How We Recruit Millennial Talent

November 28, 2016 — by Julie Smith    

This post is part of a four-part series around managing a training program, including recruiting, retaining and reviewing young talent.

As the newest generation hits the market, deemed “Millennials,” there has been a shift in what it takes to recruit top talent.  Whether it’s the tech industry, finance, or fashion, the old drivers of money and stability aren’t the only things attracting top talent anymore. To stay current in todays market Millenials wants transparency, culture and flexibility.

After recruiting over four cohorts of MediaMath’s Marketing Engineer Program, we’ve interviewed talent from across the world. Recruiting them isn’t just for the HR team, it’s a full company effort. Whether you are a hiring manager or a recruiter, if you’re looking for ways to attract young talent to your company, check out our tips for drawing and keeping their attention.

• Write a compelling job description

Gone are the days of generic job descriptions. Write job descriptions that reflect your company and your team. Using unclear verbiage, leaving the applicant guessing if it’s the right fit won’t help them know if they’re applying for the right role (and will save you time when interviewing people who ARE right for the role). Consider their background and take into account what qualities makes someone successful in your company, on your team and in this role. Instead of writing “Analysis and research background,” think “Coursework or professional experience with data-driven problem solving and/or quantitative reasoning.” At MediaMath, being data-driven is in our mission so we look for people who have that passion.

• Don’t be afraid to pivot them to other roles

At MediaMath we want people to find the right role for themselves as much as we want top talent to join the company. If we have someone come in for an interview, and they’re a rock star, but not the right fit for the position, we’ll pivot them to other teams internally. While it might take us a few months to find the right fit, what matters is that we do.  I work alongside many of these people each day, and they’ve found roles perfect for their skillset and interests. It’s just as important to interview based on their ability to get the job done as it is that they’ll be successful in the role and on the team. If you have someone who will be working alone a majority of the time, but they talk about being a great people manager and enjoy working with people, they likely aren’t going to be successful no matter their technical abilities.

• Get creative with your company perks and tailor your message

Perks come in all shapes and sizes – they don’t have to be excessive. While the Facebooks and Googles of the world can provide free meals, that’s often not sustainable for most companies. If the budget is tight, focus on creating the right perks for your ideal workforce. A flexible work schedule, casual dress code, a robust onboarding program and internal professional development trainings can add a lot of value to someone starting out their career. Focus on finding what drives your applicants and tailor the discussion to those. Do you they have a family at home? Tailor their schedule to something that works for them. Do they work out a lot? Talk about how they can leave when they don’t have meetings to catch a mid-day cycle class.

• Make the conversation a two-way street

Millennials want to know that their new role is going to help their career grow as much as the position will help the company grow. Ask where they see themselves in five years, if it’s in a manager role, talk to them about the transferable skills they will get in the position and how the role will help them get where they want to go.  For our Marketing Engineers we even change the traditional cover letter to require research and an informative reaction to an industry trend. We want to see that they are not only interested in the role, but their impact on the industry. Make the conversation about more than their ability to complete the job.

• Train your team to interview for the right skills

All interviewers for our Marketing Engineer Program attend a mandatory training. The training doesn’t need to be long. Ours is 45 minutes.  However, it’s important that each interviewer is familiar with the job description, knows the skills and/or competencies required for the position, and understands their role in the hiring process.  This will ensure everyone is on the same page, and lead to a seamless and streamlined interview process. Remember to also include the basics like interview etiquette, applicable employment laws and the hiring process/timeline.

Young talent is important to the vitality of any organization. Whether it’s their drive for innovation, their openness to trying new things, or their exponential potential, Millennials provide a unique skill set and perspective. By utilizing these tools and collaborating with your recruiters, you’ll bring the right talent in at the right time.

Julie Smith

Julie is the Program Specialist for the Marketing Engineer Program at MediaMath. A native of Maryland, she brings her love of crab cakes and Old Bay to New York City. She has spent her career working on various programs from workforce development training for adults with disabilities to relocating foreign national scientists to the United States to work for NASA. Focused on helping young talent develop themselves, she specializes in coaching and professional development. Julie is currently pursuing her Masters in Organization Development and Change Manager from Penn State University.