Like the status of their Facebook relationships, working young adults, commonly referred to as millennials, are complicated.

On a daily basis, J. Scott Vernon interacts with millennials, also known as Generation Y born from 1980 to 2000. The professor of agriculture at Cal Poly University in California says young people involved in the industry are just as hard-working as those who have come from any other generation.

“The students I see are not lazy,” Vernon points out. “They want to work at their passions.”

Prospective millennial employees often desire meaningful work. Members of Generation Y want more flexibility in their schedules to enjoy life. Many opt for efficiency, working at all hours of the night and day with breaks in between thanks to mobile devices. They don’t always perform as well under the constructs of a normal workday.

“They aren’t a punch-a-time-clock generation,” Vernon says.

It might also be a challenge to place prospects in agricultural jobs because of location, adds Dennis Landis of Landis AG Placement & Consulting.

“More and more want to stay near a major metro area because they like being near the populations with a variety of activities and fun things,” Landis says. For 40 years, he has hired employees in agriculture while working for companies such as Farmland Industries, Land O’Lakes and FCStone.

Recruitment Considerations. Word of mouth is the best way to locate new employees, experts say. Yet many millennials buck the trend by beginning their job search online.

As millennials submit applications, managers should be aware of factors that will determine whether a prospective candidate accepts a new role.

“One of the biggest things we talk about with hiring this generation is you’re hiring their parents as well,” says Ashley Collins, education and marketing manager at, which posts 5,500 ag jobs each month.

“They are very influenced by their parents, and that impacts the decisions they make,” she says.

Internships are another way to open the door to millennials. Annual results from the site’s survey of about 1,000 students indicate college students will consider three to five internships to help narrow down places they’d like to work.

After an internship, nearly 45% of students will gain employment with that business. “If your organization has an internship, that helps build the pipeline,” Collins notes.