With the influx of millennial job candidates in the workplace, recruitment strategies for small businesses are undergoing some dramatic changes. Companies that want to take advantage of the potential power of this demographic (as well as other generations in the workforce) need to clearly understand what they're looking for. Armed with this knowledge, businesses "will not only prevent promising employees from jumping ship," notes Stuart Hearn at Business.com, but also begin to build "a stellar reputation, which will facilitate recruitment long-term."

Pay Attention to What Job Candidates Want

Millennials often seek employment with businesses that value meaningful work and don't just require them to do the same things day after day. They're motivated by opportunities to grow and learn, but they also want the opportunity to maintain a reasonable work/life balance through flexible and remote working options. As Hearn notes, companies that fail to recognize these elements of engagement will likely lose promising talent.

The good news is that small businesses are often better positioned to pay closer attention to employee engagement than their larger counterparts. To start, you need to understand how your culture and workplace stand out from the competition. For example, this might include flexible scheduling, a collaborative work environment or on-the-job opportunities for learning and development. Then make sure you consistently communicate these unique features on your website, your company blog and on your careers page. By doing so, you can more precisely target the types of candidates you're looking for.

Start Your New Hire Off on the Right Foot

First impressions matter. When you've succeeded in hiring the right candidate, it's imperative that you generate a sense of connection on day one of his or her new job. Make sure you give every new hire a warm company welcome that includes:

  • Having all necessary paperwork completed and job-specific technology up and running
  • Setting time aside to personally escort the new hire around the workplace and make introductions to coworkers
  • Distributing a company-wide email introducing the new employee (with a little about his or her background)
  • Outlining immediate job duties and pairing the new hire with a veteran employee to serve as a mentor

At the same time, you must be careful not to make mistakes that can discourage employee engagement. As the first days turn into weeks, don't burden the new employee with more responsibilities than he or she can reasonably handle. You should also schedule regular informal check-ins with the employee to assess their workload and give them an opportunity to ask any questions they may have. And don't assume that he or she will immediately grasp your company's established procedures and cultural nuances.

Most importantly, says Nicole Fallon Taylor at Business News Daily, you should give new employees a chance "to digest and absorb all the information they're given — including coworkers' names, company policies and norms and their own work flow."

In 2017, recruitment strategies for small businesses will be driven by an in-depth understanding of what job candidates want. Successful strategies will also target onboarding techniques that make the "new kid on the block" feel like part of a bigger, more dynamic team, starting on day one.

Are you interested in learning more about what drives employee engagement? Check out Top Findings on Generational Employee Engagement and discover what different generations really value in the workplace.

Tags: Recruiting Millennials recruitment