Recruiting Millennials: what is the best way to attract, hire and retain them in your company?

Recruiting Millennials: what is the best way to attract, hire and retain them in your company?

Today there is more and more talk about Millennials, but how can you make your company attractive to them, what aspects should you focus on in the candidate experience and how can you retain them? Let’s find out in this article.

If you work in recruiting, you will surely know that when it comes to attracting, hiring, and retaining employees, recruitment strategies must also consider the generation they belong to.

Although not all people are the same, and assigning their diversity to homogeneous groups is difficult, some recognisable features and needs are shared by people who belong to Generation X, Millennials or Generation Z (for example).

In this article, we focus on Millennials: How can you best attract, recruit, and retain them in your company?
There are many clichés about Millennials and, for this reason, we want to shed some light and debunk some myths.

When it comes to recruiting Millennials, you first need to understand better who they are. How can you do this? By listening, analysing data, meeting them and not blindly trusting common stereotypes and myths.

Let’s start by understanding who Millennials are.


Who are Millennials? 

Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the generation of people born between 1980 and 2000 and who, therefore, today (in 2024) are aged between 44 and 24 years.

Two historians, William Strauss and Neil Howe spoke about Millennials for the first time in the late 1980s. Millennials differ in some aspects from the generations that precede or follow them, namely Generation X (people born between 1960 and 1980) and Generation Z (people born between 1994 and 2010), who entered the world of work for the first time in 2016.

Let’s discover their characteristics.

What are the characteristics of Millennials?

Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the Internet, mobile phones and smartphones. They are familiar with digital technology and social media (which they became acquainted with later in life, as these media did not exist when they were born).
Compared to Generation Z, for example, they are familiar with a whole series of tools that are no longer used today, such as faxes or CDs, just to mention a few.

It must also be said that Millennials have grown up in an era of globalisation and, therefore, tend to be more open and tolerant of cultural and ethnic diversity.

Because, as mentioned above, they went online during childhood and adolescence, they are a hyper-connected generation that expects easy and immediate access to information, communication and job opportunities.

A study by Gallup called “What Millennials Want From Work and Life” confirms this: 71% of Millennials say the Internet is their main source of news and information. From this connection stems the Millennials’ desire to change the world.

While the Baby Boomer generation tends to take pride in hard work and believes that sacrifice got them where they are and that independence is needed to go ahead in life, Millennials expect the organisations and companies they work for to commit to making the world a better place. This is regardless of the financial incentives.

The Gallup report also highlights other characteristics of Millennials:

  • they are more detached: more than previous generations. Millennials are a group without “attachments”. They do not feel a close connection with their work or the brands they spend their money on.
  • they wait longer to get married and are less likely than other generations to feel proud of their community or identify with particular religious affiliations or traditional political parties.
    Gallup data reveals that 44% of Millennials say they are politically independent, compared to 37% of Generation X, 32% of Baby Boomers, and 26% of traditionalists.
  • no limits: Millennials push for change in the world, including in the market and in the workplace. They do not accept the “this is how it’s always been done” attitude and would like companies to approach them differently from how they approached their predecessors. Their ideal customer experience involves more channels, especially digital, than that of older generations.
  • they also focus on “change” in the workplace. They want to break free of old policies and performance standards and expect leaders and managers to adapt accordingly.
    They see work and life as closely intertwined. For this reason, Millennials want to have a different relationship with their manager. They want managers to take care of them as employees and people.
  • they are collaborative and love sharing: the various sharing services were born with them and, given the precariousness in which they live, they are accustomed to sharing a home. These characteristics are also evident in professional terms, since they love working in a team and, as we previously said, they are very focused on the common good, as well as being experts in technology and the digital world.

Why are Millennials important to recruiters?

Millennials should be of great interest to all those who deal with recruiting, Employer Branding, and Talent Acquisition. First of all, as reported by Generation Mover, which used ISTAT data from 2023, almost 11 million people in Italy are part of this generation.

8,283 million of them work, of which 58% are men and 42% are women. This is a very educated generation, which, as such, has enormous potential.

Some also call them job hoppers (who “hop” from job to job), and this definition is partly correct. However, despite this, they are an extremely interesting workforce. Many Millennials leave jobs that are not engaging or in line with their passions and motivations. But if they can be hired and motivated, they can significantly contribute to the organisation.

