Gen Y, or the Millennial Generation, is a booming age of workers, born from the 1980’s through the early 2000’s. As more of this young generation graduates college and enters the workforce, they’re competing for the best jobs. However, candidates aren’t the only ones competing. Businesses, from small marketing agencies to large IT firms, are competing for the best applicants and employees. Finding the best Gen Y candidates is easier than you probably think, but recruiting them may me a bit more difficult. Here’s how you can up the ante for the best of Gen Y.

Find the Best

In a study by Achievers and Experience Inc., 88% of the graduating class responded that they expect to apply directly to the companies they wish to work for. With such a high percentage applying directly, small businesses and startups need to focus on their branding and positioning. Finding the best applicants means finding the best places for your business to post jobs, promote the brand and interact with Gen Y.

  • 83% of Millennials are currently using social media sites. Make sure your business is present on relevant social sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and that its sharing when positions are currently available.
  • 73% of students will use their university’s career services to find job placement. Reach out to universities to help establish your brand among this younger generation.  Work your way into on-campus recruiting events and school-specific online job boards.
  • Don’t put all your focus online. One study found that more than half of Gen Y checks newspaper or magazine ads, one-third use staffing or recruiting firms and one-quarter ask their parents for leads.

Stand Out From the Rest

Standing out from the other small businesses and the major corporations can be a challenge. However, how and where you position your business will make a difference. Benefits are a must when it comes to Gen Y, but it isn’t the only way your business can stand out. Think outside the box and look into what else these Millenials are looking for – and how your business can make it happen.

  • Use social media for branding and promoting. Brand your business for their generation and share when you are currently hiring. Make the most of key hashtags such as #job and #dreamjob or create an application page on your company Facebook.
  • Reward them well. 81% of the respondents in the study conducted by ­Achievers listed travel, i.e. a flight and hotel to a destination, while 70% listed an experience reward, such as a spa day, as the rewards that are most appealing.
  • According to a Gallup study in 2007, 55 percent of Gen Y respondents rated growth potential as a very important workplace value. When posting a job or interviewing a candidate, make sure you explain where your company stands in terms of individual and business growth.
  • 96% want an environmentally aware workplace (Johnson Controls 2010 survey). Make your office more eco-friendly with Energy Star products, recycling initiatives, and more.
  • Create a Gen-Y friendly company culture that promotes productivity and creativity and working in groups. Gen Y wants to engage with colleagues and your business should be one where this is possible. If so, promote it during the interview and on your company profiles.

Gen Y is a demanding workforce who asks for what they want. Keeping this in mind, your business should touch on topics that Millenials are interested in when posting jobs, or recruiting applicants. While well-established and structured businesses may have a difficult time adjusting to the entrance of Gen Y in their workplaces, small businesses are at an advantage. Gen Y wants a social work environment where they are challenged and rewarded. In order to find and recruit the best, brand your business as one that does just that.

Author Bio: Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as recruiting and HR software solutions. She is a web content writer for

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