The Class of 2013: What the findings mean for employment branding and Millennial recruiting

Guest Post by Kristen Dooley

On the heels of each comprehensive “Class of” survey with Achievers, one of the most common questions we receive here at ConnectEDU is “What does this mean for recruiters?” Millennials are poised to become half of the workforce in the United States and companies are increasingly interested in recruiting the right members of each graduating cohort. Naturally, we’re attuned to what those new graduates are looking for, and this year’s survey of 10,000 students is a useful tool for extrapolating effective tactics for recruiting from and branding for this group.

First and foremost, the survey supports the value of strong branding. While new grads’ increasing attraction to LinkedIn has been a widely touted finding from this survey, the top three millennial job search methods are still (in order): company websites, networking events, and campus career services. Therefore, it’s important to get on recent graduates’ radar early and often so they can find you. From our work with campus career services (through our network), we know that companies that “just show up” and are overrun with great applicants are few and far between (think: companies/consumer goods that already have strong Millennial-facing brands.) So if you’re not Twitter, it’s important to lay the groundwork with campus campaigns that develop recognition with the “best fit” new grads. That includes work with career services and partners that have the ability to target your ideal Millennial hire.

That said, presence is only part of the equation.  You also need to have the right message. So how do you tailor your branding to recruit those “best fit” Millennials? The survey shows that Millennials are primarily interested in “opportunity to advance” and “challenging work” and messaging around these factors is highly effective. That might mean showcasing rotations, mentorship programs, or interesting projects. One great way to do that is to highlight the new grads already in place at your company in various ways, and if you can, bring new alumni into the campus recruitment process on their former campuses.

However you choose to convey the opportunity at your company, you’ll also want to strongly communicate the culture, as well. Millennial retention is a huge concern for companies. While the survey shows Millennials are interested in staying upward of 5 years, the reality is a typical tenure of about 3 years. Some of these retention issues relate back to opportunity/challenge (or the lack thereof), but fit is a factor too. Think critically about your company’s culture, and deliver a strong message around key cultural factors. Those factors can be reinforced through social media, videos, articles, and other interactive media on and off the company’s website. An internship program is also an effective way to get the word out and helps you gauge fit more proactively.

In summary: a brand is not built in a day, but consistent and compelling messaging will draw the Millennials that fit your organization today and will lead tomorrow.

Kristen Dooley is ConnectEDU’s Chief People Officer with more than 10 years of experience driving human resource strategies. She joined ConnectEDU in 2011 with a clear vision for making the organization the place to work for passionate, driven and collaborative professionals. Connect with Kristen at @connectedu or on


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