How (and Why) to Recruit Millennials for Your Small Business

What do millennials want in a job? Here are 5 answers, and 4 reasons you should want to recruit them.
Millennials can bring a lot to the table while working for your small business, including flexibility and multitasking. (Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

Millennials are all grown up now (they range in age from about 20 to 35), and they have a lot to offer potential employers.

Related: How to Manage Millennials In the Workplace

It’s true that millennials are different from their parents. For one thing, they are the first generation to have grown up with social media. They’re on track to be our most educated generation according to Pew Research Center data. U.S. Census Bureau data show they are more racially and ethnically diverse than any generation before them. And they bring some unique skills and attributes to the workplace.

What millennials often bring to the table

1. Flexibility. Many millennial employees thrive on flexibility. They tend to be lifelong learners who love to try new things. “Millennials value knowledge in a workplace and want to absorb as much of it as possible,” said Dillon Chen, director of curriculum at hiring technology company Prosky. They typically enjoy taking on new tasks and adapt quickly to new responsibilities.

2. Innovation. They also tend to be out-of-the-box thinkers. That means they can be a great resource for innovation. Typically, they’ll learn how to perform tasks your way but look for better, smarter and more efficient ways to accomplish them. Many of these younger workers are also good at spotting trends and can help you take advantage of them to be more profitable.


Millennial employees are more likely to be willing to juggle multiple projects at once. (Photo: Rocketclips, Inc./Shutterstock)

3. Multitasking. These are kids that grew up with the internet, smartphones and social media. Millennials who fit the mold think nothing of surfing Facebook or Instagram while watching a movie and Snapchatting or texting at the same time. That might seem like attention deficit disorder to older generations, but it’s a signal that they’re skilled at multitasking. That may translate into an ability to juggle multiple projects. “And they prefer working that way,” said Chen.

Related: Why You Should Use Text Message Marketing to Connect with Customers

4. Social media knowledge. According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Americans use social media, but among people age 18 to 29 the number is much higher: 89 percent. That means your millennial workforce is poised to help you master social media and extend the reach and power of your business. One caveat: Don’t confuse comfort using social media platforms with strong technical skills. According to a 2015 report by Change the Equation, 58 percent of millennials don’t have fairly basic skills with applications such as spreadsheets and email, much less hardware troubleshooting or programming skills.

How to woo millennials

So how do you recruit and retain members of this generation? It’s not hard; they’re looking for fun and engaging work, same as everyone else. But many are coming to the workplace with other expectations as well.

Phil Risher

Being a part of a team is important to millennials, according to Phil Risher, the millennial founder of (Photo: Phil Risher)

1. Growth. Salary isn’t the single most important consideration for many millennials. In a survey conducted by Prosky, their most important job hunting criteria was the potential for growth. Young workers want to clearly understand what opportunities for advancement you may offer, whether it’s promotion, additional responsibilities or new roles.

Related: Three Keys to Retaining Your Best Employees

2. Team culture. “We love to be part of a team,” said Phil Risher, the millennial founder of Many millennials are also hungry to continue the kind of relationship they had with parents and professors through opportunities for coaching and mentoring. “They don’t want the old style command-and-control bosses of the past or feedback on an annual review. They expect their bosses to be coaches and to communicate with them on a constant and frequent basis about how best to develop their strengths and guide them toward a plan for achieving their goals,” said Susan Gilell-Stuy, managing principal at corporate executive coaching firm Leadership Compound.

3. Flexibility. Just as millennials are flexible about taking on new tasks and adapting to new responsibilities, they want an employer who is flexible, too. Said Foram Sheth, co-founder and coach at corporate coaching firm Ama La Vida, “Millennials want flexibility to work from home, get their food delivered to them and have control over their schedule. Demonstrate to millennials all of the work you do to promote flexibility.”

Related: 7 Cheap or Free Ways to Make Your Employees Happy


“When millennials are shown how they can make a positive impact, they are more intrinsically motivated to work, learn and challenge themselves.” -Foram Sheth (Photo: Foram Sheth)

4. Impact. Millennials in general are eager make an impact. Said Sheth: “When millennials are shown how they can make a positive impact, they are more intrinsically motivated to work, learn and challenge themselves. They will take charge and feel empowered to do their work. Show millennials that their work matters and the impact it will have on your organization, your customers and other employees.”

5. Business reputation. Finally, research shows millennials prefer to do business with — and work for — companies that practice sustainable manufacturing and demonstrate high ethical standards. “We want an employer that has morals and ethics, and who will stand up for doing the right thing,” said Risher.

Related: Cheap, Easy Ways to Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility

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