There are four primary generations in today’s workforce: Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z. Employers prioritizing diversity and inclusion strive for a well-balanced mix of employees from each age group.
So how do you recruit across generations and attract top candidates?
Basically, you have to speak everyone’s individual work language. You must know what each demographic is looking for and how to sell them on roles they’d be ideal for.
So we’re sharing our best practices and helpful tips for recruiters when targeting multi-gen candidates in this recruiting guide.
- who encompasses each generation and their current presence in the workplace
- what matters most to candidates and employees in each generation
- recruiting strategies for sourcing, communicating with, and maintaining solid relationships with these candidates
You’ll also find a few interesting statistics about generational talent to leverage when creating a diverse candidate pipeline.
So let’s get started!
The relode guide to generational recruiting
One of our Recruiting Managers, Abbey Phillips, shared a series of videos recently, highlighting the best recruiting tips for each generation. We’ll build on her insight as you create a strategy for:
Recruiting baby boomers
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Candidates in this generation are between the ages of 58 and 76 in 2022.
Nearing retirement or having retired already, this generation currently accounts for 5% of today’s workforce. However, 40% say they’re still working because they want to, not because they have to.
Baby boomers as employees
The Baby Boomer generation is highly relationship driven. They’re often very dedicated to their jobs and incredibly loyal to their employers. They’re also staying in the workforce longer than previous generations, making them some of the most experienced talent up for grabs, particularly in leadership positions.
What baby boomers are looking for in a role
These individuals want to see:
Comprehensive job descriptions. Detailed job postings are very important to Boomers, as they enjoy knowing exactly what to expect in a potential role and what will be expected of them.
As the generation with the most job-hunting experience, they demand expertly-written job listings. They are less likely to apply to job postings with spelling errors, mistakes, or vague details.
Opportunities for higher-level positions and mentorships. With so much experience, Boomers are eager to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.
They value being in leadership positions where they can teach younger employees how to contribute to the company’s growth and succeed in their careers, making them excellent mentors.
The chance to stay on board with a company post-retirement also appeals to many in this generation who don’t want to fully step out of the workforce. Perks like securing a chair on the board or opportunities to share their advice are highly sought after.
Part-time work options. Many Baby Boomers look for part-time work and flexible schedules as they edge closer to retirement. Spending time with retired partners and grandchildren is often a top priority.
How to recruit baby boomers
If you want to find more Baby Boomers for your candidate pipeline:
Don’t rely on social media or text to connect. This generation prefers recruiters and hiring managers to contact them about opportunities over the phone and via email.
Tell them why they’re the perfect fit for a potential role upfront. Boomers care less about company culture perks and more about the day-to-day aspects of the position. Explain why their experience makes them an ideal candidate for the job and what they stand to gain from this opportunity.
Related: Recruiting Manager, Abbey Phillips, breaks down how to best connect to this generation
Recruiting Generation X
Generation X is also known as the “lost” or “forgotten generation.” Nestled between Boomers and Millennials, these individuals born between 1965 and 1980 currently make up 19% of the workforce.
That puts Gen X candidates around 42 to 57 years old in 2022.
Gen Xers as employees
Generation X is loyal, hardworking, and thrives on responsibility. As more Boomers retire, Gen Xers are starting to fill top leadership positions and hoping to take on more senior-level roles.
What Gen X candidates are looking for in a role
What does Gen X want in a new job? Many are seeking:
Major career-building moves. Now’s the time to leverage all their experience to reach the C-level and other higher-level roles. They’re looking for growth opportunities to take their career to the next level.
A healthy work-life balance. Gen Xers may be taking care of aging parents and have adult children, so they have little interest in working 60+ hours a week like they may have done at the start of their careers.
Traditional benefits packages. Gen Xers haven’t yet built up their retirement safety-net fully, so they’ll be eager for comprehensive health coverage, 401(k) matching, and company stock opportunities.
Flexible, laid-back work environments. Gen X values independence and autonomy, so hybrid workplaces and flexible schedules that come with remote work suit them well.
Innovation and efficiency. Constantly striving to improve productivity, expect Gen Xers to care about upgrading systems and processes rather than accepting the norm.
Leadership development. This generation feels the responsibility of now being at the helm of their department or company. They want to continue learning and evolving to be the best leaders, innovators, and mentors.
How to recruit Gen X candidates
To add more talent from generation X to your candidate pipeline:
Reach out via phone or email. Though this generation is tech-savvy, they may still be somewhat skeptical about people and opportunities that come from social media.
Boost your referral power. Gen X candidates overwhelmingly prefer to find a job via referrals from current or former employees. So if you’ve placed candidates at companies looking to hire, reach out and virtually connect your contacts.
Clearly define paths of success. As a generation that values transparency, Gen Xers want to know what it takes for someone to succeed in the role and how others have fared before them. See if you can research where people in this position jump to next (i.e., something like, “the last person in this role became the CFO”).
Consider compensation perks during negotiations. Learning how to negotiate is one of the top skills to become a better recruiter. Gen Xers are open to negotiations for monetary rewards in lieu of a lower salary, such as end-of-year bonuses, company stock options, and extra vacation days.
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are candidates who were born between 1981 and 1996. As the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, millennials will account for 75% of all workers by 2025. They’re currently around 25 to 40 years old in 2022.
Millennials as employees
Millennials are true digital natives, having grown up with technology at their fingertips. They’re highly tech-savvy and easily adapt to change. Millennials enjoy challenging the status quo and using emerging technology to solve workplace inefficiencies.
