SmartRecruiters Blog

4 Secrets to Recruiting Gen Y

A Baby Boomer now turns 65 years of age every 7 seconds in the United States.  Since birth Baby Boomers have been the majority until now, and for many decision makers who also happen to be baby boomers, that is a hard pill to swallow.

The Generation Y workforce is now the largest talent ocean; Gen Y is the majority of the workforce.  As a member of Generation Y who is 33 and hopefully older, wiser, and experienced, I can relate to the frustration of Generational X and Baby Boomer bosses have when it comes to their younger counterparts.

But these generalities are wrong. 
And frankly your predispositions, frustrations, and generalizations don’t matter. Because it’s not about you when you’re in the workforce as a hiring manager, senior executive, and middle manager. It’s not about you at all. It’s about majority wins. And that majority now is the Gen Y workforce.

Generation Y is tired of being called lazy, entitled, and unappreciative. Generation Y is 89 million strong, and they are tired of waiting silently and waiting quietly.

When building your recruitment strategy to reach this large and verbal audience of Generation Y members as potential members of your workforce, it’s important to do the following:


    • Go Where the People Are. If your target audience is spending 16 hours a month on Facebook talking with their friends and family, your should have a recruitment brand on Facebook as well. Taking time to ask questions, develop relationships, and most importantly listen because the Gen Y workforce is ready to listen and be heard. I mean, really be heard.
    • Be Authentic. It’s one thing to develop a recruitment strategy targeting a specific audience that includes a series of tools like job board ads, career page landing pages, and social media profiles but it is another animal to effective develop relationships by humanizing the brand as part of the recruitment and hiring process.
    • Be Vulnerable. As human beings we are imperfect beings and most individuals realize and respect the fact that no brand or person is without flaws or learning moments. This means taking calculated risks and letting your candidates and customers see into the hearts and minds of the organization and their leaders.  Sharing personal moments with your communities using social networking platforms like YouTube as well as Flickr.


  • Provide Value. Generation Y are multi-taskers by nature. They’re surfing their smart phones while watching TV, working on a spreadsheet, and listening to music. Your company’s employment brand and hiring opportunities are competing against a laundry list of distractions. Providing value to your appropriate audience goes along way in establishing a meaningful and lasting candidate and company relationship.

The flippant attitude or laziness that is described by Boomers when it comes to Gen Y has nothing to do with Generation Y’s work habits at all.   They really, simply, doesn’t care what the Baby Boomers think; Gen Y is its own (majority) generation. The average young professional is 40% less empathetic than they were in 1979. The question is how are you as a hiring manager prepared to engaged, develop, recruit, and retain the new workforce?  Only time will tell.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.

Photo Credit

Free Software Forever. Signup for SmartRecruiters Free Recruiting Software.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.