March 8th, 2023 | Joy Henry, Head of Technology and Business Services, Sterling

4 Strategies to Hire and Recruit Millennials in the Tech Industry in 2023

Before 2020, the technology industry was known for its perk-heavy, millennial-friendly culture. From beer on-tap to ping pong tables and unlimited snacks, offices had enough amenities to make any new hire’s eyes light up. It was no coincidence — in the tech industry, millennials are the largest demographic in the labor force and often hold high-level positions. While these luxuries seem to have gone for now (if not for good), tech brands are still eager to attract millennial workers’ desire for work/life balance with offers of remote or hybrid work.

However, in the face of industry-wide mass layoffs among the biggest brands in tech, employers need to manage and recruit their talent differently to attract the millennial workforce. For example, even well after the first wave of the pandemic, millennials still often prefer to work in hybrid or fully-remote roles. In general, the tech industry was well-positioned to quickly mobilize and adjust to remote work, and some have decided to remain primarily virtual to this day.

However, for tech companies focusing on attracting and retaining millennials in order to stay competitive, there’s a new challenge: “How can we do all this effectively while operating remotely?” The question remains relevant since the gradual shift away from remote work has recently reversed.

The following strategies can help you optimize your remote hiring process to recruit and hire millennial candidates.

1. Lean into Social Media

During the pandemic, the 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%.

With this in mind, why not put job postings exactly where millennials are already looking? Millennials are constantly scrolling through social media, so whenever you post a job, create an interesting and engaging post across all social platforms.

Make sure to avoid lengthy text on job postings or you might miss the opportunity to show candidates what it’s like working at your organization. Fun, interactive job postings can start engagement with your 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 Mean More than Hours Clocked

Just as it was important to offer more flexible hours in physical offices before the pandemic, in 2023 it’s important to apply this to the new, ubiquitous digital workspace. Many millennials believe that working remotely enables a better work/life balance. Our 2020 article noted the importance of accommodating ideal work times for different people; 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 working in-person or remotely.

Let results count more than hours clocked in front of a laptop. Use clear indicators to measure a person’s performance, rather than time spent on individual tasks. This could help you to uniquely position your job postings and really speak to your candidates.

3. Account for the Ongoing Emotional Toll

While many millennials prefer to work from home or to have a day or two away from the office (hybrid work), it can certainly be isolating, especially when added to the recent experience of social distancing and lockdowns. People working from home 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.

On the plus side, Millennials report that they are “more able to bring their true” selves to work while working remotely. Incorporating more human elements into job descriptions, interviews, and the hiring process is a great way for employers 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 they’re both sharing the same physical space, can humanize the workplace. After all, burnout 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 felt more relaxed for many people 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 for people to “turn off” after work.

4. Prepare for the Professional Entrance of Gen Z

Gen Z, meaning people aged between 6-24 years old, is sometimes thought of as equally critical and compassionate while prioritizing personal causes like social and environmental responsibility. These aren’t things they just hope for, but rather things they expect from companies. As you recruit Gen Z workers alongside millennials, make sure to speak to all of the things your company is doing to give back.

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

Gen Z’s savvy will warrant more creative methods of work connection later on: think digital escape rooms, physical quotas to stay moving (for example, completing task-oriented 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 to see the needle move for themselves.

In early 2023, the professional world remains in the throes of a changing work terrain. People, and even entire industries, are continually redefining the workplace, boundaries, and even the nature of work itself. HR professionals can use this opportunity to directly address millennial tech workers’ preference for remote work while also highlighting all the other great reasons to sign on with their brand.

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.