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Hiring Millennials“Millennials are lazy.”

“Millennials are self-centered.”

“Millennials want too much money for too little work.”

When it comes to generation Y, also known as millennials, there are plenty of stereotypes and misconceptions. While it’s true that the generation born between 1980 and 2000 is unlike any that came before it, it’s not true that the entire generation is entitled, spoiled and unwilling to work. In fact, gen-Yers have a lot to offer employers, especially when it comes to their understanding of technology and its place in today’s world.

The key is for employers to understand what makes these workers tick and create opportunities and working environments that meet their needs and keep them engaged and enthusiastic. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but if you understand the following facts about millennials, you’ll have a better chance of attracting the top talent from this deep pool.

Career Growth and Opportunities Are as Important as Salary

Employers who want to attract and maintain top talent from any generation need to understand what potential employees value and want from their careers. While obviously money is always a factor, for millennials, salary is not always the most important consideration when deciding on a career path. According to one recent survey, more than half of recent college graduates ranked opportunities for advancement above pay as the deciding factor when it comes to accepting a job, work that is interesting and challenging ranked second, followed by salary in a close third place.

Employers looking to hire high-performing millennials need to understand they value structure and promotion opportunities more than the earning potential. As far as many people in this age group are concerned, a salary must meet their basic needs, but the opportunities for growth and challenges are more important.

Millennials Like Knowing What to Expect

One of the major criticisms of the millennial generation is they are more sheltered than any generation previous. They are used to being dependent and tend to be far more risk averse than any other generation. As a result, they want to know what to expect when they apply for a job or go to work for a company. If you want to attract top talent from these young workers, you need to be willing to tell your brand story and offer a glimpse “behind the curtain.” You can do this by offering internships and job shadowing opportunities for potential recruits or by developing a robust and engaging social media presence that stays true to your brand. Consider asking some current employees to create “Day in the Life” videos to use as recruitment tools or to blog about their jobs, all to give applicants a view into what it’s really like to work at your company.

Knowing what to expect extends to the hiring process as well. Millennials expect communication throughout the hiring process, particularly when the position has been filled. Because millennials value social interaction and relationships, it’s very likely that they will share negative recruiting experiences online — which could hurt your brand.

Social Media Is VitalRecruiting Millennials

Speaking of social media, if you aren’t tapping into social networks to find candidates, you are missing out on a rich pool of qualified and talented individuals. According to a report in Inc. magazine, social media are millennials’ tools of choice for job hunting. Millennials aren’t turning to recruiters or online job boards — and forget newspaper classifieds — but instead relying on their social networks and company profiles on sites like Google Plus, LinkedIn and Facebook. In short, if your company doesn’t have an engaging, up-to-date social media presence, you aren’t going to attract top talent.

Job Descriptions Matter

For decades, the mantra for job hunters was “Show companies what you can do for them.” For millennials, the opposite is true: If you want to hire the best and the brightest, you need to give them a reason to come work for you. Again, millennials want jobs that allow them to feel fulfilled and make an actual contribution, so job descriptions should explain where the open position fits in with the rest of the company and why it’s important. Focus on what makes the job and your company unique: Do you offer unlimited time off? Opportunities to travel? Millennials don’t respond to boring, cookie-cutter job descriptions that imply they will be just another cog in the wheel. Give them something to get excited about.

Employee-Centered Companies Are Desirable

Work-life balance and fun are important to millennials. They want work that fits into their lives and value companies that provide opportunities for building relationships with co-workers and help them enjoy their work. They want to work for companies that put employee needs first, by offering pleasant work environments (no cube farms!) and access to technology. They want the opportunity to pursue their passions and take initiative. While you shouldn’t necessarily change your entire corporate culture, you should find ways to integrate millennials into the existing culture and make them feel valued and welcome.

Finding ways to meet the needs of millennial workers is important — by next year, experts suggest, they will make up more than a third of the entire workforce. Look at your culture and recruiting program, and if necessary, make changes to be more appealing to millennials.

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