How to attract and retain Millennials

Having becoming familiar with the characteristics of this generation, what is the best way to attract and retain Millennials? Here are some strategies and tactics.

Prioritise corporate culture

Emphasising and prioritising corporate culture will only increase the company’s appeal and ability to attract Millennials. We said it: It is a generation for whom the “this is how it’s always been done” attitude does not work; they choose their employer based on how strong the “winds of change” are in the employing company.

For many Millennials, corporate culture is more important than perks and benefits. Millennials are sensitive to injustices, so corporate culture must take this into account and be ready to quickly address any problems associated with it. Simply stated, differences related to gender equality, inequality related to a person’s origin, or not giving everyone the same opportunities are serious corporate culture issues.

In the talent attraction phase, to spread the company culture, it is important to use social media, the website and the company blog not so much and not only to share open positions but to communicate how the company thinks, how it values people and their diversity and how it focuses on skills.

Moreover, in the attraction phase, it is essential to work on the Employee Value Proposition, while the advice for the retention phase is to understand, with periodic interviews, if people still identify with the company culture or find it no longer suits them.

Provide opportunities for growth.

A good salary is an advantage, regardless of the generation, but Millennials are not only interested in this. It is also and above all important for them to work for a company that invests in their development and personal growth. This is certainly not an aspect to neglect and is even more crucial after the pandemic and at a time when whiffs of the Great Resignation still linger.

Enhancing the potential of this generation, offering long-term training opportunities, mentoring programmes and possibly case studies that demonstrate how other people in the company have developed can be an excellent talent attraction strategy.
Naturally, this course of action will also help with retention. Let’s remember: it’s not just about promises.

If a member of this generation has been in the company for a year and does not feel they are growing, be aware that they can decide very quickly to start looking around. After all, they are known as “job hoppers.”

Empower Millennials to make a difference

A generation that wants change also wants to participate actively in that change, which is why a recruiter must know how to meet this need.

Millennials have a “purpose-driven” mindset and are aware that they prefer roles with a positive social impact, where possible. Therefore, you have to involve them in making them understand how the organisation is improving the world, what initiatives it is activating (e.g. to fight climate change), and what relationship the company has with the local community; you have to help them understand how Millennials can contribute to all of the above.

Use the right technology

Millennials are the first generation (of the Internet age) to have experienced the analogue in the workplace and then the sudden switch to digital within a decade. This means that while they have grown up with technology, they have a past where the workflow was handled differently. That’s why they are not only experts in technology, but they think a lot about how to use it in a simple and effective way.

It is important for the organisation to use the most up-to-date tools and software, so that employees can demonstrate their skills and add value to your organisation. But this value must also reflect on everything behind it – Millennials are expecting it.

Make the recruiting process efficient

Making the recruiting process efficient, easy and fast is essential. Millennials want a linear candidate experience that allows them to express themselves at their best. At the same time, they expect clear and transparent communication.

Our advice to approach a Generation Y job seeker is: create a website that works well and provides a satisfactory experience, but also use a recruiting software such as ATS Inrecruiting to organise and manage the entire selection process and accompany people throughout the candidate journey – and make sure to respond to anyone who applies.

In addition, you should also consider the possibility of video interviews, including in asynchronous mode. This is because, as we said, many of them may be interested in changing companies (and therefore in assessing the one where you work as HR) but do not have much time to participate in an in-person or live interview. Offering an option of this sort means accommodating them and proposing a tailor-made search and selection process.

It is equally important to activate social recruiting, as this will allow you to intercept candidates on the social channels they follow, understand and analyse what type of candidate is in front of you and establish direct contact immediately.

Offer desirable perks

Millennials, like many other generations, love perks so it is necessary to make them understand what they will have once they join the company. Fringe benefits, training courses, participation in events are important to meet the needs we mentioned above (enhancing their diversity and tendency to change), as are flexible working hours and the possibility of working remotely. It may be equally important to introduce well-being packages (which give them access to gyms) or healthcare packages (remember that some of them are over 40, so they may be more subject to age-related checks).

Last but not least, remember baby-sitting services and welfare programmes that cater to caregivers.