June 26, 2017

The Digital Age and the Millennial Mindset

By Tim Knight, VP and Senior Managing Partner, Banking

Technology has afforded job seekers unprecedented access to information about employers, workplace cultures, and the overall hiring landscape. Too many options, however, can be both a blessing and a curse. Human beings are hardwired to think about improving their stations in life, and thanks to technology jobs offering a better salary, job title, and working conditions are just a tap of the thumb away. Our phones provide a constant gateway to dreams of a better life. With so much possibility, recruiters are more important today than ever.

The Impact of Seamless Connectivity

There was a time when recruiters were uncertain about how websites such as Monster and networking platforms like LinkedIn would impact the role and relevance of recruiters with regard to clients and job candidates. Over the years we’ve learned that recruiting is, and always has been, about human connections. It has and always will be a “contact sport.” Though technology has changed how, when, and where we connect, the reasons why we connect have not changed. It is important for recruiters not to become lost in a world accelerated by digital technologies. Just because people, especially Millennials, can find anything from a partner to a used parking spot within seconds, it doesn’t mean that relationships with recruiters have become equally ephemeral and taken for granted. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Connectivity can easily cloud the true nature of relationships, where, for example, only a handful of one’s 2,643 Facebook friends are actually friends. For Millennials, this existence where everyone they’ve met somehow becomes a part of their digital lives—from email and LinkedIn to texting and social media—has revolutionized the dynamics of relationships and the very idea of accessibility. For recruiters this is, and will be for quite some time, a game changer. Seamless connectivity means recruiters are able communicate with Millennial job seekers 24/7, and vice versa. For recruiters, creating and maintaining relationships in this type of environment means building more meaningful and comprehensive relationships with Millennial job seekers.

The Recruiter as Career Coach    

By 2020, Millennials will constitute 50 percent of the workforce, which means the very nature of recruiting and hiring will be influenced by their expectations and behaviors. Considering the Millennials I’ve worked with over the years, this is excellent news. Millennials are much more collaborative than their GenX or Baby Boomer counterparts, and actively solicit the advice and expertise of recruiters in purposeful ways. While many GenXers and Baby Boomers prefer a more traditional relationship with their job and employers, Millennials crave something deeper than the 9 to 5. And they want recruiters to understand this new mindset. Millennials see the recruiting process as an ongoing, more long-term relationship that does more than match their skills and talents with a job description. They want a match in values. They want genuine advice. They want a person who can coach them through career decisions.

Finding and landing a new job is a life-defining moment, and job candidates—particularly younger job candidates—want someone they can trust to coach them through the process. An effective recruiter is able to help candidates manage the stress of important decisions by knowing their career goals and personal sensibilities. In fact, Millennial job seekers want recruiters to reach out and connect with them when there is nothing to gain, so that when opportunities arise and critical decisions need to be made, the relationship is already there. Relationships are about investing time and building trust, which recruiters can do today by taking advantage of the technologies that facilitate communication.

Recruiters as Relationship Conduits

There was a day when recruiters wouldn’t think about publishing a job posting online. In a recent survey by Glassdoor, nine out of ten “seekers” will use their mobile device during a job search in the next twelve months and 45% of job seekers report using their mobile device to search for jobs at least once per day. Because Millennials consistently check for new job postings on their mobile devices, recruiters must be diligent and timely about posting jobs for their clients.

Like Millennial job candidates, clients also value seamless access to recruiters that they have built strong and meaningful relationships with. This allows recruiters to serve as a strong conduit between clients who value access to the recruiter’s network, and job candidates who trust the recruiter’s knowledge of jobs, companies, and work cultures.

Not only must modern recruiters be organized, nimble, and digitally savvy, but they most know both their clients and job candidates as people with specific objectives and dreams to fulfill. It is not uncommon, for example, for Millennial job candidates to prioritize the types of volunteering projects a particular company sponsors. In an era with so many options available to so many, it’s inspiring to be able to help those who seek opportunities to do good. The future is bright for the recruiting industry, and I’m excited to see where technology takes us from here. Because when the phones go off, it’s the human relationships that create real change in the world.