The Up and Coming Workforce: Generation Y (1980-1994)

· by Katie Egan

Katie is a Recruiter in the Professional Division at HTI. She has been with HTI since 2018.
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Millennials, Gen Y, The Net Gen – Take your pick

To be a successful recruiter, you’ve got to understand who you’re actually recruiting. At any point in time, you could be marketing a position to a Gen Z fresh out of college. A Gen Y with that golden 5-7 years of experience. Or a Gen X who is ready for (or already in) a coveted executive-level position. If you approach all three of these candidates similarly, you could be setting yourself up for serious frustration.

As an avocado-toast-eating, apartment-renting, individuality-appreciating millennial, I’d love to shed some light on how to best approach a commonly misunderstood generation’s philosophy, relationship with technology, and work-life balance expectations while they are job searching.


There are plenty of (sometimes unfair) stereotypes surrounding millennials. But one that I wholeheartedly agree with is the skepticism of my generation. Millennials grew up with the internet – information was constantly at our fingertips. If someone said something that we weren’t sure about, a quick Google search could confirm or deny in seconds. As a generation, we’re generally not quick to trust information that we can’t immediately qualify is factually true or false. Keep this in mind when approaching millennials about positions, especially when you’re approaching a passive candidate.  Convincing a millennial to make a change from a job that they know well to a foreign one will take some serious logical reasoning.

  • Quantify where you can: If a company has a 5-year retention rate of 98%, let that Gen Y know!
  • Share: Is your client willing to divulge benefits information? If so, let your Gen Y know about that 7% 401k match!
  • Testimonials: Have you placed a candidate at this company before? Try to get some firm feedback about the new company from your placed candidate to present to your potential candidate.


I’m sure that you’ve heard that millennials are particularly concerned with work/life balance. Without consideration, a recruiter could be quick to write off a millennial candidate who prioritizes this. This is certainly not the case! It’s not that we want to come in at 9:00 and leave exactly at 5:00. It’s much more thoughtful than that. Once again, that as a millennial, I grew up with the freedom to be fully connected to the world electronically. This allows me the freedom to be able to work from almost anywhere I can get a wifi connection. When a millennial asks for work/life balance, they’re not saying that they don’t want to put in the work. They’re saying they want understanding that flexibility allows them to be just as productive as in a rigid environment. But also allowing them freedom to address some of life’s other obligations (like a haircut, a nephew’s first grade graduation, or a lunch time cycling class as a few examples) along the way!


If you’ve made it this far in my guide to recruiting millennials, you understand where the “Net Gen” name comes from. Millennials as a group didn’t grow up with iPads in their kindergarten class. However, we likely did take our first computer classes in elementary or middle school. We likely never had to fill out a job application on paper. But we’ve also never expected a recruiter to text instead of email us. As millennials, we’re likely to not answer a call from a number we don’t know, but we’ll quickly listen to the voicemail or read an unsolicited email. We’re immersed in technology but can easily imagine a world where everyone isn’t. When recruiting millennials, keep in mind that we appreciate a balanced relationship with tech. For instance, if I leave a millennial a voicemail but follow up with an email trying to schedule a phone interview, my email will be answered very quickly. I’m able to get something on the calendar far before that millennial even listens to that voicemail. A balance between old and new ways of sourcing candidates will likely put you in that millennial territory.

This is just one millennial’s guide to recruiting. I do hope it eases some frustration that those born before 1980 or after 1994 find when tracking down candidates! Are you after a Gen Z or a Gen X ? Check out my colleague’s views on their own generations!