How to Recruit the Younger Generation

They’re there. You just have to know where to look.

von Maggie Koontz, January 2, 2018

Before we dive into this subject, it’s important to know what a generation is and who is in each generation.

Current Generations

Silent Generation born in 1945 or before
Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964
Generation X born between 1965 and 1976
Generation Y (Millennials) born between 1977 and 1995
Generation Z born in 1996 or later


The last two generations, Generation Y and Generation Z, are distinct from the older generations in that they are more used to technology. They grew up with it or they watched it come into the world and so they are more familiar with how it works. In this piece, the millennials will be known as the younger generation while the Baby Boomers and Generation X will be known as the older generations. This is because the millennials are more likely to be the job seekers while the Baby Boomer and Generation X are more likely to be the employers.

Recruiting Problems

Recruiters are a little bit blind when it comes to searching for young adults to fill their open jobs. It’s not that the younger generation doesn’t exist, rather it’s that potential employers don’t always know where to look. There is a distinct generational gap between seasoned employees at companies and workers fresh out of school. This puts the older generation at a disadvantage when hiring. Here is some advice for recruiters so that they can find out where the young people are.

What’s the Problem?

The main issue is that the younger generation is way more tech savvy than most middle-aged or older adults. A young adult’s presence online is way more prominent than their existence in the physical world. Young job seekers are more likely to search online for jobs instead of hitting the pavement around town. This way, it’s easier for them to find positions that suit their profession without wasting a lot of time. Of course, they still attend the occasional career fair or networking event, but that is not as common.

Social Media

Millennials spend a fair amount of time on social media sites that can be used personally or professionally. Their personal social media accounts are used to connect with new friends and stay up to date with old friends. They use sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, most people have their privacy settings so that only their friends can see their posts since it is a personal account. This makes it difficult for employers to research employees beforehand. Also, it shows nothing about their work ethic or job history.

LinkedIn’s Role

These job seekers also use professional social media websites to look for jobs or create a professional social network. LinkedIn is probably the most common and most popular site for those interactions. LinkedIn allows people to connect with coworkers, look for potential employers and search for jobs. It has all their professional information such as job history or a resume. It is extremely beneficial for potential employers to use because it has all the necessary data to make a decision on whether the person would be a good fit in the company or not.

LinkedIn is popular with Generation Y because it is convenient and free for a basic account. It makes communicating with people simple because there is a message system in addition to showing contact information on a person’s profile. Recruiters can easily use bounce from profile to profile, looking for someone that might fit their description. This site also lets like-minded people group together by providing interests pages and groups. LinkedIn was clearly designed with business and communication in mind.

Other Sources of Communication

In addition to LinkedIn, millennials make use of the internet by doing a lot of online networking. A person could receive contact information from a coworker and then pursue that through an email. This, in turn, could lead to a web of professionals that the person can connect with. Also, universities often host network events to pair employers with students that are looking for an internship or a job after they graduate. This is extremely beneficial because it allows job seekers to connect directly with a recruiter from a company relevant to their interests.

So, why does the younger generation choose to chat online rather than in person? 

Well, first of all, it saves resources. Scheduling a meeting face to face requires a lot of back and forth in order to coordinate agendas. Also, traveling to and from the location in addition to the actual meeting takes up a lot of extra time, effort and money. Second, it is convenient. A message can be answered at any time whether it is early in the morning or late at night. Meetings have a stricter time frame. Third, it is faster in every sense. There are quicker replies and less waiting around to see if the potential job will be a good fit for them. Finally, it is straightforward. There is no long process of preparing conversations, professional attire or a pitch to the company. 

What about traditional meetings?

Obviously, young adults will set up a meeting with a potential employer once a clear and strong interest is established. It just isn’t worth making an appointment only to find out that you are not at all what they are looking for. That’s why the internet has such a strong appeal. It gives answers quickly and efficiently. Also, if the job is far away, a meeting can still be held, albeit via Skype, a popular site for video calls and instant messaging.

The younger generation is out there and they are always searching for jobs. They need money just as much as everyone else and job security is vital for a stable life. Instead of wasting their time, millennials are utilizing the tools that they have available to reach their goals. They are able to create a larger network via the internet than in person. So, recruiters, keep an eye online in addition to attending career fairs or events hosted by universities. They are there. You just have to know where to look. 

Originally published July 25, 2017