Tips for Recruiting Millennial Women

By Trish Healy Sep 14, 2015
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Authenticity is increasingly becoming a touch point for Millennials when seeking new career opportunities. They expect an organization’s employer brand and recruitment messaging to honestly reflect the company’s culture and its values. Discrepancies between what’s promised and what’s delivered are a definite turn-off.

So how can male-dominated companies—aware that a lack of women in leadership positions may take a financial and competitive toll—present an authentic view of their company that will be enticing to female Millennials?

Don’t Just Check the Box

Balancing the gender scales within organizations will provide both business and culture success, but not if women are hired more for being female than for being top candidates.

It’s difficult, because in some areas—especially science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)—education may have yet to catch up with an ambitious outlook on gender diversity.

That’s why it’s important to remember that candidates are more than the sum of their resume. In addition to their experiences and skills, people possess a unique set of traits and drivers that determine how they will fit into your company culture, whether or not they will succeed, how they will lead others or handle adversity. Because people are more than the sum of their parts, don’t rely solely on what a candidate has done in the past.

Consider the intangibles—traits such as composure and curiosity and drivers such as the desire to work independently and take on tough challenges—that may better indicate how a candidate will fare if hired.

Employ a Mix of Interviewing Techniques

A recent Futurestep survey found that visibility and buy-in into the mission/vision of an organization is the top reason a Millennial would choose one job over another. Make sure that the ideal candidate has a good understanding of what your company is about. In addition to panel interviews, which often are more transactional, give time for more meaningful discussions. This allows the hiring manager and others to learn the basics about the candidate, and also gives the candidate greater insight into what it is really like to work for your company.

As you narrow the candidate pool, have the finalist meet with other successful women in your organization. If appropriate and possible, make these internal people part of the hiring decision. This is not to say that male hiring managers do not hire women or that female hiring managers will only hire women, but consider how a diverse decision making group will likely deliver more diverse results.

Ensure Women Contribute to Your Employer Brand

Along the same lines as ensuring women are contributing to making hiring decisions, involving women in recruitment messaging is a solid step to making sure it resonates with women. Include women in the formulation of messaging and test the messages with a focus group of Millennial women employees to see if what you are saying about your company: a) is genuine and is actually what it’s like to work for your company and b) is on-point with what would make the candidate take employment with your company.

When developing your career site, include video testimonials from a wide range of employees including Millennial women. Consider creating a “day-in-the life” video series with a diverse group of employees with whom candidates can relate.

Don’t Make Women “Fit” into a Men’s Environment

Korn Ferry research shows that women score higher than men in most of the skills and competencies deemed necessary for senior leadership success, such as employee engagement, customer satisfaction and building talent. When onboarding Millennial women, nurture and foster those talents to help create your leaders of tomorrow.

One recommendation is to create pairs coaching, where a Millennial woman and her boss take part in guided discussions to help understand each other’s skills, attributes and motivations.

Practices such as this can help teams work more effectively and allow team members to learn from and enhance the capabilities of each other.

Trish Healy is vice president, RPO Operations, North America at Futurestep, a talent acquisition solutions company.​

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