Purpose – Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) framework, the purpose of this paper is to explore whether the standard TPB constructs explained variance in Generation Y (Gen Y) individuals’ intentions to join their ideal organisation. Design/methodology/approach – A mixed methods approach was used featuring qualitative and quantitative methods. Findings – The overall TPB model accounted for a significant 51.6 per cent of the variance in intention to join one’s ideal organisation in the next six months with the significant predictors in the model being subjective norm and perceived behaviour control but not attitude. Research limitations/implications – Using graduating students from a single Australian university sample may mean that the current findings may not extend to all Gen Y individuals. The current study has demonstrated the explanatory utility of the TPB in relation to graduate Gen Y’s intention to join their ideal organisation, providing further evidence of the robustness of the TPB framework in an organisational setting. Practical implications – These findings have implications for enhancing understanding of the most effective recruitment processes for Gen Y students entering the workforce. The findings could inform recruitment policies and strategies to attract Gen Y applicants. Originality/value – To the authors’ knowledge this study is the first application of the TPB to this topic. The current research extends the recruitment literature with a theoretically based investigation. Identification of factors which inform organisational recruitment strategies, allow organisations to stand out from their competitors and potentially achieve a larger application pool from which to select the best human capital and sustain competitive advantage.