How Millennials Approach Job Searches

By Chris Carlson, President of Sales Talent Inc.  (www.linkedin.com/in/jchriscarlson/)

In his first blog on Millennials, How to Recruit Millennials for B2B Sales, recruitment expert Chris Carlson touched on how Millennials in the workplace are different from previous generations. In this second preview blog for his upcoming July 30th webinar, Chris shares how the most talented of Millennials approach a job search.  In the webinar, Chris will leave you with several actionable insights into how to attract the best and brightest B2B sales candidates.  


 Millennials search for jobs differently 

Today, job seekers are using social and mobile to apply for jobs and gain insight into a company’s culture and values. Ignoring these platforms isn’t an option.

– 2015 Jobvite Survey

With this as a beginning, I don’t want to discuss Millennials as a homogenous group.  Instead, I’d like to target the most engaged and talented of Millennial sales professionals. The majority of these top performing sales professionals are currently employed, focused on their career and aren’t actively looking for a new position. Understanding the behaviors and goals of these “passive candidates” is the path to making the best hires. With that, let’s begin.

Passive vs. Active Job Seekers

It’s important to distinguish between passive and active job seekers.  Our own recruiting experience has shown us that the most talented of sales professionals (and our most successful placements) come from the passive category.  Buyer behavior is radically different when a potential candidate already has a solid job.  They have something to lose which makes them more skeptical.  

With active job seekers, we find that they are often unemployed or trying to get out of a bad situation.  Accordingly, their vetting process is usually far less thorough, they’re eager to move through the interview process quickly (further inhibiting their ability to determine if an opportunity is a match) and they concern themselves less with potential red flags (such as a pattern of poor Glassdoor reviews).  After all, they really need/want a new position.  With that in mind, this blog is geared towards understanding the behaviors of passive candidates.

Social Networks & Employment Branding

I believe that close to 100% of job searches by Millennials in the U.S. today includes a heavy element of online research and discovery.  Research by Marketo confirms this with their finding that 93% of consumers start their buying journey online.  Linkedin’s research confirms my own experience that people treat their career search decisions the same way that they treat any other purchase decision.  

How this plays out with passive candidates is rather straight-forward.  Before they agree to an interview with a potential employer, their first stop is to research the company’s online presence and online reputation.  What they find there will likely be their biggest consideration when deciding whether or not they’d like to interview.  If you’re a hiring manager that feels like the candidates that you’re interviewing are the best of the worst, you may have your reason.  In my view –

If your online “employment brand” is broken; your candidate funnel is broken.

This belief is supported by a recent survey from Spherion Staffing which states,

47 percent of Millennials now say a prospective employer’s online reputation matters as much as the job it offers.

– Survey by Spherion Staffing

So which of the social networks and/or online properties are relevant?  Our experience recruiting Millennial B2B sales professionals at Sales Talent Inc. has shown us that employers need to get the following online platforms right: Linkedin, the company’s own website, Glassdoor and increasingly Twitter. Simply put, we haven’t found other Social Networks to be effective when recruiting B2B sales professionals. 

Millennials are Mobile

Is your company’s website mobile friendly? Here are some sobering stats that might make you rethink this if it’s not:

  • 21% of Millennials almost exclusively use a mobile device to go online. (Source – comScore Media Metrix)

  • Over 50% of social media usage is conducted from a mobile device. (Source – eMarketer)

  • 46% of consumers won’t return to a webpage if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile device (Source – Gomez research)

With outside sales professionals, their sole means of getting online for a big chunk of their day is their mobile device.  If that first impression is bad, there isn’t going to be a second impression.

Social Proof

I introduced in my previous blog on Millennials that questioning is the norm and social proof is key. I’d like to back that up with data. According to extensive surveying by the Nielsen Group less than 20% of consumers trust companies’ claims.  Conversely,

92% of consumers trust peer reviews.  

Here’s a few more sobering facts:

  • 80% of consumers don’t believe a claim the 1st time they hear, see or read it. (Source –  Trust survey, Edelman)

  • 65% of Millennials are more skeptical of claims made by employers now than they were in 2011.  (Source – 2014 CEB Survey)

In short, if your messaging about your opportunity is going to rise above the noise, you’ve got your work cut out for you. In next week’s webinar, I’ll share several way to do just that.

The Game Changer – Glassdoor

With the advent of Glassdoor; transparency into the workplace has arrived and it’s a total game changer. I’ve blogged in detail on Glassdoor which you can find here – Part 1, Part 2. Here’s a summary:

  • > 50% of job seekers in the U.S. now use the site at some point in their career search.

  • 2/3rds of Glassdoor users are Millennials.

  • 2/3rds of reviews are positive and the average company rating is a 3.2 (out of 5 stars).

– Source for above stats – Glassdoor

If your company’s rating is below a 3.5 you have work to do. This begins by listening to this feedback and engaging in the conversation about what it’s like to work at your company. You can get more detail on improving your Glassdoor image from a blog that I wrote previously. If you do engage and respond to reviews, I have some good news:

  • 89% of Glassdoor users in a recent Glassdoor survey reported that they find the employer’s perspective useful when deciding where to work.

  • In that same survey, 69% of users shared that their perception of the company improves when the employer responds to a review.

In short, employers that actively manage their Glassdoor account are seen by Millennials as “getting it” and “listening” to (past, present and future) employees.

In summary, Millennials have been raised in a digital age of big claims resulting in even bigger skepticism. They trust their peers and begin their research into the majority of their buying decisions online. These rules apply even more to the most engaged and technologically proficient of Millennials.  The savviest of Millennial sales professionals fall into this group.  With Millennials expected to make up 46% of the workforce by 2020, companies increasingly will have no choice but to adapt their recruitment strategies.  In next week’s webinar on July 30th, I’ll try to pull everything together into a straightforward strategy to do just that. 


 Chris Carlson

Chris Carlson is the founder and President of Sales Talent Inc, a Seattle based National B2B sales recruiting firm. You can click through to sign up for and follow his Blog or view Sales Talent’s current Sales Openings.