time that they obtained their often inordinately expensive college degrees, entering one of the worst job markets on record.

Within the last five years, youth unemployment in the US reached 19.1%, the highest rate ever recorded since the statistic started being tracked in 1948; according to FinAid, the average student loan debt among students graduating with a four year degree currently sits at $23,186. These factors have forced a shift from career idealism to career pragmatism; for many Millennials, any job is a good job.

For staffing firms, recruiting Millennials means having a highly skilled, highly educated pool of available candidates who are likely to take assignments that more experienced workers might not accept, at salaries that are more competitive — and aligned — with current market conditions.

GEM Recruiting AI

That’s not to say Gen Y candidates are easily exploited when recruiting Millennials; in fact, it’s key for staffing professionals to add value to the recruiting conversation. Doing so for emerging workers is easy: no matter what the outcome or staffing decision, provide them with feedback, coaching and a clear understanding of the hiring process. This will also help make them more informed job seekers — and better candidates.

The Social Media Connection

Social media marketing offers an efficient and effective way to stay connected with Gen Y candidates and track their career progression while keeping them on your radar, should the right opportunity arise.

Sharing job search tips and career content via Facebook or Twitter, whether original or repurposed, gives the candidate the incentive to stay active and engaged with your company brand. Consider providing content that’s worth sharing with their wider network of their friends, who are likely to also be Gen Y talent…and potential candidates.

The key for recruiters is to present opportunities as learning experiences and help Gen Y candidates understand how these roles can translate into a career — or at least, the next step on the ladder.

Focusing on the big picture is important, but the details are what really matters.  Showcase success stories through social networks featuring real Gen Y workers; create compelling evidence about what to expect — and how to exceed those expectations.

Blogs and short YouTube videos are great ways to extend your message and reach while targeting the mediums that Millennials use (and trust) most.

By Matt Charney

Matt serves as Chief Content Officer and Global Thought Leadership Head for Allegis Global Solutions and is a partner for RecruitingDaily the industry leading online publication for Recruiting and HR Tech. With a unique background that includes HR, blogging and social media, Matt Charney is a key influencer in recruiting and a self-described “kick-butt marketing and communications professional.”