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Cubester Chat: The Challenges Companies Face When They Recruit Young Professionals

Posted on 08-01-2014
Cubester Chat: The Challenges Companies Face When They Recruit Young Professionals

By Sam Razmandi and Mandi Fields, CPA

In today’s competitive job market, recruiting qualified candidates – especially millennials – can be very challenging. Today’s young professionals are entering a very hot job market, many have an unrealistic expectation of what it’s like to work in business and some even have a sense of entitlement. These reasons present a great challenge for companies that rely on young talent and new graduates for growth. 

Because job hopping has become a greater trend and more accepted in today’s professional world, companies face the risk of losing their investment in training with newly acquired talent who want to work elsewhere.

As a young professional who recently went through this process, and in talking to friends going through it now, I know that young professionals are looking for a variety of things when making the very important decision of picking the correct company to start, or work in, furthering our careers. Of course, things like compensation, company culture and benefits are still important, but we’re also looking for some of the intangibles, such as the opportunity for immediate upward mobility, choosing where we want to work, a variety of assignments and making an influential impact on our organizations. 

Just offering a competitive salary and benefits is not enough; having the opportunity to move up in a company is more important for many of us. Many companies are fulfilling this need by presenting recruits with career roadmaps to show how to move up. This approach can be a very powerful way to motivate an eager, recent college graduate because it shows them the company is willing to invest in them for the long run and has the ability to provide growth opportunities.

Young professionals want to work with other young professionals. They want to be in a city with many activity options and want to work in a location near things to do. Companies can participate in different networking groups to create opportunities for us to participate in social events that will help them develop and grow their network, and then bring back what they’ve learned to the workplace. It’s also important for firms to hold internal events for employees such as holiday parties and happy hours; not only is this kind of social activity attractive to young professionals, but it also helps create a strong culture and build morale in the firm.

Our newest generation, the millennial, is considered a lot less patient than previous generations, so it’s important to keep the job interesting and challenging. Addressing what the candidates’ goals are in the beginning helps establish their role and improve ways of helping them grow into what they ultimately want to achieve or become. Providing the opportunity to work on different projects and in different departments will keep them motivated and challenged. It will also help them find what their strengths are and what they enjoy doing. This pays off long term by not placing an employee in a department that might not be a good fit. Even if a recent graduate thinks he or she knows what they want to do, they have never really had any experience, and the reality of the actual job is probably different from their expectations.

We need to feel valuable in the workplace and be heard; we want to know that our opinions matter and that we have the opportunity to make a difference. Even giving us a say in small things like the type of snacks or drinks in the kitchen can be empowering. Holding polls in the office for things like happy hour locations or holiday party options will help us feel like we have a say in the firm and will ultimately encourage us to speak up on other subjects as well. 

In today’s growing economy, and as baby boomers continue to retire, a company’s ability to recruit and retain young professionals is going to become much more important. Growth and success will greatly be impacted by the ability to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the young professional. Companies that successfully do this will be able to achieve the benefits that come with always having a strong crop of young talent to meet the growing demands of this booming economy.

Sam Razmandi is a senior consultant with PKF Texas. Mandi Fields, CPA, is recruiting and retention coordinator for PKF Texas. Contact them at 713.860.1400 orsrazmandi@pkftexas.com or mfields@pkftexas.com.