These days, we hear a lot about how different generations are from one another and how that plays into the workplace. But this isn’t just sensationalized journalism, the reality is, we are nearing five generations in the workforce. With birth years spanning almost a century, it seems obvious that those who remember life before telephones in their household are different from those who don’t know a world without a handheld cellular device. The question from a hiring manager’s perspective then becomes, how can I hire a diverse workforce that can work together and understand one another?
Here are three things to keep in mind when hiring your multi-generational workforce, keeping everyone on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Everything boils down to communication. From your job postings, to your phone calls, interviews and emails with candidates, your message should be at the heart of it all. Let’s say you’re looking for an engineer. While there are many engineers out there young and old, the most important thing is looking at the qualities in an engineer your company needs and writing your posting to reflect that. Once you have a handful of promising candidates, dedicate some time to read their LinkedIn, resumé and cover letter to determine what that individual’s goals may be and if the realization of those goals is in line with your company’s.
In the end, you’ll get the best employee if you find one that can do the job at hand and who will love doing it, regardless of age.
Culture is king. You may find the best candidate in the world, but if they don’t align with your culture it won’t be an impactful hire. Some may argue that Millennials require flexible hours, casual dress and low hierarchy. Others, that Boomers like schedules, in-office work and structure. The reality is that generational characteristics are not set in stone, and certainly don’t apply to all people. Some people prefer to have set hours, others like to work from home or at their desk or even at the nearest Starbucks. If your company has a strong culture, be sure to ask questions in interviews with candidates that will help you to understand if they will be a good fit.
Avoid the assumption that because a candidate is a certain age that they will work in a certain way, or the same way as others their age.
The worst mistake you can make is selling a job that doesn’t exist in an effort to target a particular “type of person.” Want to hire more Millennials? Don’t portray your position as a tech savvy, laid back environment if it is far from that. Just as you would be disappointed in a candidate lying on their resumé, a candidate is expecting you to be honest with them about the company and position they are applying for. Staying authentic will help prevent big hiring missteps, wasted resources and turnover.
Candidates of all ages value honesty and misinterpretation can quickly hurt your employment brand.
Generational traits and characteristics exist for a reason. People who experience world events and life at the same point in life tend to bond and have collective memory and consequently, similar characteristics. However, a common mistake is becoming so involved in generational “isms” that we forget that regardless of age, people are unique and so are their career goals and aspirations. Remember to craft your employment message (and stick to it), look for a good overall fit and always stay authentic in order to make the most impactful hire.