Generation “Y” Employment: The Candidate Perspective

Generation Y

Today, employment ads from recruiters and HR generalists are on the rise despite the current economic woes canvasing the nation. This is a good sign that the economy is starting to gradually improve in some areas.

As Generation Y (“Gen Y“) job candidates are an ever-growing part of the applicant pool for employment openings at corporations, companies may need to re-evaluate their Gen Y recruiting strategies to meet workforce demands.

Hasty Makes Wastey

Recruiting today seems to be a rush-job. And it usually looks takes a one-size-fits-all approach toward sizing up talent. To fulfill the open employment requisition, recruiters get a position description and scour the internet for a match. Recruiters find a CV (resume) that matches the position description and then simply send an often-canned, cold and generic email.

With this type of lackadaisical approach to finding talent, recruiting today has become less and less personalized.

Many companies do not embrace a diverse recruiting strategy that mirrors the current diverse pool of applicants. This approach is not always the best means to attract certain qualified talent, particularly Gen Y talent. I’ve seen minimal use of cross-generational recruiting because of the lack of a recruiting strategy and approach based on different demographics.

A Baby Boomer will not respond to the same style and approach of recruiting as a Gen-Y’er.

A Customized Approach

Generations view things differently and thus expect different ways of being recruited. With an ever-changing and more diverse workforce, recruiting must become more unique and customized if organizations wish to attract the best possible Gen Y talent.

So how do you properly hire and retain Gen Y talent?

The Right Steps

In order to get the best talent from the Gen y talent pool, follow these steps to make sure you are taking the appropriate approach to connecting in a manner that serves you and your candidates best.

First Contact

Gen Y values a personalized touch. A canned and generic email will often turn them off immediately to a potential new position. If sending an email inquiry to a potential Gen Y candidate, use their name, not “dear candidate.” Take the time to discuss why you think they may be a fit for the role as it relates to their own experience.

This lets them know you have actually reviewed their CV and job goals and not just mass emailed based on a keyword search. Gen Y also values details, so for the quickest possible response, include the job description, and why you see them as a fit in the first correspondence.


Gen Y is a tech-savvy generation. If first contact regarding a possible new role peaks their interest, they waste no time in responding. They utilize the technology at their finger tips (WiFi, Blackberry email etc.) to promptly express interest.

They expect the same in return.

If your organization has high interest in the candidate, then don’t let communication lapse. Respond proactively, promptly, and personalized with establish next steps.


Once the time for the first conversation has been set, use that time to set clear expectations with the potential Gen Y candidate. Take the time to explain in detail what they can expect in the new role and from the organization, and what would be expected of them. Be congruent, honest, and transparent about everything from salary and work life balance, to culture and roles and responsibilities.

Gen Y is very tuned into organizational culture.

One of the main reasons Gen Y talent tends to leave an organization within the first year is because what they were told they can expect is not the reality. Try and prevent this from the first conversation.


Be prepared for Gen Y to ask detailed questions regarding not just the potential role but the organization overall. Gen Y views interviewing as a two-way process. Often recruiters don’t have the specific information required to answer certain questions.

If this is the case, make sure the people the candidate interviews with are knowledgeable of the various parts of the organization and can answer specific questions.


If the process leads to making a job offer, then do not only do so in writing, but also make the personalized phone call. This call should come from the person who will be the candidate’s direct supervisor. Often disconnects exist between recruiting and the actual departments and managers who the employee will be working with.

Gen Y values open and honest communication in all directions.

Having the opportunity to speak directly with the individual they will be reporting to offers them the opportunity to begin to build a relationship immediately and get any last-minute questions and concerns addressed.

After the offer is accepted, the next step is a process called on-boarding, but it doesn’t end there. Recruitment is phase one, once the employee joins the organization focus must be placed on engagement and retention – success is an ongoing cycle.


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Scott Span
 is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
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Five Ways to Manage High Potential Gen Y Employees

Without a doubt, Generation Y is the workforce that requires the greatest amount of effort to manage when compared to any other in history. They want feedback NOW, they want training NOW, they want recognition NOW, and they want to create the lifestyle they desire NOW.

As demanding as it seems, there is a bright side to this high energy. If managers can learn how to harness their energy and coach them effectively, these young employees have the potential to be the highest producing generation ever. Below are some guiding principles that KLR Consulting research has found to work with Gen Y.

5 Principles of Successful Millennial Management


You Be the Leader

This generation has grown up with structure and supervision, with parents who were role models. The “You be the parent” TV commercials are right on. Millennials are looking for leaders with honesty and integrity. It’s not that they don’t want to be leaders themselves; they’d just like some great role models first. Though leading by example and working in the trenches with them, you will earn their respect, loyalty and might even have some fun along the way.


Consistently Provide Constructive Feedback and Recognition

Don’t wait for performance evaluations to tell them what they’re doing wrong or right. Do it daily. Tell them how to improve today. Avoid harping on the negative and accentuate the positive and most importantly, get them back on track immediately. Let them know when they have done a good job. Tie rewards and incentives to one thing and one thing only: performance.

And make sure to deliver them in close proximity to the event.

Then, create formal and informal mentoring partnerships where there can be constant exchange of knowledge, experience, and skills. They can teach the older pros about the latest technology and the older folks can share their historical memory, skills, knowledge and wisdom.

“If your top management isn’t spending at least a half day a month sitting down with someone twenty-five years old or younger, then they are blowing it.”  ~ Tom Peters


Provide Opportunities for Learning and Career Development

Gen Ys have high expectations of themselves. They want to be challenged and make meaningful contributions right away. They want opportunities to use the knowledge, skills and talents they have to solve problems, to innovate and to lead. A recent Randstad employee survey found that “trying new things” was the most popular item. They’re looking for growth, development and a career path.

Gen Yers are poised to be lifelong learners. For managers this means making training and development an organizational obsession.

Gen Yers will get bored and start updating their resumes if they stop learning.


Create a “Fun” Work Environment

Employers who embrace a fun, rather than traditional or conventional, company culture create a higher rate of job satisfaction with younger employees. What does fun mean? To Gen Y, it means converting the break room to a game room with video games and foosball. It means periodically bringing in a massage therapist for chair massages, an ice cream cart for sundaes, or a rolling barista for onsite lattes. It means setting up “work vacations” where a team gets to work on a project from a vacation house by the beach.

Relax the dress code while you’re at it.


Offer Flextime, Telecommuting and Other Benefits

Offering a variable work schedule–flexible hours or working from home–goes a long way toward attracting and retaining Gen Y talent. Flex time lets employees avoid rush hour traffic, attend a child’s event, or go surfing. Many Yers feel flex time and telecommuting make their lives better.

Gen Y is highly proficient with e-mailSMS messagingSkype video callingblogsforums and virtual online workrooms, they don’t see a need to be physically present in the same office to collaborate, solve problems or produce products.

If someone wants to take a two-hour break in the afternoon to go workout or take a nap, don’t drill them about where they were. If they want to finish their work from home at midnight, who cares as long as the work gets done.Employers who recognize and adapt to Gen Y’s needs will retain them longer and get more productive work from them.

While Gen Y is high-maintenance, the effort may just create the highest-producing generation in history.


What are you doing to better reach your high potential Gen Y Employees? Where have you failed in this arena? What best practices could you share? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

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Kristi Royse is CEO of
KLR Consulting
She can be reached at

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