The Struggle is Real When Recruiting Millennials

Millennials made up about 35 percent of the U.S. population in 2008, eleven years ago, and Gen Xers made up about 54 percent. U.S. according to By 2030, the U.S. population will consist of 75% of Millennials in 11 years, by the Bureau of Statistics. The workforce is changing almost 50 percent in a period of 22 years. When it comes to sales recruitment and how you attract top sales talent, this is huge.

With some perks, wages and benefits, you may be used to hire sales staff. Those new sales people may have shared your views and expectations of the job and business. The thing is, if you are only hiring for Generation X, you are missing the mark. You need to change your whole approach with the big shift towards Millennials in the workforce. Do you know what is important to them, and how can these items be leveraged?

Before you can change your recruitment strategy accordingly, here are 6 characteristics you need to know about Millennials:


1) Family Centric 

  • Gen X: With the lure of a work/life balance, they don’t need to be hired. Yeah, they want to spend time with their families, but they are educated to have a job first. It is a bonus, not a must have, if you provide a work/life balance.
  • Millennial: They want to come to work and do their job, but they want to go home and have a life outside their profession at a reasonable time. To them, this is a must have, it is a deal breaker.
  • Changes to your plan for sales recruitment: Whether you actually have a core principle or concentrate on a work/life balance, you may need to adjust the way your job description is expressed. In order to attract top sales talent who happen to be big Millennials, you want to highlight these things. If you do not have a family-centered work climate, then you have to find out if you want to adjust the goals of your business in order to attract the next generation of sales people


2) Team Players  

  • Gen X:  In an interview, becoming a team player is something they stressed as a strength but not as a prerequisite for a career change. It is not a focal point of an opportunity and while hiring Gen X sales employees, it is really not even worth considering.
  • Millennials:  As a team, the millennials want to work. For them, this is important. They want to be collaborative. Sales are usually team-based, but for millennials, this needs to be established and more popular.
  • Changes to your plan for sales recruitment: Recruiting classes are something that is becoming increasingly popular. It makes it possible for the new salespeople to feel right out of the gate as part of a squad. Think about initiating a more team-oriented initiative within your sales operations if your sales team is not big enough to have recruiting classes.


3) Wants a Relationship with Their Boss  

  • Gen X: They’re going to work, doing their job, having a summary and moving home. If their manager wanted to talk to them, Gen X might even think something was wrong, let alone get a drink with them!
  • Millennials: With colleagues and boss together, as a team, they go to happy hour. On social media, they are friends, chat about more than work and communicate on a different level.
  • Changes to your sales recruitment strategy: to hire Millennials, hiring from within will be really necessary, they want to know that their manager will always be related and nothing is more related than someone who has already done your job literally.


4) Tech Savvy

  • Gen X: When they first joined the workforce, technology was not even an aspect of their jobs for most of this generation. There were not even careers for Social Media Administrators or Bloggers. Some of the younger Gen Xers are tech savvy, but if an organization they interviewed with was not tech savvy, they would not care.
  • Millennials: They want work that are “sexy.” It is important to sell them and technology always helps! They want to work for a company that offers strong technology, delivers technology to its staff, and seems to be involved in technology’s future.
  • Changes to your sales recruitment strategy: If you are a technology business then you certainly have no issues hiring Millennials, this is clear! This can be challenging if you are not a’ sexy’ company. You don’t want to lie about who you are, so you should take advantage of your strengths and think about improving a few elements of your services for employees. To streamline outside sales, you could provide a tablet to employees or maybe create an app to make your employees feel like technology is part of their work.


5) Task Oriented Not Time/Location Oriented  

  • Gen X: You’re coming to an office, you’re putting in time, you’re going home. It’s straightforward.
  • Millennials: They tend to be versatile at work. When they can do their job as easily from a remote location, they do not seem to understand why they need to be in an office every day and have “face time.”
  • Changes to the recruitment method for the sales: It is not as cut and dried as it used to be. As the internet and technology did not exist for remote roles, Gen X had to come to the workplace. Now is the time to begin to reconsider the framework of the organisation. If it’s not an external sales place and they need to come to an office, what can you do? Can flex hours be done? If they meet their goals, will you have an optional WFH day of the week? You need to think about how the Millennial salesperson can cater to you.


6) Want Recognition 

  • Gen X: Weekly, quarterly or annual reviews meet this generation’s desire for recognition. They realize that with a job well done, they will earn a boost and that is enough.
  • Millennials: They want to be paid, not necessarily by monetary means, for their hard work. They want their manager to remember their job and enjoy it… today.
  • Changes to the plan for sales recruitment: This attribute is often correlated with a trait. A new plan for recognition, maybe gamification, needs to be created. You may want to emphasize the ongoing and transparent feedback with managers, team members and the business as a whole when you interview for your sales job. This will be necessary for a Millennial salesperson and will eventually assist you with hiring sales.

A fantastic sales recruitment professional who knows business dynamics, the market pulse, and the applicants. This market is changing every day and you need to be tuned into your staff, your recruitment strategies and not be afraid to make changes in order to be successful!


My name is Rob Cohen and my career has been dedicated to the retail / wholesale side of the distribution business. I've assembled some of the top groups of distributors carefully curated and categorized.

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