College recruiting season is upon us, and millions of new millennials are about to enter the workforce. As someone who regularly recruits and employs millennials, I have seen firsthand what works and what doesn't work when it comes to recruiting and maintaining top talent.

Here is a quick list of do's and don'ts to optimize your strategy to get, retain, and motivate the best talent.



Recruit around your "why." "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it," Simon Sinek said in his now famous TED Talk. When you are recruiting, lead with vision, and the people that will be passionate and motivated will follow.


Vet first for cultural fit. "Culture eats strategy for breakfast," said Peter Drucker. A great culture is defined by shared vision--shared vision between an individual, a team, and an organization. When this magical formula comes together, an individual's goal and career desires align with the vision and mission of the team, and the overall organization creates an unstoppable force.


Define the mission of the position. Mission = Purpose. A 2015 Deloitte study said 77 percent of connected millennials, in part, chose a company because of its sense of purpose. This generation isn't willing to compromise or work crazy hours for an organization that doesn't align with their purpose.

Define a mission--a set of clear goals over a set period of time that, once accomplished, is a notch in the employees' belt, a bragging right and a step forward for the organization.

If people are brought into the purpose of the organization, they are aligned with the culture; if they are committed to their mission, they are going to be successful.



Think millennials will join your company if time = seniority. Position your company by showing that the only limit to growth is based on results, and show examples of success stories in your organization, too. If those results are clear it puts the responsibility on the individual to perform. If employees are confident from day one, they will take responsibility for the results internally.


Be fooled that millennials are wooed by fancy perks. Purpose, cultural fit, and mission dominate all. There is a reason that people will sleep on disgusting couches in hole-in-the-wall apartments to start companies or to campaign endlessly for a politician they love.

If a candidate chooses you because you have better food, a fancier game room, or a nicer office, watch out--because you know where their loyalty lies, pretty soon it will be at the shiny new place down the street.


Build a rotational training program. Recently, large and small companies have been building rotation programs that last for a year or two with a promise of a more senior position after the program is completed. These have seen some success with recruiting strong talent, but the best talent usually leaves because they are going to find a mission they can commit to instead of a vague opportunity to join some mission after a year or two of wandering.


If you spend time on what matters and avoid the easy traps like the ones listed above, you'll build a team of limitlessly committed individuals functioning as a team that will run through walls for the organization.