Human Resources, Job Search

Multi-Generational Recruiting: Generation Why

May 18, 2018

Written by Kirby Cole, Director of Recruiting.

A multi-generational workforce: We all have our own why.

This week I had the pleasure to sit in on an interview with one of our junior recruiters and I was reminded of just how hard this job is. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. A recruiter must find a person that matches a certain skill set with a certain set of key words on their resume.
  2. The recruiter must make sure the person matches the “culture” of the company, which is pretty dang hard to measure.
  3. The recruiter must convince this qualified person that this is the job and company for her/him.

The thing is, people are finicky and there are a lot of people all along that process that can screw things up. Today more than ever, the people market is made up of more and more individuals all seeking their own criteria for work which has led employers to have to answer one critical question… WHY? Why should I work for you? This “why” has unified generations, turned recruiters into sales people, and has us questioning how to recruit the Generation Why.

Recruiting in the 5 Generation Workforce

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Generation Why is a crazy mixed up conglomerate of Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, Gen Yers all in the workforce at one time. Each generation defined by the differences from their predecessors, and seeking to break the stereotypes that accompany these definitions. Even in this diversity there is one powerful commonality: what people expect from work is as unique as the individual, and it is continuously changing throughout their lives. The challenge for company’s today is to attract these individuals with their different expectations, values, experiences, and needs to assimilate under one corporate identity flying one corporate flag (which is really just a logo).

Back to the interview this week and how this all ties together. We spoke with a candidate who had a six-figure salary traveling the country with a company car, living the life. We were interviewing her for marketing coordinator position with a small manufacturing firm an hour away from the nearest city making half what she was making. Franky, I was perturbed, shaking my head thinking the junior recruiter was wasting everyone’s time because there is no way she will take this position, with this pay cut, in this location. I interrupted the interview and just asked, “Why would you be interested in a position making half the money with a long commute?”

“What people expect from work is as unique as the individual…” Why do you work?

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“I have been working 70 hours a week traveling 60% of the time for 3 years. I want to find a company where I can use the skills I just learned in my Masters Degree for an employer that I can stay with for a long time. This position will allow me to wear a lot of hats that I haven’t been able to thus far in my career. And, I love the outdoors and spend a lot of my free time in the national parks around this location,” she replied.

The recruiter gave me a look like, told you so. I just smiled and said this position sounds like a perfect match. My expectations, values, and needs were very different from the candidate and they clouded my perception. This, is Generation Why. What matters to me is very different than what matters to everyone else in this group, to each individual member. It is the recruiters job to listen actively to take a company, a job, and a culture and see if it truly fits with parts of what candidates are looking for. More so now than ever before, the job of a recruiter is to sell an opportunity based on the preferences of the individual. The pitch is no longer “work for this company because they are great.” The pitch is now, work for this company because they fit what you are looking for.