Opinion

Millennials: The recruitment problem and hiring solution for SMEs

6 min read

08 April 2016

Each generation brings something different to the world of work; millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) bring a new era of digital disruption – small business owners must adapt to this age group in order to find the right candidates.

By exploring the latest digital tools available to them, SMEs can overcome the challenges around hiring millennials, as well as more traditional hiring obstacles.

Although SMEs represent 98 per cent of European business owners, they can struggle to attract the right candidates. When they do, they often do not have the time or structures to process applications adequately.Recruitment can then become a costly process, in terms of both time and money. 

According to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and the UK’s Federation of Small Businesses, the cost of hiring for SMEs is high: the process of appointing a first employee will cost a business on average £35,500, while a company with 20 to 40 members of staff will spend on average £25,100 on employing a new one. 

This is too expensive for the smaller business, and many simply cannot afford it. Not only this, but they are in competition with large companies, which may offer increased benefits, financial or otherwise, and often have a better-defined recruitment process. This makes it even harder for SMEs to attract high-quality candidates.

These problems for the smaller companies are exacerbated by the current challenges that millennials present to traditional hiring practices. They make up one third of today’s workforce, and will constitute one half by 2020.

This new generation has different expectations compared to their predecessors. Instead of focusing on job security, millennials are more interested in a career that suits their needs and personality, and which allows them a life outside of work.

They want flexibility, quick job offers, and expect a simple and effective recruitment process. While all this can make it harder to attract this age group, it does mean that they are more likely to take a risk and join SMEs under the right circumstances.

The use of new digital tools can provide a simple and cost-effective solution. Businesses that engage with the latest technology can set themselves apart in a highly competitive market, reducing their hiring costs and significantly shortening the recruitment process.

Read more on the SMEs adopting tech support to stand out:

This can be especially useful in sectors which have a high turnover of staff, such as hospitality or retail, and thus need to find and hire high-quality workers quickly. By being tech savvy, companies can easily reach their target market.

These tools include location technology – the ability to contact potential candidates with vacancies relevant to their location; video interviews; internet sourcing; applicant tracking systems (ATS) integration platforms that connects tools and services used in the recruitment process- and gamification.

The latter refers to applying game mechanics to non-game environments, such as recruitment, and in doing so, improving engagement.

A large part of engaging with the new generation of candidates also consists of embracing the rise of mobile technology. As smartphones and tablets continue to grow in popularity, recruiters have access to a previously unimaginable number of candidates.

According to a recent study, between 25 per cent and 40 per cent of jobseekers use mobile technologies in their search for work, and 89 per cent of them were likely to use mobiles in their job search in the next 12 months.

This marks a significant change in the way employers communicate, engage with and recruit talent.

Part of what makes mobile platforms so appealing to candidates is their speed and convenience. Creating a job-hunting profile on them can take a few minutes and minimal effort.

For employers mobile platforms free up time to grow and manage their business rather than wasting resources on hiring. With just a few taps, an employer can post a job and find a whole crop of candidates, start a conversation and arrange an interview. 

Always connected, mobile platforms give access to potential employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If small and medium companies can move with the current changes and capitalise on the new technologies available to them, they can overcome the modern challenges of recruitment, leading to an easier and more effective hiring process.

Additionally, when it comes to millennials, your business should know about these five myths and six personality traits surrounding the demographic.

Polina Montano is the COO of Job Today, a mobile platform for recruitment

Image: Shutterstock