June 17th, 2021 | Ken Schnee, General Manager - Technology, Media, Entertainment, and Hospitality

4 Strategies to Hire and Recruit Millennials in the Tech Industry in 2021

Business team meeting over a video call

Prior to 2020, the technology industry was known for its hip, millennial-friendly culture. From beer on-tap to ping pong tables and unlimited snacks, offices had enough perks to make anyone’s eyes light up. In the tech industry, millennials are the largest demographic in the labor force and often hold high-level positions. With this influx of workers to the technology industry, companies need to manage and recruit their talent differently to attract the millennial workforce. Last February, one month before lockdown, Sterling posted an article on recruiting and hiring millennials in the tech industry.

Shortly after our article was published, many companies had to shift their workforces to be largely remote. In general, the tech industry was well-positioned to quickly mobilize and adjust to remote work, and some have decided to remain primarily virtual, even when the pandemic ends.

For companies that were focusing on attracting and retaining millennials in order to stay competitive in the technology space, the new challenge became doing this effectively while being remote. The good news is that after a year of remote work, 64% of millennials prefer having the option of working from home.

The following strategies can help you optimize your remote hiring process so that you can recruit and hire millennial candidates in the time of Covid-19 and beyond.

1. Lean into social media.

Increased isolation, lack of travel, and widespread hospitality and entertainment closures triggered an increase in social media usage in every generation. Across the board, social media use increased to 51% during the pandemic. Among millennials, aged 18-34, social media usage increased by 60%.

Why not put job postings exactly where millennials are already looking? With millennials constantly scrolling through social media, when posting a job, make an interesting and engaging post across all social platforms.

Often, long-formed prose on job postings miss the opportunity to show what it is like working at your organization. Fun, interactive job postings can start engagement with potential job prospects, and more importantly, show candidates exactly why they should work at your company. These social posts can highlight your company, mission, opportunities for growth, and social responsibility plan in a lively, entertaining way.

2. Results > hours clocked.

Like flexible hours in the physical office, it’s important to carry that over to the new, ubiquitous digital workspace. The majority of millennials (67%) believe that working remotely enables a better work/life balance. Our last article noted the importance of accommodating ideal work times for individuals; some people perform best in the morning, some later in the day, some even late at night. Forcing a night owl to become an early bird may cause fatigue, general dissatisfaction, and, most important to the bottom line, unoptimized performance. Flexible hours are attractive to potential candidates, whether they be working in-person or remotely.

Simply let results weigh more than the hours someone clocked in front of a laptop. Using clear indicators to measure a person’s performance, rather than time spent on individual tasks, could uniquely position your job postings.

3. Account for the emotional toll.

With a sudden shift to being more isolated, people are grappling with how to do most things, especially work, in a pandemic. People can no longer take coffee breaks with their co-workers, pop by a friend’s desk, or even have time to unwind on the commute home.

Millennials report that they are “more able to bring their true” selves to work while working remotely. Incorporating human elements into job descriptions, interviews, and the hiring process is a great way to show flexibility and company culture. Humanizing the workplace can also help build trust with candidates and possible future employees.

Encouraging separation of work and home life, even when the physical space is the same, can humanize the workplace. Burnout is burnout, and it can happen at a desk in a bedroom corner as much as it can in a cubicle. Sweatpants or slacks, it doesn’t matter. While working from home could feel more relaxed before Covid-19, remember that without the physical separation formerly provided by a commute and the environment change of an office, it can be hard to “turn off.”

Remember that in your employee’s home office space there might be an accidental guest star (say, a small child sighting, or a pet) in a meeting. That’s okay! Practice patience and know that everyone is doing their best to navigate two worlds in one room. Showing your “true self” during these times is normal – and sometimes necessary.

4. Prepare for the professional entrance of Gen Z.

Gen Z, those ages 6-24 years old, is at once critical and compassionate and doesn’t dance around the things they prioritize, like social and environmental responsibility. These aren’t things they hope for but rather things they expect from companies. As you recruit millennials, speak to all of the things your company is doing to give back.

TikTok has become a Gen Z-informed monolith, a clear display of one generation’s tenacity and creativity. They make entertaining content out of nothing. Important to note is the one-minute video max that speaks to the diminishing attention span of the tech-reliant. Every second has value, so emotional impact, relay of information, and brevity are not only paramount but necessary.

Gen Z’s savvy will warrant more creative methods of work connection later on: think digital escape rooms, physical quotas to stay moving (think completing rings on an Apple watch), and “watch parties” with relevant content and an engaging live chat. Gen Z likes to not only feel like they’re making a difference, but see the needle move.

Even though there’s light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, the professional world remains in the throes of a changing work terrain. The vaccine is rolling out and while we’ll hopefully be able to return to a semblance of normalcy soon, even a thorough vaccination distribution cannot reverse recruitment tactics bound to be permanently altered post-pandemic.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.