So, you want to hire a millennial?
Join the queue.
Some stats say that up to 75% of the workforce will be comprised of the millennial generation by 2025 so whether you like it or not, you need to get to grips with the nuances of attracting this interesting-to-say-the-least generation.
I’ve listed 10 tips that you should consider when writing up your next job spec. I’ve centred mine specifically around an intern or first-time jobseeker (cos that’s what we do), and I’ve also given examples of how we would write our very own job spec assuming we were hiring a Social Media Intern.
HEADS UP! This blog post takes about 10 minutes to read. I know that sounds long, but technically it’s only 1 minute per tip. If you’re in a rush, just read the headers and examples.
Here we go.
1. Tell a story
The thing I hate most about traditional job specs… impersonal, generic bullet points that list roles and responsibilities ad nauseam.
Do employers actually think that candidates read through this?
Spoiler alert: They don’t.
We don’t have the data yet, but it would be valuable to track time-on-page for individual jobs to see how long the jobseeker was on the page for before hitting apply. I’m willing to bet money that taking these 10 tips on board next time you write a job-spec will guarantee you longer time-on-page prior to hitting ‘Apply’, and as a result, more passionate and dedicated applicants.
If you want the right candidates to be hitting apply, make your job spec engaging and entertaining by telling a story. Craft something that they want to read. By the end, they’ll either be sold and apply, or they’ll close the tab and move on to something that grabs their attention.
“Have you ever tried to apply for a job and they take foreverrrrr to get back to you, or they just don’t get back to you at all? Then you try to follow up, and the company says: “Sorry, we’ve received lots of applicants and we’re still looking through CVs.”
^^ that’s one of the problems we’re trying to solve at Trusted Interns. We’re on a mission to simplify the job hunting process for first-time job seekers, and we need a hungry, resilient and slightly-bonkers human to help us do that. Here’s why…. “
2. Show your purpose
The millennial generation wants to work towards something bigger than themselves. They want to know that you’re not just a capitalist money-making machine. They want to have a purpose.
“Did you know that at the moment, 55% of 16 to 35-year-olds in South Africa are unemployed? Pretty insane, right? This is largely because there isn’t enough access to employment opportunities and it’s a statistic that we just can’t deal with.
Our greater purpose is to democratise opportunities for the youth. We want everyone, regardless of their background, education or socio-economic status to have the opportunity to get a job. This is what gets us out of bed every morning and every single thing we do every single day is to move us closer to solving this problem.
If this is a problem that you care about, you’re reading the right job advert.”
3. Make it all about the candidate
Jobseekers are really over self-absorbed companies who don’t care about them. Millennials apply for jobs where they are valued and appreciated.
Think about it… you’re on a dating site and someone is going on and on about what THEY want. Wtf? No. The best relationships are the ones with mutual respect and appreciation.
Make it about the candidate (genuinely) and you’ll see the quality of your applications go up.
“We want you to know that this job is perfect for you just as much as we want to know that you are perfect for us.
We want you to want us as much as we want you.
We’d also love to give you a platform where you can put to test the skills you’ve learnt in your studies as a Marketing professional.
This includes you becoming the best you can be at setting up our targeted Facebook campaigns, helping us drive down our cost-per-acquisition so we can hire more cool people like you, and generating as many high-quality leads as you can so that we keep the lights on and get that table-tennis table that everyone is dying for.
We don’t expect you to know how to do this up-front, so we’ll allocate you a buddy/mentor on your first day and they’ll take you through the ropes.”
4. Be specific
This speaks to the issue of ‘generic’ in point one. Don’t make the reader have to read between the lines. Tell them exactly what they need to know about the job at hand.
“Contributing to the management of social media” << Cool, as in managing the content being posted? Manage the ads being boosted? Managing the community who are commenting? Managing the team?
“Desire to work in a startup environment” << Lekker, are we talking bootstrap startup in a garage or funded startup in a shared workspace?
“We share most of our content on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. We’re not very good at creating that content regularly enough, so we’ll need your help in doing that – or at the very least, strategising what content to create and we’ll find a creative in the team to help you execute.
