All too often, we equate millennials with young kids just getting started in their careers. And while this is true in some cases, remember that millennials were born between 1980 and 2000—meaning the oldest millennials have been in the professional world for more than a decade. Given this generation now makes up the largest portion of the U.S. labor force, they also compose the majority of the top talent you’re trying to attract.
Some organizations have figured out what millennials want in an employer and have adapted. Others are still missing the mark, which puts them at a severe disadvantage. With baby boomers drawing closer to retirement age, all organizations need to be future-focused. And the future of the workplace belongs to the millennial.
Here are 10 mistakes you may be making that are driving away top millennial candidates.
1. Outdated Workplace
Millennials are the first technologically fluent generation and have a “second nature” ability to navigate devices, software and applications to perform their jobs more efficiently. If your workplace isn’t equipped with the technologies and furthermore, if these technologies aren’t integrated to create a smooth and efficient experience—it’ll be hard to snag, retain and motivate your millennial employees.
2. Inflexible Scheduling
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, about two-thirds of millennials in one survey ranked flexibility in their jobs over higher compensation. Several factors have influenced the shift from traditional 9-to-5 employment to flex scheduling and remote employment opportunities. But the bottom line is this: Millennials face an impossibly high amount of student debt, their college degrees don’t hold the same value as they did in previous generations, and this has influenced a new approach to life—one that integrates life and work as one unified concept.
3. Rigid Culture
At their core, millennials want to belong to a community of like-minded individuals. It’s why they’ve embraced social media with such vigor. It’s why lifestyle communities, coliving and shared workspaces have expanded exponentially in recent years. But they aren’t interested in just any culture. It must be one that aligns with their values, which generally involve the freedom to collaborate, innovate and support corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
4. No Clear Plan for Advancement
Despite criticisms of being “lazy,” millennials are actually an ambitious bunch with big plans. In fact, they expect raises and promotions more often than older generations. Hiring managers should be aware that this generation demands a clear trajectory to the top. They want to know your organization’s plans for them.
5. Negative Reviews
Millennials are tough critics and loud alarms. They aren’t afraid to voice their opinions and alert others when customer service, product quality or an employment opportunity is unjustifiably poor. Likewise, they use the same resources to vet brands and potential employers as they do to inform others of their lackluster experiences. With resources like Glassdoor at their fingertips, organizations with too many bad reviews don’t stand a chance.
6. Lack of Transparency
Millennials are remarkably inquisitive. They value clear, direct communication and honest feedback. Moreover, 74 percent of millennials expressed wanting to be able to trust their leaders. If they feel like management can’t deliver on these qualities, they’ll find a more transparent management team to follow.
7. Lack of Collaboration
Millennials are socially motivated. They are inspired by contributing to a greater mission that serves their communities or society at large, and organizations that recognize this will be better able to use this attribute in the development of their organization.
8. Poor Mobile Access
According to The Business Journals, nearly 75 percent of Fortune 100 career pages weren’t mobile-friendly. This makes browsing and applying for a position challenging and frustrating as millennials are practically mobile-dependent. In fact, they use their mobile device to surf the web more often than they use a desktop computer. If your career page isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing your target audience.
9. Rushing the Interview
Candidates take time out of their schedule to interview with your organization, not to mention the countless hours they likely spent preparing. If they feel rushed during their interview, or get the sense their interviewer isn’t prepared for them, it can be insulting and may leave them with a bad impression of your organization.
10. Poor Follow-Up Practices
Millennial candidates want direct contact after they apply for a position. Hand-in-hand with transparency, they also want timely follow-up after key correspondences, even if no decisions have been reached regarding their employment.
It’s time for organizations to stop trying to fit the millennial professional into their way of doing things and start adapting to how the millennials do things. This generation is contributing to some powerful economic and societal movements. Though heavily criticized by older generations, your organization has plenty to learn from this young and ambitious cohort.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.