How to Adapt Your Recruitment Strategies for Different Generations of Workers?

It's become pretty evident that different generations cherish different things when it comes to their work environment. A recent study by GoodHire examined hiring and working trends among different ages and showcased how different we all are. For instance, a generation divide is clear when it comes to work-life balance. While generation Z is primarily looking for more paid time off to forfeit their work-life balance, millennials and generation X want a percentage of salary and boomers are more oriented on promotions and career advancement opportunities. This is obviously far from being the only thing differentiating generations. 


But, if different generations look for different work settings and are motivated by different things to join a company, it also means that recruiters should consider different strategies when hiring each age group. 

Recently, we came across one surprising statistic from Glassdoor, reporting that only 4% of recruiters believe they know how to manage Millenials - the largest workforce in the US. And, that's not all, since Gen Z also officially entered the job market recently, making them the least familiar group of talent to recruiters working on hiring them. 

For that reason, we decided to write a guide for everyone recruiting different age groups. The aim is to explain each group's motivation for work and how you can adjust everything from your employer branding to recruitment marketing efforts depending on which group of talent you are hiring. 

Recruitment strategy for Generation Z

First and foremost, let's see which characteristics differentiate Generation Z from other age groups. Everyone born between 1995 and 2010 is considered Generation Z's, which firstly makes them 'special' for being highly tech-savvy, being born with tech gadgets basically in their hands. They are known for ever-present messaging, their activity on the internet and social networks. Additionally, they are likely to care about trends but are also quick to research societal issues. 

What makes Generation Z a different type of workforce in comparison to the older generations are the following tendencies: 

  1. Extensively participate in the gig economy

  2. They care more about the meaning of their work

  3. Interconnectedness with the technology

  4. Looking for more work-life balance  

These characteristics reflect on their motivations for applying for a specific company or a role, showcase what kind of working environment they are looking for, and ultimately dictate what recruitment process you should design to attract them. 

So, here are some aspects you could adapt to attract more Generation Z to work for your company: 

  1. Create a stimulating growth culture

  2. Adapt your career site by creating separate landing pages

  3. Leverage social media channels

Create a stimulating growth culture

Generation Z is characterized by looking for a strong sense of belonging to the company they work for. They care about the company values and are looking to identify with them. Additionally, this group of candidates is looking to impact society, and frequently roles with some meaning or impact will attract more Generation Zs. 

Ultimately, focusing on the company culture will be beneficial in multiple ways. Firstly, you will know what values your company stands for; secondly, you'll be more skilled in attracting the generation of employees that will overtake the job market in the following years. Ultimately, you will attract more productive candidates since the research found that employees who identify with the company culture are more likely to be top performers. 

More specifically, W-J. Zhang found that organizational culture identity has significant positive predict to job performance: in particular, culture identity degree in cognitive and behavioral aspects has significant positive predict to task performance, and culture identity degree in cognitive, behavioral, affective, and social factors has significant positive predict to contextual interpretation. So, by focusing on your company culture, you can hire talent from all generations that identify with your company values. 

Adapt your career site by creating separate landing pages

While it is essential to create a cohesive work culture with distinguished values for the benefit of your current employees, it is equally important to communicate these values to your potential future employees efficiently. 

With a unique branded career site with separate landing pages to directly communicate your values and address your target audience (in this case, Generation Z), you'll create an online space for your company to showcase what it will be like to work in it. Whether you decide to create separate landing pages for younger audiences to showcase your work's impact on other people's lives; or your organization's modern attitude regarding technology usage and work-life balance. It will all positively impact your image among younger generations. 

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However, bear in mind that you shouldn't fabricate this information solely to attract more candidates but make it genuine. This means that inevitably your company won't possess all these cultural traits but, if it doesn't possess any, maybe it's time to start adapting your culture for the benefit of attracting more Generation Z candidates.

Leverage social media channels

It comes as no surprise, but Generation Z is active on social media. Now that we said one obvious fact let's explain how to attract Generation Z specifically on social media. Since this generation of candidates has been familiar and most active on social media from an early age, you should have this in mind when promoting your company. Keeping up with the trends, being present on various social media channels, and creating unique content will resonate with them. 

