Why This Company Plans To Hire 9,000 Millennials In 2017

Many companies aggressively target top students after college graduation. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Most Americans don’t typically focus on the big issues in our country. The stress of work and home can leave little room for anything else. But during a presidential election year, everyone becomes an expert on things like the state of the economy and the future of jobs in America.

Of those three, the topic of jobs is the most relevant to Americans on a daily basis. The two primary presidential candidates have very strong feelings about jobs in America, but I won’t address those here.

Instead, I want to talk about hiring. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported a decrease in monthly hires compared to 2015. It also reported no change in the unemployment rate, which currently sits at 5%.

Yet despite those numbers, EY, the global accounting firm formerly known as Ernst & Young, plans to hire over 15,000 people in the United States alone. And over 9,000 of these hires are expected to be millennials.

I spoke with Dan Black, the Americas Recruiting Leader for EY (formerly Ernst & Young). He first started with the company 22 years ago

How recruiting is changing for millennials

Hiring so many millennials is no accident. Of the 230,000 employees at EY globally, roughly 60% are millennials. Attracting such high numbers from one generation requires a shift in thinking from a company like EY. Black was hired by EY right after college graduation over 20 years ago. “What people are interested in today is different than 22 years ago. We take that to heart,” notes Black. One big change is the way companies engage with candidates long before the recruitment process begins. 

“If you’re a candidate, you can interact with the brand at any time,” says Black. “Technology has enabled a better, more ubiquitous connection between the company and the job seeker.” EY built an entire site just for potential candidates. ExceptionalEY.com allows possible applicants the opportunity to see the company before applying, including videos from current employees, a “Picture Yourself” section and much more.

With an estimated 70% of internet usage now coming from mobile devices, companies are using strategies like dedicated websites to increase brand awareness with job seekers. This approach, along with the use of recruiting-focused social media accounts, enables future employees the chance to see the brand before applying.

Finding candidates that align with values

“Target your efforts to find where people are well-qualified for your role,” observes Black. His team identified nearly 200 universities as top targets for recruiting and hiring millennials. Roughly 85% of all campus hires come from these schools.

Why those schools in particular? With a goal to hire 9,000 millennials and recent graduates in 2017, why focus on just 200 campuses? Black acknowledges finding top universities is both an art and a science. It’s a science because it requires a review of the academic curriculum of the university to ensure it’s in line with the needs of EY. It’s an art because it requires his team to look at the broader values of the university. 

EY places a high value on progressive thinking, diversity, and programs that are in inline with trends happening in the world (think data analytics, for example).

How to stand out in the hiring process

In a highly competitive job market, it is difficult for millennial candidates to stand out from the rest. Most applicants have similar qualifications on their resumes, so what does it take to be memorable to a hiring manager?

“Make sure you have all of your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed,” notes Black. If this wasn’t an issue in recruiting, Google wouldn’t have 19.7 million results for “common resume errors.” Take a few more minutes to search for errors in the resume or application. In a highly competitive job market, recruiters are looking for little triggers that make a candidate stand out.

Why millennial hires are an investment in the future

For EY, millennials are expected to be more than 60% of their overall hires for 2017. That’s an incredibly high percentage for such a large firm. “This is refilling the pipeline with top talent,” says Black. “It’s a big generation in relation to the Gen X’ers. Now that boomers are retiring in bigger numbers, the math doesn’t work.”

This generational handoff is a growing issue in companies. In a 2014 study done by the US Government Accountability Office, an estimated 31% of all employees will be eligible for retirement in 2017.

While that statistic is not exactly replicated in all industries, it does demonstrate the massive shift taking place in leadership. As baby boomers retire, a void will appear within companies. Generation X is smaller than millennials and baby boomers, and companies who want to win tomorrow must focus on developing millennials today.

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/wesgay/2016/10/28/this-company-will-hire-900...