Using Social Media to Attract Gen Y Candidates

man-looking-at-mountians .jpgThis is part 2/3 in a series by our intern, Brent Wallace, on communication and recruitment strategies for Gen X,Y, and Z. Keep in mind folks, findings on these groups comes from data-based generalizations. Yes, we know, there are many exceptions.

Generation Y, considered to have been born between 1977 and 1995, are taking on professional roles and may sometimes be entirely different than Gen X from a cultural standpoint. They grew up alongside technology. As they grew, so too did technology, so they were naturally comfortable using technology once they entered the workforce. Usage of social media became the staple of Gen Y, using it on a day-to-day basis. While Facebook may have been one of the most popular sites early on, other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are beginning to be used more frequently by this generation. These platforms allow for Gen Y to have some control over who sees their posts, which is a necessity because privacy is becoming more and more important to this generation.

Promoting jobs to reach Gen Y 

Gen Y is much less likely to see your ads if they are placed in the newspaper and even on television. As time goes on, more and more media is being moved to an online platform so cable or satellite television is becoming an extra expense that Gen Y is starting to forego since they can always find media online. YouTube is one of the most popular website for video media at this point, having more users between 18-34 than any American cable company and hundreds of millions of hours are spent watching videos on the site. To reach this generation, using the ad space that YouTube provides may be a viable option. Additionally, Instagram attracts about 55% of online-active Americans between the ages of 18-29. Reaching out to this audience is as simple as creating an account and making posts and having an audience engaged in what you are posting.

Miss Part 1? Don’t Forget Gen X! Hiring and communicating with this generation

Here are some tips for what to include in your ads to catch the eye of Gen Y:

Be brief yet impactful: The gift and curse of social media is that you can see so much information all at once. When you are someone looking through sites like Facebook or Instagram, you have the ability to scroll quickly through to find something that grabs your attention. Advertising businesses need to make their ads quick and different than others. This can be accomplished through videos or short posts (Gen Y does not want to waste their time reading) that emphasize what makes your business stand out.

Be genuine and open: Gen Y wants to understand the reality of your business, so ads that use actors may not work as well as they used to. Consider posting photos or videos of your business or your employees, followed by a link of where they can apply. These photos and videos should portray your workplace culture as genuine and provide a realistic preview. Gen Y will appreciate the honesty and will be more drawn to your business if they think they would fit into the culture.

Be memorable: Gen Y has transitioned away from wanting to be paid as much and is more focused on the other aspects a company offers. When asked what was most important to them, only 35% of Gen Y said that salary and benefits were the most important thing to get from a job, according to a survey by HR software consultancy Software Advice. Culture, atmosphere, satisfaction, and growth all ranked quite highly for Gen Y, so you need to show them what differentiates your business from anyone else’s. What makes you stand out from other companies?


Gen Y often receives a bad reputation from older generations, but they will help your company in a variety of ways. As long as they feel like they are valued and have room to grow, they will typically work hard and be loyal to you. Trying to recruit Gen Y? Sharing visual information in small forms like social media posts or short videos is an effective way to get your company/job opening in front of them and build interest in your message.