Answer: For traditional positions, the information provided to candidates at this early stage is somewhat preliminary with more details emerging as the search is narrowed down to a small group of finalists. However, the targeted group of Social Media professionals for my client’s position did not behave as expected. What became clear is that these Millennials wanted complete information “Now.” Otherwise, they just didn’t respond.
Because hiring organizations generally do not want their identity known, search firms usually do not reveal the name of the hiring organization. There are good reasons for confidentiality, including avoiding being contacted directly by applicants who have already been eliminated from consideration. Or, there are possibly internal sensitivities to the search and the hiring organization may wish to delay announcing the search is underway. So, information provided to candidates at the early stage, generally, is somewhat preliminary with details emerging as the search is narrowed down to a small group of finalists.
That is how I proceeded, once initial contact was made, I sent introductory information along with the salary range for the position. I had moved quickly to this point and expected to hear from many of the professionals who received the descriptive information. I had done my homework and was surprised by the silence in the next few days as I continued to reach out to new prospects.
Within 3-days I realized there was a problem. There were very few responses. I surmised that this group was not behaving at all as I had expected. What became clear is that these Millennials wanted a complete rundown from the moment they were contacted. If they did not see the specific details, e.g. who the company was and what the actual salary range was, they were simply not interested. They felt no obligation to respond and saw no value in building a relationship. If the job were not a fit, no need to put any more time into it.
They wanted to know all they could about the new opportunity because they wanted to find out if it were worth any more of their time. As it turns out, I was “hunting” for the most sought-after group of successful professionals who were relatively early adopters of social media. My contact was one of many.
In order to succeed in convincing these professionals to listen to me, I had to change my approach to appeal to them on their terms. I had to present this opportunity in a manner that aligned with their values which were about the short-term, attention grabbing, and financially attractive e.g. sign on bonus and high salary (because the future didn’t matter) Long term stock options, retirement programs were totally unappealing. This focus was in line with their values and out of sync with GenXers who were looking to the future for longer term benefits and had the patience to wait for them to mature. Millennials could care less about vesting and retirement plans. This attitude was off-putting to GenXers who had built a career on long term values.