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To make this less abstract, we'll take an example of a growing software company, Thursday. It is a dating app that became recognizable for its distinguished LinkedIn posts. More specifically, their interns have been posting their weekly work challenges, where they jokingly quite clearly showcased what kind of environment Thursday is as a company. In addition, they always made sure to communicate how the company must value interns and pay them for their work. 

Not only that they generate a lot of interest for their product, but they also became a recognizable employer, and all was done through an intern and not the company profile - giving the company more credibility.

paid intern at Thursday promoting the product

Recruitment strategy for Millennials

Even though Millennials are frequently put in the same basket as the Generation Zs, considered young, tech-savvy, and independent workers, but there are still quite a few differences between the two generations. 

First of all, Millennials are the generation preceding Generation Z in the age and consequently possess different characteristics. 

One of the main differences between the two generations is that Generation Z is way more independent, goal-oriented, and individualistic at work. This means that while Millennials are focused on teamwork and integrating their work into their lifestyle, Generation Z tends to be more focused on their own success and control the end product of their work. 

By understanding their differences, it becomes easier to highlight each group's characteristics during a recruitment process.

Here are some things you can focus on in your recruitment process when hiring Millennials:

  1. Highlight your collaborative culture

  2. Check their abilities to collaborate and work individually

  3. Flexibility around the office and WFT hours 

Highlight your collaborative culture

For Millennials, it's all about teamwork! And, since this generation thrives in the team environment, why not highlight some collaborative aspects of your work for them. It can include showcasing the projects your team completed by working together or even depicting the atmosphere from previous teambuilding your company organized for the employees.

By giving different generations of your workers different abilities to find their best "modus operandi," you can expect the best results from them. So, if Generation Z looks for individuality in their work and the Millennials want to establish good teamwork, it is the employer's task to create a culture that is possible. Providing balance with creating individualistic and teamwork initiatives, equality might be the answer. And, why not communicate it in your job ads and on your career site when trying to attract relevant candidates? 

best practices for optimizing job advertisement

Check their abilities to collaborate and work individually

As mentioned in the previous paragraph - different generations are thriving in slightly different work settings! Since, logically, you will never have only one type of person working for your company, the goal will always remain to create an environment best suited for everyone. Therefore, it is essential to assess both individual and team abilities.

You can either create different situation scenarios in an interview and test candidates based on their reactions or use skills and personality tests to see if they fit in the company environment. Either way, it is necessary to create an environment that would make all your employees thrive despite their differences. It is equally important to recruit candidates who fit in with your company based on skills and personality traits. So make sure to communicate your requirements truthfully and don't compromise on this - it's for everyone's best! 

Flexibility around office and WFT hours 

When it comes to the younger generations being well equipped to work on and with new technologies independently, it is logical that they matter more about the technological infrastructure backing them up in their work than coming to the office every day to do the job. These generations frequently don't see any issues with virtually connecting with their loved ones by being constantly surrounded by technology. Similarly, they can do their work from home and often don't see any purpose in being in the office from 9-5. 

Additionally, in comparison with the boomer generation, they are far more focused on productivity instead of the process. Therefore, the standard of fixed 8-hour working arrangements completely loses its purpose with this generation.

As an employer, you can evaluate the amount f flexibility your company is okay with and would fit in with the company culture and communicate it with your future employees. If flexibility, however, wasn't the practice at your company, maybe it's time to consider it! 

Recruitment strategy for Generation X 

Generation X is the generation of workers born between the 1960s and 1980s. These experienced workers are highly adaptable to new circumstances and possess a dose of calmness in their work. Whether this calmness came with years of experience or a general characteristic of the generation, it is something to consider when recruiting them.

