Generational challenges for recruiters

    • Dla HR
    • Webinar by AskHenry

❓Does the conversation about generations being in the job market apply only to candidates, or also to recruiters?
❓Do recruiters representing different generations collide with the problem of categorization due to the generation they represent?
❓Is the recruitment interview should be tailored to the generation being interviewed? If so, how to do it in a subtle, non-categorizing way?

Joanna Urbanska answered these questions and more in a conversation about the generational challenges of recruiters.

What generations are currently in the labor market and what characterizes them?

At the moment we are witnessing a rather unusual situation, because there are as many as 4 working generations on the labor market, which differ from each other in the context of recruitment and in the context of being an employee itself, says Joanna Urbanska, recruitment expert, creator of the blog “Rekrutuj z pasją”, author of the book “Rekrutuj zawodowo”.

The watchword of the representatives of the Baby Boomers generation, born between 1946 and 1964, is “I live to work.” This is a generation raised in the post-World War II reconstruction era, in the era of the economic “boom,” which translates into high loyalty to the employer and permanent attachment to one company.

For Baby Boomers, a sense of certainty and security about the workplace is eminently important. They define themselves by their position and its placement in the hierarchical structure. This is the generation most often victimized by ageism – age discrimination (want to learn more about ageism? Check out our previous article: “Age does not play a role” – or the uneven fight against ageism in the labor market.

Generation X – 1965-1980 was the first to put , “but” in their approach to work saying that it is important… “but” it is necessary to put a clear line between work and private life. They value independence and self-reliance.

Generation Y, the so-called “millenials” – 1981-1994 popularized the statement: “I work to live, not live to work.” For the first time, work was interpreted not only as a source of income, but also as a source of passion. Millenials grew up in an era of globalization and the proliferation of social media. They value flexibility, work-life balance, and the sense that work is not “just a job,” but carries an actual result and a sense of mission.

The millennial generation was the first in history to be “accused” of lacking loyalty to an employer by changing the standard of approach to what work is to them.

…what place it holds in the structure of values and life goals. Millenials are a generation raised under a stress-free upbringing, which translates into a high need to see the importance and appreciation of their work – this is just one example of how important it is in the debate about generations not only to avoid strict categorization and attempts to assign people to a particular group, but to try to understand each time what changes in the behavior and attitudes of each generation are probably due to.

Generation Z – 1995- 2012 – is a generation that does not draw a line between personal and professional life. It promotes a shift from a “work-life balance” to a “work-life fit” approach. This generation is represented by people who are proficient in technology, brought up on instant messaging and text messaging, and as a result, there can be confusion on the employee front about communication preferences – as to phone calls in the more mature generations, and those by text on the “zetas” side. Generation Z prefers remote work and high hour flexibility.

In the generations debate, it’s important to remember that a recruiter should know the generational differences not so that it’s easier for him or her to categorize candidates, but precisely to guard against lack of categorization on the part of hiring managers and others involved in the recruitment process, says Nicole Tomanek, Head of People & Culture at AskHenry.

What are the challenges facing organizations that create multi-generational teams?

When talking about generations in an organization, one should aim to look at their representatives in the context of how to effectively communicate them, so that cooperation is fruitful, values are consistent and reaching out to each other is possible, says Joanna Urbanska.

Should the recruitment process be tailored to the generation that the candidate represents?

In the recruitment process, the methods of verifying competence should not change in relation to the generation being interviewed. They should be the same for everyone, but it is worthwhile for the recruiter to adjust the climate of the interview, the approach and the values that the candidate may share and prioritize when choosing a new employer. Talk to a representative of a particular generation about things that may be important to them, e.g. for baby boomers it may be a planned career path, for the z generation interesting projects. However, the method of verifying competencies should be constant, says Joanna Urbanska.

How does a company’s organizational culture affect the generational challenges of recruiters?

Above all, organizational culture should be authentic. Not every work environment suits every employee, so even differences in the level of formalism or direct communication that are practiced in an organization and can contribute to an organization’s loss of candidates are acceptable as long as the organizational culture presents a true picture of the fit between people and the company, Joanna Urbanska emphasizes.

Sometimes organizations with a hiring problem try to create an image of the organization being open to everyone. There is nothing wrong with this as long as it is true, but if an organization chooses to create such an image just to attract candidates who will ultimately rotate in a different culture, this is reprehensible, she continues.

Does the generation a recruiter represents relate to how he or she is perceived in the recruitment process?

Above all, recruiters should be fully aware of their role and responsibility. A common problem is a sense of lack of technical knowledge in the field in which the specialist is recruiting, while the role of the recruiter is to create a process to verify competence. The recruiter should not be a specialist in a particular field – the technical interview is what technical verification is for. I don’t think generation has anything to do with it, but more a general misunderstanding about the role of a recruiter in the recruitment process,” Joanna Urbanska concludes.

It is worth remembering that we are only influenced by what we think of ourselves, not by what other people think of us. If a candidate at an interview shows disrespect towards a recruiter, e.g. because he or she is, in their eyes, a person “too young” and implicitly attributes a lack of competence to the recruiter, or conversely, attributes competence to a more mature person only through the prism of age, it shows what kind of person he or she is and gives the recruiter and hiring manager an unambiguous signal about the fact that they would probably not want to work with such a person,” she continues.

How do generational differences affect employees’ preferred benefits?

Benefits are the standard. It is important for organizations to be aware of the fact that candidates pay more attention to whether they are there or not (when they are not there the organization looks at them less favorably), while the expectations of candidates representing different generations are very similar, says Joanna Urbanska.

For baby boomers, medical care comes first, followed – perhaps surprisingly for some – by flexible working hours.

For representatives of Generation X, the most important thing nowadays is also private medical care guaranteed by the employer, but also employer-financed vacations, as well as flexible working hours. The situation was analogous for representatives of the millenials generation.

As for the “zetas,” remote work and free meals provided by the employer were listed among their preferences for the first time.

Preferences towards benefits are much more related to the general trend within which today’s market-active organizations are moving, rather than to the generation to which the employee belongs, Nicole Tomanek concludes.