Did you know that Washington, D.C. is the best city for college graduates to start a career? It’s true. A company named NerdWallet has crunched data related to the presence of educated peers, income, affordability and strength of the local workforce. While the cost of living is high, Washington came out on top because of its strong median earnings for new college grads and relatively low unemployment, among other factors
Given that Baby Boomer retirements are well underway – an estimated 53 percent of full-time federal workers are retirement eligible right now, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – government hirers should take advantage of our region’s appeal to replace departing talent. Successfully recruiting Millennials, however, presents unique challenges. To address the challenges, there are six proven ways to reach out to the next generation of workers:
1. Step Up Engagement
It’s key to reach Millennials early in their career-path formation. We mean starting in high school, as opposed to waiting for college or military service. Agencies can do this through one-on-one conversations (in person or via social media), as well as job fairs, whether physical or virtual. Once an agency establishes itself as a resource, it gains instant trust with a vast pool of potential employees, which makes a lasting, favorable impression.
2. Make It Personal
Find out what Millennial hiring prospects are asking about on social media sites, and offer insights in response. Deploy multimedia and game technologies to draw them to your agency’s site. A game link that requires visitors to solve a puzzle to qualify for a particular position, for example, offers an engaging, customized alternative to a mundane list of prerequisites in a job posting. Automated solutions further help personalize interactions with Millennials, by sending alerts to HR teams to email or text periodic messages to those in the pool with great promise.
3. Increase Your Talent Intelligence
Assemble a database of prospects which can be searched by talent niche – and niches within those niches. Readily available IT solutions can track each contender’s educational progress, anticipated arrival on the market and work history. With this kind of intelligence at your fingertips, it’s much easier to put effective recruitment efforts into play.
4. Track the Application Cycle
Millennials have higher expectations of the hiring experience. They’ll go to another employer if they feel like they’re “in limbo” indefinitely. They aren’t likely to wait out a lengthy process. Fortunately, existing tech tools will increase visibility into every stage of the cycle and dramatically reduce lag time. Agencies can monitor how long candidates are spending at a particular phase, and pinpoint bottlenecks that might be causing delays. They also can determine how many job contenders are dropping out at each stage and target those areas for improvement.
5. Establish Flexibility
The government hiring process has a reputation for being extremely rigid, which doesn’t sit well with this demographic. You may mandate three years of managerial experience for a particular position, for example. But are you taking a candidate’s military leadership history into account? With the right technology, agencies can build in flexibility, so they don’t eliminate strong candidates if they fail to meet certain qualifiers.
6. Immerse Yourself within the Social Universe
Without a dynamic social media presence, you’ll place your agency at a disadvantage. This is where Millennials live. Look beyond the traditional sites – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – and include emerging ones such as Instagram and Pinterest. When you’re taking part in the “conversation” and contributing something of value, you gain immediate credibility with your target audience.
In the end, it’s about making your agency stand out early on as a trusted resource and an engaging potential employer. Thanks to available and developing technologies, you can build this reputation much more rapidly than ever. If you have questions about Millennial recruitment strategies and other talent management topics, than contact us.
President of NGA.NET North America.