Here is what you should consider when hiring Generation X workers

  1. Value their experience

  2. Strong work-life balance

  3. Communicate openly and honestly 

Value their experience

In recent years, it's become relatively common to have millennials managing Generation X workers due to new technologies and how they impact how we all work. However, if now appropriately communicated, you can unintentionally introduce conflicts at the workplace. And, even though Millennials might be more skilled for leading their colleagues in the workplace, this doesn't entirely replace the years of experience Generation X has working in the field.

It is essential to highlight the culture of inclusiveness you cherish for your future Generation X employees in the recruitment process. This can primarily be implemented in so many "younger" tech companies and startups. Though Millennials and even Generation Z might be swimming like fishes in the sea in such environments, they should have Generation X as consultants being the experts in the field. For that reason, creating a recruitment process that would attract more Generation X to the company might be essential for such companies to achieve the growth they are looking for.

Strong work-life balance

While younger generations might be interested in playing Play Station as a break from work, and a ping pong table can be a good selling point for attracting Generation Z, Generation X cherishes different things. One of those things is a work-life balance!

Even though it might be challenging to have Millennials who cherish flexibility and Generation X looking for work-life balance on the same team, it is still possible to reconcile everyone's wishes. 

Implementing new technologies and direct communication channels while respecting everyone's working hours could be one way of dealing with these differences. However, when it comes to adapting your recruitment process to attract more Generation X workers, the only thing you can do is represent all the working arrangements your company is practicing transparently. And, if this means frequent late hours at the office and weekend traveling, maybe your company is not the right fit.

Communicate openly and honestly

Open and honest communication is reported to be one of the most important things to employees from Generation X. While this can be interpreted from the working style point of view with direct email communication, the same rule can be applied to the recruitment process. 

This means that leveraging email automation, transparent communication style, and communication in every step of the recruitment process with your candidates can be the right strategy to attract Generation X to work for your company. 

More specifically, consider setting up communication flows triggered after every step of the recruitment process and make your candidates always informed about their status in the process. 

Recruitment strategy for Baby Boomers

Unlike the previous two groups of candidates who share many similarities in what they are looking for in the company, they work for, this generation of workers differs significantly!

First of all, boomers represent the oldest generation in the current workforce. However, they are not to be forgotten since the data indicates an increase in Bommer workers in the US. While some may find it hard to picture a cohesive workplace with the age difference between the youngest and the oldest workers being up to 40 years, this can all be handled if everyone's characteristics are considered.

  1. Flexible schedule

  2. Remote work

  3. Benefits 

Flexible schedule

It seems like everyone loves flexibility nowadays. And, we can blame anyone for that. So, yes, the research has shown that Baby Boomers are increasingly attracted to returning to the workspace as more flexible schedules are being introduced. It is more common to work four or even three days a week, have an advisory or consultancy role, and ultimately adapt your schedule to your preferences. This type of work allows Boomers to earn extra money on their terms, and more and more of them are deciding to do it!

Remote work

Like with flexible schedules, having the opportunity to work remotely has been an attractive practice to many Boomers. And even though we can't say that the technology is something that they quickly get a grip of - so many simplified tools and user-friendly designed platforms for communication made all generations better equipped to work with the new technologies. This brought in a whole new wave of Boomers reentering the workforce and sharing their expertise in consultancy roles. 

Remote work benefits (for employer)


Even though times have changed and technological innovations have enabled all generations to work together worldwide, it is one more important reason for attracting boomers to work for a specific company - the benefits. While companies look for candidates with extensive experience to help them grow their businesses, they are looking for reasonable compensation to share their knowledge. 

Therefore, companies are attracting these more experienced workers with competitive compensation packages, including good pay, health care benefits, and others. 

Above all, provide excellent candidate experience & an inclusive environment

Ultimately, what's most important for any candidate from any generation is providing all of them with a great candidate experience. That being said, no matter if you are hiring for an entry-level position or an older consultant, besides respecting their differences, there are some aspects of the recruitment process in which you should make them all equal. 

This goes for providing timely and respectful communication, providing equal opportunities, and addressing everyone's needs and specifics equally. Because, by creating a diverse environment, all age groups can learn a lot from each other and help the company excel with their unique point of view on each issue.

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