Six Ways to Sell a Millennial With Your Job Description


HR Analyst, Software Advice

Most job descriptions are awful. They make the hiring company sound boring. They make the work sound tedious. And they all sound pretty much the same, citing the need for a “self-starter” who is a “team player” and whatnot.

“Most job descriptions don’t even reference a person. There’s no ‘him/her,’ ‘you,’ or ‘us.’ They must be hiring a robot, I suppose.” — Keesha Galindo, director of HR for Moolala

This could be a real problem for employers when they try to hire Generation Y Millennials (read: not robots)–people like me. While some managers and recruiters are annoyed and fed up with the stereotypically whiny and self-entitled millennials, Generation Y is predicted to comprise nearly 75% of the world’s workforce by 2025, according to the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation. And while some of Gen Y have “failed to launch” amidst the Great Recession, the best of them are in high demand. So start using the job description to court them.

Here are six ways employers should tweak job descriptions to attract Gen Y:

1. Tell them why they should want to work for you.

Hiring managers, this is your chance to make job seekers fall head over heels in love with your company and the open position. Millennials don’t just want to crank out work and check off items on a to-do list. We want to love the company we work for, so use the job description to get us excited.

“The language of the job description should reflect the company's culture,” says Brie Weiler Reynolds, content and social media manager for FlexJobs. “Instead of using the same old wording to describe the desired qualifications, be a little creative when talking about your preferred applicants.”

Describe your ideal candidate honestly, without using jargon or cliches. Here’s a snippet from a posting that does a great job describing the ideal candidate in a way that’s less robotic and straightforward and mirrors the company’s voice:

Our ideal candidate:

  • is not afraid of the phone and has a surplus of energy;
  • has a curiosity about the high-tech world;
  • views sales as a path to uncapped income and fulfillment;
  • earned a GPA above 3.0; and
  • has extraordinary “people skills” and enjoys interacting.

2. Tell them why the position matters to the company.

I love my current job because I know how my actions drive company growth. Understanding how my job contributes to the organization is one of the biggest motivators for me and my Gen Y colleagues.

“Companies that describe how the job they're hiring for is a key role within the company are on the right track. Millennials want to know how their work will impact a company, how they'll be connected to decision-makers, and where they fit in the grand scheme of things.” — Brie Weiler Reynolds

3. Talk about what the job could do for them.

While it’s motivating for millennials to know about all the great things this position would allow them to do for the business, they also want to know what they’re going to get out of it. Aside from a salary and benefits, what skills will they gain, what professional connections are they going to make, what opportunities exist for growth within the company, and why would this position make them more desirable candidates when they start looking for their next jobs?

4. Tell them about your creative benefits.

If you only offer the same roster of benefits that almost every other employer offers (like health insurance), your company won’t stand out. That’s why it’s important to offer some creative benefits that are compelling to Gen Yers, like flexible work hours or gym membership reimbursement. Detailing such benefits in your job description can go a long way to attracting millennials.

5. Tell them about your vision for the position.

Tenure within a company may not be the most important selling point for a millennial, given the trend of younger workers job hopping regularly. At the same time, the only companies I want to work for are those where I can imagine myself working for several years. The job description needs to show that the company has the same sort of vision for the person who fills the position.

“Millennials really want to be able see themselves at the company where they’re growing, succeeding, being challenged, and enjoying it all at the same time,” says Ryan Ruud, director of marketing for Four51. “It’s not just about taking a seat at company X, cranking out a list of tasks and requirements every day.”

6. Tell your company story, quickly.

You probably have a company description somewhere on your website. Don’t just copy/paste that into your job description, but don’t fail to include one, either! This is your opportunity to quickly convey your company’s mission and how it came to be as it pertains to the kind of applicant you’re looking for.

“Just like you have a mission statement internally to motivate your team, you need one that is outwardly facing that excites the right people,” adds Ruud.

What other ideas do you have for revamping job descriptions to attract millennials? What do you think Gen Y talent want in a job description?

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  • Jon Warner

    Very nice, balanced, practical and well considered article.

  • Meher_taj

    i so agree with you, my company to had this boring JDs and now after taking up employer branding role, i have launched a massive JD standardization and humanization drive.. hope i will succeed.

  • Bob_mcintosh


    You make a compelling article for why companies should make an attempt to attracted talented Millennials to their workplace. Is it cynical to think some/many/most companies feel no need to make the attempt? After all, I don’t see companies making the effort to do the same for people of my generation (gulp, Babyboomers). Sad.

  • Annamarie Tush

    Being part of Gen Y in this job market, all the job description has to say is we’ll hire you I would be set. I have noticed my fellow graduates being alot less picky with the jobs they apply for just trying to take any job they can get to get their foot in the door.  I think the attractiveness of a description is defiantly important, but will be more relevant once the job market turns around.

  • The Word Department

    I’m glad someone has this opinion of recruitment ads. I’ve worked in advertising for 17 years, and it shouldn’t really matter whether you’re advertising a job or a car – there should always be something to entice the reader. The few years I spent in recruitment advertising taught me that a lot of people expect job ads to look different because ‘that’s how it’s done’. People like you, with a far more logical attitude, help us to make recruitment ads that work. And the ones with an idea and a firm proposition in them (i.e. something for the reader) are always the ones that work – every time.

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