Feature: Attracting Millennials

Working culture has changed in recent times as consumers and businesses alike are shifting how they work and want they want. Alongside that, millennials and the new generation of employee have different expectations of working culture. Flexible hours, remote working, creative working cultures, flat business structures and opportunities for development are just some of the most commonly mentioned desirable working traits we hear about from young jobseekers and graduates today. Happily, many companies in the Innovation, Strategy & Design industry do this now, and we have noticed that young candidates are excited by the idea of a career in this space.

However, we know that such demands mean substantial change for many businesses across their recruiting process and their organizational culture. Here are some general tips that might help you to identify some strategies to stand-out in the crowded marketplace of hiring young talent. 

1 – Don’t pretend or expect to retain anyone for the long haul

44% of millennials are likely to leave their current employers in the next two years. Where previous generations might have given large proportions of their lives to a single company, millennials, and the soon to follow Gen Z, don’t share the same desire. The influence of phenomena like the gig economy and silicon roundabout shouldn’t be underestimated – they are shifting ideas about what is desirable and encouraging a new career perspective that sees employees looking to experience different environments.

Be flexible, encourage outside interests, and be open and honest with young staff – it will set you beyond your competitors. Want to retain staff for longer? Provide mentorship: 61% of millennials reported in a recent survey that mentorship – a development coach and sounding board – was a real benefit.  Also, provide flexibility: 75% of millennials like the prospect of remote working as they feel it bolsters their productivity and that they can take more responsibility over how they work. Give up control and let your employees know you trust them. Those who feel they trusted are often more loyal.
2 – Be modern in approach and perception. Embrace new technology and be seen as an innovator, not a dinosaur.

With the shift towards digital in modern culture, exposure in online communications leaves your business, employer brand, ethos, culture, even your interview process open to scrutiny. Job seekers now know everything about prospective employers, right down to how Google have a slide in their office and how Adobe have a rock climbing wall.

A progressive, agile culture and a human-centred value system that work with what job seekers are very desirable for prospective talent. Be sure to understand tailor your online presence to your audience, and adjust your company messaging to help young jobseekers find their way to the right opportunities.

3 – Believe the hype.

 Depending on what you’re recruiting for there are a huge number of options for attract millennials (those born between ‘82 – ‘99) and Generation Z (those born between ‘96 – ‘2010). They’re more accessible than any generation before them and businesses are already exploring ways to exploit different channels. For example, JP Morgan is using geofilters on Snapchat to attract people to recruitment events they’re running on campuses in the UK and US. They are also utilising other platforms like Periscope and Twitter to give global offices their own presence and to showcase the diversity of cultures within the organization itself.

The key thing is to keep an eye on alternative, complimentary and upcoming channels for attracting talent. Find the ones that work for your business and review your strategy regularly. It might be that the more traditional digital channels are working, in which case, don’t change a thing. At the same time, though, consider which other options might be more effective in helping you to push your message further.

4 – Make your recruitment process more agile and accessible 

Recently, KPMG radically changed their graduate recruitment process to adjust to the new generation of employees. What had been a process of 3 interviews over several weeks was cut down an intensive workshop-style assessment in one day, with candidates being given final decisions in the subsequent days. By comparison, Deloitte altered changed their selection process to remove “unconscious bias” and to encourage fairer representation of candidates, with internal recruiters now unable to see where candidates have gone to university.

From this, it is clear that employers need to look at what the application process looks like, and what it communicates to potential applicants. 70% of millennials have been forced to submit a Word document CV for their last job application (the editing function allows employers to see clearly mistakes in grammar or spelling). Strategies like this, as well as traditional CVs, long processes and cover letters are generally not tools that connect well with millennials who live in a world that is increasingly automated and immediate.


I’m a Founding Partner of Bamboo Crowd. I help our clients invest better in people and scale through Engine. I solve recruitment challenges and help our clients source the best talent across operations, business development, programme management, and technology. Ask me about good films, beards and hip hop.