5 Ways to Reach Millennial Candidates Who Want to Contribute Their Best


When interviewing a millennial, it’s tough to gauge exactly who you have in front of you.

Are you sitting at the table with someone who feels entitled to rewards, but will lose the willingness to work for them at the first sign of a road bump? Or have you uncovered a diamond in the rough whose beliefs translate into a strong work ethic and professional drive toward ambitious goals?

Before you open the door to your interview room, wouldn’t it be nice if you could split the crowd at the point of their application?

Your job ads are an ideal opportunity to do this by speaking to candidates’ values in a way that they can connect with their circumstances. To attract millennials who want to do their best, you need to speak to the personal motivations that fuel their professional interest.

1) Frame your claim.

How would the benefits that you pitch to candidates in your job ads manifest in their lives? Use this train of thinking to guide the way you talk about your company and the role.

Is your goal to attract hungry millennials who crave competition more than the cash they get as a result? Instead of naming accolades and lists that the candidate doesn’t have context for, focus on the qualities of your organization or team that led to the result you are recognized for.

If you landed a spot on Glassdoor’s “Best Employers to Work For” list, you can frame that accomplishment as hard evidence to support your claims of investing in your employees and cultivating a cohesive team environment.

If a candidate values the bond they have with their coworkers and wants to work somewhere that is known for investing in their employees, then the framing of that accolade will be more impressive than simply showing them what your industry peers think.

The closer you can position the professional benefits of your offer to their personal motivations, the stronger pull you have.

2) Share your values.

Of all the research and commentary you hear about millennials, the most relevant insight to consider at this stage is that millennials expect transparency from employers. Millennials value transparency because they have grown up with tools that allow them to see the wizard behind the curtain.

If your goal is to attract Millennials who want to do their best, then your recruitment marketing needs to communicate the message that you are willing to meet them halfway. 

How you do this, and how you communicate this in your job ads, needs to center around the values that you actively practice and are commonly held within the team you are hiring this person to join.

3) Avoid fancy words.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to using jargon and 10-dollar words when advertising a job.

On one hand, these words can feel intimidating to people who don’t feel as if they belong to the community you are speaking to through that niche language.  

On the other, those fancy words can be a device to speak to your ideal candidate. Since most millennials are in their 20s, and even the highest performers can feel insecure, using jargon and fancy words could backfire.

To improve your ability to engage the talent you want, it is a safe bet to avoid this risk unless it’s part of a campaign that can afford to allocate extra resources to test.

4) Be specific.

Matt Charney of Recruiting Daily wrote this ad when he was hiring a writer.

That recruitment ad, delivered in an “open letter” style post on his website, speaks to a specific person by relating to different elements of their identity.

Who does your millennial identify with? Who do they respect? Who do they want to be? Who do you believe them to be?

Create a profile of your ideal candidate and use that to guide your writing.   

5) Be inclusive.

No candidate should feel intimidated at the point of their application.

If your reader fits the qualifications that you have put forth and is interested in applying, they should feel confident that their application will be received with a call back.

You can’t activate someone’s pride in their skills by listing them as blanket bullet points.


Your job ads should have a “country club” effect. Millennials should feel as though they are about to apply for access into an exclusive community that they really want to belong to. If you achieve that effect, then the candidates you attract will be on better footing to step up into the role of a high-performing employee once they have gained membership.

Instead of playing tennis and drinking mojitos by the pool, your VIP millennials might engage themselves with collaborative work and take their breaks by the Keurig machine.

Like a country club, you will find that the employers with the most referrals are the ones that tailor their candidate experience to the values they share with employees.  


Topics: Talent Acquisition

Updated April 24, 2018