The Generational Divide: Recruiting Millennials and Boomers

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In this current landscape, the talent war is on. So we ask you: What are you pretending not to know about recruitment?

We often hear from clients and partners about assumptions they have about talent. So Chris and Stacey came together to debunk four myths about recruiting millennials and boomers.

Two common recruiting myths about millennials – debunked by a millennial.
1. Millennials want to only work with other millennials.

I often hear people make comments about how millennials only want to work at places like Google, Facebook, and Uber, where the average employee age is below 30 aka millennial mecca. While it may be attractive in the way that it is for any other generation to work together, it is a gross exaggeration to think millennials only want to work with millennials. As a matter of fact, one of the core desires in most generational research is millennials’ desire to learn and grow. This is truly made possible when millennials are given the opportunity to be around a variety of people, ages, job responsibilities, and scope.

Recruiting Tip: Make sure new and existing roles allow for visibility and access to many different people and generations. If job seekers see that they can grow and learn, it will make the roles more attractive. Accessibility to resources is key in feeling like there is opportunity and growth.

2. Millennials job hop like crazy, so don’t expect loyalty.

As a millennial, I have been at Fierce for five years. I am sure if you thought about it, you would be able to list many examples of millennials who are very loyal and have stayed with the same employer for multiple years. And most likely, the employer was loyal to them by providing a number of r opportunities for growth and investments in their development.

The thing is - there are strong statistics about ALL generations moving from one job to another at faster rates than ever before. This does not mean that we as people are becoming less loyal – does it? From my perspective, it means that people expect more than they ever have from their organizations. From training and resource access to transparency, if organizations don’t take the time and effort to deliver on these pieces, millennials (and really anyone) will make it easy to leave.

Recruiting Tip: Highlight the total organization’s investment for any role that you are currently recruiting. Specifically, you can make a document that line items total annual investment for that role. Make sure to include any hidden costs (like total cost to provide healthcare) to snacks provided to events, etc. It is important.

Two common recruiting myths about boomers – debunked by a boomer.
1. Boomers do not want to learn technology for roles.

As a boomer, I can speak for many of us who are very comfortable with technology and its use in our daily lives. And it is also true that technology is constantly changing. And most of the time, as it changes it continues to get easier and easier for the user. So for a lot of boomers it’s just part of a long line of changes we have experienced throughout our lives. In other words it’s no big deal.

It’s also true that a lot of boomers don’t understand or depend on technology in the same way the Gen X’s and millennials do. Just because we use it differently or less frequently doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to learn.

Unfortunately, just as with millennials, assumptions are made about boomers. One erroneous assumption is that when a boomer doesn’t understand something they are aren’t willing to learn it.

Recruiting Tip: Most of the technology available today is pretty easy to learn. Keep that in mind when you are recruiting. Almost everyone that is hired into any role has to learn the software applicable to that role. Talk about ease of use, and the support they will get.

2. Boomers are unwilling to work for millennials, or are overqualified.

This is the flipside of what my colleague is speaking to above. I believe that there are companies who recruit predominantly from the generations they are comfortable and familiar with. With unemployment at pre-recession lows and the competition for talent is again hot, don’t overlook the talent pool that other generations offer.

Boomers are re-entering the workplace by choice or by necessity. Many are very talented, fully capable, and are eager to learn. They are proud of what they have accomplished and for many reasons they may no longer want the stress and time commitment that went with their previous jobs. And as millennials are eager to learn from other generations, so are boomers. I personally can’t tell you how much I have learned from my millennial colleague.

Recruiting Tip: Think about the job differently. Think about what years of experience can bring to the table. Don’t be fearful about leading either up or down generationally. Re-create job opportunity around the availability of the best talent and challenge your assumptions.

Interested in learning more about the myths and stereotypes of generations in the workforce? Check out the first blog of this series: The Generational Divide: Who Will Win?

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