What millennials are looking for in a role
In the workplace, Millennials want:
Value alignment. A staggering 80% of Millennials are more motivated and committed at work if they feel their employer is making a positive impact.
Millennials are increasingly seeking companies that share their beliefs and ethics. So value alignment has become one of the biggest workforce trends changing the face of recruiting.
Workplace and schedule flexibility. Millennials care more about achieving a healthy work-life balance than climbing the corporate ladder. Whether traveling or caring for young families, they want lots of schedule and workplace flexibility.
Many are even leaving the traditional workplace behind to take fully remote roles or bounce around with contract and gig work.
Learning, training, and mentoring opportunities. Millennials have several years of work experience under their belts and are now looking toward the next stage of their careers. But unlike Gen X, they’re more into skills training and learning over leadership development.
As technology continues to replace traditional managerial tasks, Millennials hope to evolve their critical thinking, creativity, and interpersonal skills. They’re also looking for mentorships where they can gain valuable intel from their more experienced peers.
Traditional benefits + awesome employee perks. Millennials expect compensation plans to include standard benefits like comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage, maternity and paternity leave, retirement planning, and flexible PTO.
However, they’re also seeking perks from progressive companies that contribute to their overall well-being, such as free lunches, gym memberships, subscriptions to meditation apps, childcare stipends, home office equipment, and more.
How to recruit millennials
To source more Millennials for your candidate pipeline:
Remember that communication and feedback are critical. Millennials want faster interview processes and frequent check-ins for feedback. So recruiters must communicate with millennials through each and every stage to keep candidates engaged throughout the hiring process. Even if it’s taking time to move forward, check ins a few times a week make a big impact.
This generation expects to stay in touch via email, text messages, and even direct messages from social sites like LinkedIn. Don’t be scared to use emojis to build rapport quickly. Phone calls are acceptable, but not preferred for this generation.
Highlight company culture and emphasize purpose. Millennials care about employer values and missions, so spotlight these to instill a sense of purpose in each role.
They thrive on social connections and want to work for companies with strong internal cultures. Talk about the organization’s social responsibility initiatives and the team as a whole over just the position’s duties.
Recruiting Generation Z
Generation Z includes people born between 1997 and 2012, which means any workers under 25 years old in 2022. Though just beginning to enter the workforce, Gen Z already accounts for 25% of all workers.
Since that segment will balloon over the next few years, Generation Z recruiting is a must for highly successful recruiters now and in the future.
Related: Hear from Recruiting Manager, Abbey Phillips, on how to best connect to this generation
Gen Z as employees
Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in the age of cell phones. Naturally, they’re more tech adept than previous generations and quickly adopt emerging technology for fear of being left behind.
Gen Z is also the most diverse and ethically conscious generation to ever exist. They possess a global mindset, which makes them ideal for remote teams and companies that value broad perspectives.
Driven by purpose and passion, the challenges of recruiting Generation Z include finding organizations that align with their values and drive inclusivity and belonging in the workplace.
What Gen Z is looking for in a role
Gen Z recruiting trends tell us that candidates in this generation are looking for:
Learning and mentorship opportunities. Forgoing the expense of college degrees, many Gen Z candidates are self-taught and enjoy taking online courses to level up their skill sets. They appreciate the guidance experienced mentors offer.
A purpose-driven career trajectory. Motivated by ideals, Gen Z candidates must be able to visualize how their work will contribute to the company’s mission now and in the long term. They seek clear career maps that outline what they need to do to grow in their roles and with the organization.
Workplace and schedule flexibility. Traditional work models are not appealing when recruiting Millennials and Gen Z candidates. Gen Z talent is frequently turning to gig work, which provides the flexibility and autonomy they’re craving. If offered a role with an employer, they typically favor and thrive in remote work environments.
How to recruit Gen Z
To add more candidates from Generation Z to your candidate pipeline:
Play around with content marketing. Beef up your blog and social media channels like TikTok to include more helpful content for job seekers. You’ll naturally attract Gen Z followers who want to connect.
Speaking of that, Gen Z is open to opportunity outreach via email, text message, and social media. Always personalize your approach to each candidate, or your messages will be considered spam. And stay away from phone calls as this generation does not prefer to answer calls from strangers.
(psst! The best tools for starting your recruiting business make this task a piece of cake.)
Spotlight core values and missions. When recommending roles to Gen Z candidates, lead with the potential impact they can make as employees. Speak about the company culture, volunteer efforts, mission, and values.
Gen Z candidates prioritize employers with a genuine commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging. So always highlight diverse teams and share how you think candidates can add value with their unique perspectives and experiences.
Promote non-traditional benefits. Gen Z isn’t thinking about retirement planning just yet. They want to hear about company retreats, pet-friendly offices, flexible hours, and tech goodies for new hires.
Generational recruiting + relode = next level hiring
Relode is a technology platform built to help transform the recruiting process by making hiring better for everyone.
Our innovative platform organizes all the generational candidates in your pipeline, so you can keep track of your outreach and their progress in the hiring process in one easy dashboard.
Plus, Relode Recruiters receive exclusive sourcing tool discounts from our partners in the Relode Sourcing Marketplace to make finding those diverse candidates even easier.
This powerful combination of intentional technology and your recruiting expertise will help you source more diverse and qualified candidates and make more impactful candidate placements — a true win-win for successful independent recruiters.
Want to become a Relode Recruiter? Apply to recruit now and find the flexibility of working on your terms. Whether you want to recruit 40 hours a week or just refer some of your friends and colleagues to top jobs across the country, Relode is for you!