How to Attract Young Talent to Your Small Business

Looking for employees who share your small business passion? You’re in luck. Research from Fast Company found that 85 percent of today’s new graduates don’t want to work for a large company. Instead, they want to apply their talents where they can dig in and grow. Small businesses can offer that opportunity. But you have to know how to recruit and retain them. Here are some tips to attract young talent so you can add these dedicated quick studies to your staff.

Skip the Want Ads

Generation Y or Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997, grew up in the digital age. They were among the first to post, tweet, and snap on social media. That carries through in their job search. In fact, 64 percent of new graduates report using a mobile app to search and apply for positions. They also look online to learn more about your company.

Takeaway: Ditch the newspaper ad and use social media channels to promote your business and any current openings. Be sure that your website is mobile friendly. You want it to be easy to navigate while they do their research. Consider adding statements from your current employees about what it’s like to work in your company.

Don’t Wait for Graduation Day

Today’s college graduates engage early with prospective employers. Three-quarters of them report having an internship experience while in school. That means they come with some real-world experience that helps them make an early contribution to your business. But if you’re not a part of those early experiences, they may not learn about your business.

Takeaway: Contact the career center of your local college. They often sponsor career fairs or offer career workshops to students. Participating in these events helps you establish early relationships with potential employees. Consider offering internship opportunities. It’s a great way for you and the student to determine if there is a good match.

Acknowledge New Ideas

Like every new generation, Millennials have ideas about doing things differently. They offer a fresh perspective and are eager to make a contribution. That can help fuel innovation. It can also help you reach new markets.

Takeaway: Resist the urge to make statements like, “We tried that before.” or  “We don’t work that way.” Hear them out and give them a chance to work through issues that might prevent you from implementing their ideas. Not every idea is gold but you want them to understand you value their contribution.

Provide Opportunities to Grow

Having just started their careers, it’s not surprising that Millennials are interested in training opportunities that will help them grow. A Harvard Business Review (HBR) study reports that 60 percent of this age group ranks it as “extremely important.”

Takeaway: Talk about training opportunities in the interview. Once hired, give them exposure to many areas of the business. It helps them develop a big-picture view and lets them explore areas that they may want to pursue further.

Be an Invested Manager

The HBR study also found that Millennials value having a great manager. They define that as someone who will invest in their development. It is important for them to have opportunities to learn and grow, and to advance.

Takeaway: Draft formal development plans together with these individuals. Establish specific goals and checkpoints to track progress. As their skills progress, look for opportunities to increase their responsibilities.

Today’s young talent values the opportunity to make a contribution to your small business. Capitalize on that drive by providing a nurturing environment. It lets them hone their skills so they can become an even greater asset to your business.

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