The Secret to Recruiting Millennials

The Secret to Recruiting Millennials

Make Your Belief System Your Core Recruitment Strategy.

In 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. That in essence will completely change the demographic of our workforce whereby Baby Boomers will probably have retired as a cohort and Gen X would be stepping up to senior leadership albeit in a different setting of surbordinates.

That would also mean that in the near future of no more than a score, millennials will be leading all organizations.

Whilst this reality is materialising, most of the organisations still fail to change their recruitment strategies to attract millennials talents. The current recruitment strategy is still heavily focused on competencies or in lay man’s term, “right fit for the job”. Fundamentally, organisations are looking for a person who can carry out the responsibilities and tasks competently whilst millennials are looking for an organisation where they can bring their heart and aspiration to the job. However, these two opposite views can still meet in the middle, only if organisations are willing to change their hiring strategy; from one that is job focus to one that is belief focused.

According to Paul Afshar,a millennial himself, “Millennials will take a pay cut to work at a purposeful company. We view positive social change as a life goal, and prefer to buy brands from companies with a purpose beyond products.” (PRWeek, 2018)

Change is imperative as not only millennials are forming the largest workforce but also that the choices for millennials to build a meaningful career is aplenty, with startups as an amazing option. Startup is fundamentally built upon a solution to problems faced by the world at large; with the majority of them, social problems. Thus, the appeal of a startup top a millennial is higher compared to a Fortune 500.

Millennials will also, most likely be envious of Craig Silverstein, when he chose to join a startup with a funny name, founded in the halls of Stanford because of its belief system. He “was Google Employee Number 3, after the co-founders, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin. He was the first person employed by Page and Brin after having studied together with them at Stanford University for his PhD. Silverstein’s contribution to the building blocks of Google is legendary amongst Google. In Page’s own words, Silverstein’s codes were instrumental in the success of Google today. A Harvard graduate as well, he was also admitted to the Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious honor society in America, honoring out- standing liberal arts and science students. He had plenty of choices to work with the top 1 percent of the Fortune 500, but instead, he chose to trust his fellow students, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Google.” (Yong and Lee, 2019)

Craig Silverstein had trusted Google, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin that their belief system matches that of his; to make the world a better place by making information accessible and useful. Google and its founder had reciprocated that trust and stayed true to their values and belief system. In his final parting words, Silverstein again emphasized how Google’s belief system had affected him to choose Google, and he wrote “When I write my massive 4-volume autobiography, “Craig Silverstein: the Man Behind the Legend,” I will devote an entire volume to my years at Google. I can’t emphasize enough how meaningful my time at Google has been, and how meaningful all of you have been to it.”

That is a role befitting many millennials who are looking to change the world. Essentially, millennials are looking for organization, whereby its belief system resonates with them and where the culture of the organization which it is built upon allows them to grow and make a positive impact.

In conclusion, organisations must begin to examine their recruitment strategy and to centre it around their belief system. A belief that as an entity with means, sometimes more than that of a developing country; therein lies a greater responsibility to save the world.

It’s time for organisations to literally wear their hearts on their sleeves.


Yong and Lee. 2019. Department of Startup: Why Every Fortune 500 Should Have One. Business Expert Press. New York

Wikipedia.2019. “William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne.” available at,_2nd_Earl_of_Shelburne

PRWeek. 2018 “ CSR is Dead and Millennials Killed It.” available at

Ivan Yong is an organisational psychologist, engineer, author and a startup angel investor. He is also the Founding Vice President of Solidarity (Social Projects) for the European Mentoring & Coaching Council, Asia, a member of the Hong Kong Society of Economists and a published author with the book titled, “Department of Startup: Why Every Fortune 500 Needs One” by BEP New York. Last but not least, he is a big fan of history and a polyglot, fluent in 5 languages.