Understanding Millennials: Is It One of the Keys to Hiring Quality Credit Union Employees?

By Christine Pena-Oquist

You’ve heard the buzz word “millennials” popping up everywhere in the media and sneaking into the marketing conversations at your credit union. What was once a compelling word has almost become trite. But, thankfully, you get to hang out in the human resource department and ignore this exasperating generation!

Or, do you?

The rapid changes in our culture during the millennials’ formative years have made them a curiosity. People love to debate their strengths and failings, but most experts agree that these young adults who make up about ¼ of the American population are poised to start spending 200 billion dollars annually in 2017--which could turn into 10 trillion dollars over a lifetime.

Your credit union is obviously interested in funneling that money into its financial products and services. But you, as a hiring professional, deal with people. So, what do Millennials have to offer you?

Well, themselves.

In this article, I discussed how good hiring practices involve effective marketing. In order to have a large pool of good candidates that actually want to work for you, it is important to reach as many as possible with an offer that will appeal to them. One of the most common complaints that hiring professionals make is that they don’t get enough of the right kind of applicants.

So, what is one of the first principles of effective marketing?

Know your target audience!

Then, who is your target audience?

Well, it makes sense to focus on the entry-level positions where most of the hiring takes place and other credit union positions are often promoted from. According to DATAUSA, the median age for a teller in 2016 is 29.1 for a male and 37.6 for a female. So, the average teller is at the upper end of the 17-34-year-old working millennials. It then stands to reason that most new hires will be from the younger end of the ages used to calculate this average, making them, without a doubt, card-carrying millennials!

So why not just break from the status quo, avoid this mysterious generation, and start trying to lure in some Gen Xers--or, even better, some older reliable baby boomers?

At 52-70 years old in 2016, the baby boomers are preparing to retire or get to a point in their career where they can really specialize in what they're passionate about.

Yes, it is certainly true that some will take on part-time jobs to augment their retirement. However, the number of baby boomers that are seeking to stand on their feet all day as bank tellers is simply not a big enough audience to target and then expect to be rushed by enthusiastic and qualified applicants.

Also, one of the selling points for this position is that a significant percentage of tellers that stick around for a while are eventually promoted to higher paying career positions within the credit union. This, however, is obviously not going to be as motivating for someone in their 60’s as it would be for a new hire in their 20’s.

This leads us to the middle-aged Gen Xers, the 32 to 51 crowd. Many of them are at the height of their career and have families to support. Let’s face it, though, the national average of $11.39 hr (10/2016) for a teller is not going to be near as appealing to them as it would be to someone in their early 20’s who is currently working in retail for minimum wage.

So, it’s pretty obvious that in order to get enough of the right kind of applicants, you need to have your job ads aimed directly at the attention of millennials. In order to hit a bull’s eye, you’ll also want to narrow this down to millennials who are working in certain fields and have specific skills and aspirations.

Here is an article about making up a job seeker persona for the ideal teller applicant. But, for now, let's touch on four of the most important things to understand about targeting millennials with job opportunities:

#1 Millennials favor convenience and efficiency.

This rankles some, leading to accusations that millennials are lazy and unmotivated. But this generation grew up in a time when conveniences abounded, and so did the choices for how to spend their time. It's likely, therefore, that they just don't see the sense in wasting time unnecessarily! 

Your ideal applicant is already excelling in a customer service job somewhere, but they are considering looking for better hours and better pay. If they have some time on their day off to look for a better job, they are going to prefer to spend it applying for several promising jobs that have quick and easy application processes.

Why would they choose to spend all of their available time applying for just one job, simply because it happens to entail a long, drawn out application process?

It's really just common sense. If you are making your application process as labor-intensive as possible in order to find “motivated” job seekers; unfortunately, you are really just attracting the desperate ones.

#2 Millennials expect an optimized web and mobile experience.

They grew up with the internet. They used it for school. They expect to use it for business. In their eyes, a company without an optimized website is behind the times and unlikely to be the kind of successful organization they would like to work for. In order to reach savvy millennials, you must have an optimized website with a clear place to apply online.

According to a Radware study, 57% of users will abandon a slow-loading site after 3 seconds. According to comScore.com, in March of 2015, the number of adults who exclusively accessed the internet on mobile devices exceeded those that only use a desktop computer. While the majority of people use more than one type of platform, mobile devices have become the primary tool for online access. For the same reason that credit unions are rushing to come out with the best mobile apps for personal banking, your online application must also be optimized for mobile use.

#3 Millennials value transparency.

Traditional hiring practices that involve a refusal to divulge the pay range or work schedule until late in the hiring process, don't sit well with most millennials. They want to know the truth and they want to know it up front. They will respect an employer who communicates clearly and delivers on promises.

#4 Millennials want to be part of an organization that promotes positive social values and/or participates in community service.

Don’t hesitate to share in your job ads about the good things that your credit union does in the community. This will make applying to your credit union a higher priority for many millennials.

Check back with me soon for more tips on how to succeed in targeting the best applicants for your credit union.

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Hi, welcome to CUhiring! My name is Christine and I am the credit union hiring specialist at ApplicantPro. I enjoy sharing tips and insights having to do with hiring. Please come back often and feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, as well as your social media of preference. Currently, I can be found on TwitterInstagramPinterest, and Facebook.

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