Once we have the content calendar and post schedule that you’ve made, you’ll be responsible for scheduling the posts, ensuring they go live on the right platforms on the right days and then responding to any comments and questions on the various platforms.
You will not need to dive into the advertising component of social media yet, but we’d love you to get to this point so we’d like you to be passionate and hungry to learn about paid media and analytics.”
5. Be honest
It’s super simple. No one likes surprises in the workplace (at least not the bad ones) – so tell the truth and manage expectations up front.
There is something awesome about true authenticity and it’s tangible in a job spec. Millennials like real people. Be real.
“This might sound like your dream job so far, but there are some not-so-lekker parts that you should know before hitting apply…
Because of the industry we’re in, keyboard warriors tend to target us every few weeks on Facebook. This is never fun (read: it sucks) as it means replying to loads of comments (sometimes on weekends) to maintain our online reputation and to educate our online community about why it is we do what we do. Right now, this is unavoidable and you need to mentally prepare for this.
We’re also growing at a rapid rate, which means we can’t hire as fast as we need and oftentimes, we’ll work late hours as a team just to make sure we get all our shit done.
Are you cool with this?”
6. Share your values
Know what values govern the way of life in your workplace, and introduce some of them in the job spec. Give the jobseeker a feel for what you stand for so that they can decide if they’re aligned.
Top tip: You should also be including values-based questions in your interview stage and by putting them in the job spec, you’ll be able to identify whether the applicant actually read the job spec. If they didn’t, do you really want them? We wouldn’t.
“We have a set of 10 values that we use to help us make decisions and monitor our performance. We live by these values and whenever there is a moment of uncertainty, we turn to them for guidance. Two of these include Total Transparency & Autonomous Accountability.
This is because we genuinely believe that people with more data make more informed decisions (total transparency), and employees with freedom are more creative and productive (autonomous accountability).
These values form our work bible. If a huge employer signs up to our platform and they don’t align with them (i.e. they want to post a job without displaying the salary), well… sorry, that doesn’t align with our value of Total Transparency, so we’ll rather not take on that employer. Our values make compromise a non-option.”
7. Show the impact
This goes back to point 2 above about showing your purpose. Millennials want to have an impact, not only in your organisation but in the world.
“If you’re a rockstar at your job, you’ll positively contribute to bettering our organisation but more importantly, bettering our world. Because our business lives in the digital space, our presence on social media channels is basically one of the visual representations of us. We know how important this job is to the success of our mission and we want you to know that too. You will be a vital cog in the wheel of us changing the world, one intern at a time.”
8. Show the growth
Millennials want vision. They want visibility on what they can achieve with your organisation. They want to know that this isn’t a dead-end job.
So, take the initiative and show them the growth up front! Again, be specific and be honest.
“It’s important to note that the above is not exhaustive – we always have more to do than we have hands to do it, so we encourage you to lean in and get your hands dirty wherever you think you can add value. All of our current senior management started out this way (and started as interns), so it’s a great way to learn and grow quickly.
To help you do this, we have crafted a path of success for you… You’ll start as a Social Media Intern, progress up to to the realms of Social Media Manager and if you’re up for it, we’ll teach you how to manage other digital channels to give you a more holistic grasp on the digital world.
You’d be the first social media professional that we hire into the team, so “Head of Social Media” or “Head of Digital” are not unrealistic job titles in the next few years.”
9. Include visuals (bonus, not vital)
This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it definitely helps sell the story. Share pictures of your team, any outings that you’ve done together, your office space, your clients, your celebrations, anything of meaning.
It paints a picture and will separate you from the rest of the classic, standard and words-only job ads out there.
10. Include a secret test (bonus, not vital)
We do this quite often because we want to know for sure that they’ve read the job ad.
A simple one… at the top of the job ad you can write “Please read this advert in full before hitting apply.”
And then right at the bottom, you include a test like: “Please start your cover letter by telling us what your favourite food is.”
Whoever doesn’t pass this test is automatically screened out. If you can’t follow a simple instruction, you don’t meet our value of “Cognitive Curiosity” and that’s enough for us to not invite you for an interview.
This is how I found one of my most valued employees, and we celebrated her joining the team by going for cheeseburgers which she listed as her favourite food 🙂