Exclusive Features

Is Your Job Ad Catching the Millennial Short Attention Span?

By Bridget McCrea

How to fill positions and retain workers in an era where top candidates are giving less and less of their time to scanning job ads.


Did you know that your job ad has less than six seconds to capture the attention of a millennial candidate?

That's right, according to a recent comScore study, anyone under the age of 37 requires ads that are just five to six seconds in length—a sharp contrast from older generations that are used to sitting through 30-second (and sometimes longer) TV commercials.

“The length of time of an episode or a viewing period is really important and has got to be short, otherwise you just won't keep the attention of millennials,” comScore CEO Gian Fulgoni told CNBC's Squawk Alley. “You're going to have to make your case literally in a matter of seconds and make sure you grab somebody's attention.”

So, you may ask, how does Amazon orchestrate a job fair with the goal of hiring 50,000 workers—many of them presumable will be millennials—to fill its current and future job openings? According to CBS News, the e-tailing giant will offer jobs “on the spot” for those positions, with most of those jobs counting toward Amazon's previously announced goal of adding 100,000 full-time workers by mid-2018.

On track to open a second headquarters and fill 50,000 jobs at 10 warehouses, the company hasn't announced the results of its August hiring spree, but we can use our imaginations. A millennial herself, Anastasia Button thinks she knows the answer to the “How is Amazon doing it?” question.

A speaker, coach, and author of #NewJobNewLife: The Millennial's Take-Charge Plan For Success, Button says it comes down to one simple reality:  Amazon was developed and continues to thrive in the digital environment, which millennials know and understand well. “Amazon has a presence online, and that's where we hang out,” says Button. “Unfortunately, if your distributorship isn't there, isn't active online, and isn't putting out digital content, then your chances of attracting younger workers will be much lower.”

A Step in the Right Direction
The good news is that for historically bricks-and-mortar industries like electrical distribution, doing something is much better than doing nothing to attract those 6-second-attention-span workers that companies are vying for. In other words, a video that shows in one-minute exactly what it's like to work in the warehouse—or, out in the field selling products and services to customers—is a good step in the right direction.

The proof is in the numbers:  According to a new report from Limelight Networks, the average person watches five hours and 45 minutes per week of online video (up 34 percent in less than one year). Younger viewers watch more online video per week than older viewers, with people 18-25 watching 7.30 hours per week versus people over 60 watching 3.77 hours.

Button says distributors can use these numbers to their advantage in a world where not all traditional companies “get” the fact that younger job seekers want more than just a short job description and an online application. “This is your chance to show millennials exactly what it's like to work at your company,” says Button, “and to communicate why it's such a great place to work.”

And don't forget that millennials tend to be more purpose-driven than their predecessors, meaning that most are looking for more than just a 9-5 and a paycheck. “Millennials think differently than past generations. They don't just want to 'find a groove and stick with it,” writes Ahmad Raza in Why a Purpose-Driven Mission Is Key to Motivating Millennials.

“They want to be challenged,” Raza continues. “They want to grow as a professional and as a person. They want to feel valued. They don't want to be managed; they want to be lead. They want to feel like they are making a difference.”
Knowing this, Button says electrical distributors should focus on sending out very transparent messages that answer questions like, why should we come to work for you? What is your company's mission? How is it helping its customers and the world as a whole? “Be authentic and transparent,” says Button. “They can look it up on Glassdoor anyway.”

Paint Them a Picture
So what exactly goes into an ad that has just 5-6 seconds to capture its audience's attention? Button says the first step is to make your job descriptions about the person first and skills that you're looking for later. “You want to aim towards 'talent brand,' rather than tasks and resume jargon,” says Button. That means sticking to the purpose of the company, what kind of character you wish to hire, and where he or she will go in the company.

“Do you want to hire someone who will stay in the company for seven years and gain a leadership position? What will that look like and what will you provide the right person for that? Mentorship? More opportunity? More flexibility?” Button asks. “Paint them the picture of what they will be doing based on who they are, not necessarily what's on their resumes.”

And speaking of mentorship, Button tells distributors to showcase this asset if you offer it. The same goes for community—or, the feeling that you are part of a “group” versus just off in orbit somewhere on your own. “Millennials eat that up!” she says. “They want to be part of friends and collaborative community at work and have someone to help guide their success.”

Show Your Authenticity
Danielle Radin, a reporter at NBC in San Diego, author of Become a Networking Ninja, and a millennial, says that distributors who want to break through the “6-second attention span” barrier and attract younger candidates should know what they're up against. “There are so many job websites—Indeed, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor…the list goes on and on,” says Radin. “Couple that with the fact that millennials probably have 20 tabs open at once on their browsers, quickly skating through all of the job ads. You really need to put something out there that attracts their attention right away.”

Radin says electrical distributors can do that by focusing on the rewards and benefits of working for them. Even a conventional job ad (i.e., a simple job description and an “apply here” link) can be written in a way that entices younger workers to want to learn more about the position.

“Millennials want to see authenticity in the ad, so it's never a bad idea to say exactly how this position will contribute to the company as a whole,” says Radin, “or to focus on the firm's philanthropic goals, or something you're working toward to make the world a better place.”

It's All About the Culture   
Ben Landers, CEO at analytics and digital marketing firm Blue Corona knows a thing or two about attracting and retaining millennial job candidates. Of his team of 50, just three are not millennials. But don't let the nature of his business fool you into believing that it has some “magical advantage in attracting and retaining millennial talent,” Lander says. In fact, attracting younger candidates takes some extra effort regardless of your industry, company, or specific job position.
“Our office building itself is inside of a manufacturing plant which is situated in the middle of a light-industrial air park,” Landers says, “and about 70% of our clients are in what some people might consider 'unsexy' businesses—manufacturing, home services (e.g., roofing, plumbing, HVAC, landscaping, etc.) and fire protection.”

So what's Blue Corona's secret sauce? In a nutshell, Landers points to corporate culture as the way to attract and retain the top millennials. Focus on establishing an entrepreneurial culture that engenders ownership thinking, and that embraces the digital transformation as it applies to every single aspect of your business,” Landers advises, “from the hiring and recruitment process to how you disseminate information internally.”

Finally, Landers says electrical distributors should strive for a balance between providing support while also encouraging independent thinking and risk taking. “And drop the millennial stereotypes,” Landers advises, “because they're no more likely to peck away on their smartphones at work than the 40-something CEO does.”

McCrea is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at bridgetmc@earthlink.net or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.



Tagged with , , , , ,

Comment on the story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *