Four Ways to Recruit Across a Five-Generation Workplace

Gone are the days of the classic 9-5, briefcase-in-hand, pinstripe-suit office space. The workplace is a much more fluid place, filled with employees who span across multiple generations — each motivated by a unique set of goals and communication styles. How can hiring managers possibly know how to meet these needs and effectively recruit across this generational gap? We've got some ideas. Our experienced contract recruiters are no stranger to the skills needed to locate, contact and engage high-quality candidates, no matter what age or background they're from.

Understand Their Motivation

There are currently five generations in the workplace — from the traditionals, born pre-1946, to Generation Z, which is anyone born after 1997. Between those two are the baby boomers, Generation X and millennials. This range undoubtedly leads to a richness of ideas, experiences and perspectives, but it can also be tricky when it comes to recruiting cross-generationally to your company.

As an early step, we recommend tuning into what the key motivators are for each generation. Millennials, for example, are more likely to weigh social consciousness in their employment decision. Baby boomers, many of whom are approaching retirement age, might be interested in positions that will allow them to consult or mentor. Understanding these motives, and emphasizing them accordingly, will help you pull in the talent you're looking for.

Tailor Your Social Media

Whichever generation(s) you're hoping to gain, chances are, one of the things potential candidates will be looking at is your social media. Job descriptions and social media should showcase awareness of these generational differences and attempt to appeal to them. Once you've figured out different key motivators, think about ways to reflect this with your digital presence. Highlighting a career path with plenty of growth opportunities is important for recruiting Generation Z, for example, while emphasizing individuality and the niche industry may be more likely to interest a millennial.

Keep True to Who You Are

When you're looking to recruit a specific generation group, be sure you have an idea of what kind of workplace they're looking for. To appeal to a Generation Z, for example — who will constitute one-fifth of the workforce by 2021 — you might be tempted to play up your company's tech capabilities. At the end of the day, though, authenticity is king. You have to be realistic and stick with who you are and what you do if you want to find the truly perfect culture fit for both you and your candidate.

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Stay out of the Box

It's great to be mindful of generational differences when rolling out recruitment strategies. However, our final and perhaps most important takeaway is this: Don't forget that each candidate is also an individual. No matter what generation they're from, there's a chance they buck the norms completely and fall far outside of the conventions of their time. They might be motivated by an entirely different set of objectives, or respond positively to a surprising style of communication. Be ready and willing to adapt on the fly to the individual before you.

Get in Touch With Us for Your Recruiting Needs


When you need to find quality candidates for your open positions, trust ContractRecruiter. Whether you are looking for someone to fill one position or several, we can find the candidates you need to fill your positions quickly. Contact us today.

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