How to Source and Attract Multi-Generational Talent in a Tight Labor Market

By Paul Slezak - Jun. 15, 2016
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Today’s recruiters are expected to be equal parts hunter and gatherer – to find ‘unfindable’ talent, and bring them ‘home’ to an organisation that fits.

However for the first time in history we are dealing with prospective talent from five different generations, which can prove incredibly valuable but can also present massive challenges for any growing organisation.

The five generations each have their own individual nuances, attitudes, values, and communication styles adding another layer of complexity to an organisation’s sourcing and talent attraction strategies.

While most recruiters and hiring managers are aware of the generational differences between the Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y (the millennials), Gen Z, and in some companies still the presence of the Silent Generation, few have truly embraced them. We are yet to nail the art of modulating our behaviour as a sourcer or recruiter depending on which generational talent we are trying to lure into our talent community.

Last week I presented at Bullhorn’s Engage 2016 conference in Boston. It was a real privilege to be part of the same line-up as Thought Leaders including Arianna Huffington and Daniel Pink. My session was on the The Art of Sourcing and Attracting Multi-Generational Talent in a Tight Labor Market.

I promised the audience 5 key take-aways:

  1. How to start thinking like an online marketer in order to appeal to the unique needs of each generational segment;
  2. How to create multi-faceted sourcing strategies and outreach messaging capable of attracting the best talent from diverse backgrounds and different generations;
  3. How to modulate your behaviour as a sourcer or recruiter depending on who you are trying to engage;
  4. How to best integrate a multi-generational sourcing strategy with your employer brand; and
  5. How to ensure a positive candidate experience through a multi-faceted sourcing strategy.

But I also made it clear to them that the session wouldn’t be on what is sourcing, or how to source; nor would it be about the importance of generational diversity and inclusion; and it definitely wouldn’t be a series of tips or the psychology behind managing and retaining talent from the different generations. Sure they are all important topics, but I focused purely on the sourcing and attraction components of the talent lifecycle.

Knowing the traits of the different generations

What are some of the key characteristics of the different generations? How do they benefit the workplace?

  • As a generation, Boomers tend to have regard and respect for authority and hierarchy.
  • Gen X work hard and get on with it. They have a willingness to experiment – within established boundaries.
  • Gen Y are predominantly challenging, risk takers, self-entitled, individualistic and ambitious. They don’t just ask “Am I a good fit for this company?” For them the more important question is “Is the company a good fit for me?

As recruitment consultants or internal recruiters not only do we have to think about how the different generations might choose to look for, find and apply to jobs; but also how they might choose to respond to or react to the way you reach out to them.
Knowing the traits of the different generations

Approaching the different generations

Approaching the different generations

Attracting multi-generational talent to your employer brand

Attracting the best talent (regardless of which generation they fall into) to meet the needs of any business requires an employer brand that connects with job seekers of any age. Your brand messaging needs to address a multi-generational candidate base in the same way that consumer brand managers have to reflect nuances in the messaging related to their products for different demographics or audience types.

How does your employer brand speak to the different generations?

If you just took the wording on your website, careers page or job ads and stripped them of all your branding, how different is your messaging from the ads and careers pages of other companies (potentially your competitors)?

When did you last survey candidates from the different generations around their candidate experience? For example “Apply via Facebook” may suit a millennial, but a 17 question application form will send a Gen Z candidate running.

Given the war for quality talent today, organisations have an imminent need to adopt a multi-faceted sourcing and recruitment strategy capable of attracting the best candidates from diverse backgrounds and various generations.

If anyone reading this particular post would like a copy of my presentation, click here.

Oh … and if you are looking to fill your recruitment funnel with more quality candidates faster, you can get started with Candidate.Express any time.

Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years.


Paul Slezak

Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years.

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