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In today’s ever-changing job market, recruiters need to focus on innovation and adaptability when it comes to their recruitment strategies. They must keep up with the shifting demands of different generations of candidates and create an attractive work environment that appeals to them. This was the finding of Monster’s recent research.

Generational similarities and differences in attitudes to work

The report reveals that the traditional 9-5 working day is dead, and the demands and expectations of each generation have transformed in the past few years. However, despite this, there are similarities between the generations in terms of work satisfaction, with workers of all ages agreeing that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a new normal in the workplace including a desire for greater freedom and flexibility.

Companies are responding by offering more flexibility and focusing on benefits, including aligning with company values and offering meaningful roles. For example, 42% of Generation Z employees say they are allowed to  operate flexibly or remotely.  In addition, while the factors that motivate work choices differ among generations, there was a consensus among all generations that working for organisations that align with their values, and in roles that have meaning, scored highly.

However, there are crucial differences between the generations that recruiters must take into account. Baby Boomers are almost twice as concerned with compensation and benefits as Generation Z, who focus more on a company’s values, including diversity and inclusion.  Furthermore, Gen Z is the first generation to come of age in a fully digital world.  This generation has access to more information about companies and their values than ever before. This could have significant implications for companies looking to secure top talent in the coming years. Employers may need to re-evaluate their values and messaging to reflect this shift in priorities when it comes to choosing an employer in order to appeal to the growing Gen Z workforce

Millennials also rate good compensation and benefits highly – 41% compared to Generation Z on 26%. Generation Z candidates, on the other hand, focus more on company values. 59% of Generation Z recruiters anticipate that candidates will increasingly expect to learn about a company’s diversity and inclusion efforts and social impact.

Workplaces are, like wider society, becoming more diverse.  Recruiters must embrace new ways of working, adopt new technologies, and understand what is important to each generation. They need to alter the assessment criteria and adapt their recruitment techniques to the modern candidate by embracing generational diversity, evolving needs, and the desire for flexible working.

Using technology to recruit – a generational perspective

The report also highlights the importance of technology in recruiting, with younger generations embracing digital recruiting more than any other. However, recruiters must recognize that not every candidate will be comfortable with virtual interviews and should use a range of recruitment methods that best suit each generation. For instance, recruiters targeting Generation Z should provide real examples to back up their statements, while organizations targeting Millennials should use social media and text messaging to describe packages, perks, and benefits.

While all generations still ranked an ‘in-person’ interview as a more important factor than a virtual interview the gap between them was much narrower for younger recruiters. Our research found that Generation Z recruiters are almost twice as positive about digital recruiting as any other generation. Online search tools and applicant tracking software are more effective than social media at identifying candidates than social media. They’re also twice as likely to use text messages and WhatsApp to communicate with candidates. Technology can break down barriers, but for Boomers and also for some Millennials, it can construct them. Not every candidate will be as comfortable in a video interview.

61% of Generation Z recruiters claim that virtual recruiting is better than hiring in person, while 26% of Millennial recruiters, 13% of Generation X recruiters and only 6% of Baby Boomers said the same.  All generations ranked in-person interviews better than virtual, with 67% of Generation Z, 56% of Millennials, 66% of Generation X and 74% of Baby Boomers claiming this.

Top tips for recruiters: best recruitment methods for different generations

To successfully attract candidates from diverse generations, recruiters should adapt their recruitment techniques accordingly.

  • Recruiters targeting Generation Z candidates should provide real examples to back up their statements, as this generation tends to be sceptical about promises. Authenticity is key. Recruiters should also highlight a company’s corporate values.
  • For Millennials, organisations should use social media, text messaging, and WhatsApp to stay in touch and describe packages, perks, and benefits.
  • When recruiting Boomers, recruiters should highlight the stability and security of roles, while Generation X recruiters should emphasise benefits, perks, and salary, and use word-of-mouth, networking, and tried-and-trusted methods to engage with candidates.

To attract top talent from diverse generations, recruiters must adapt their recruitment techniques accordingly. They must understand what is important to each generation, alter their assessment criteria, and embrace generational diversity and evolving needs, including the desire for flexible working. Successful recruitment for any generation means balancing effective existing strategies with new approaches to attract interest from all groups for every role. Companies that can do this will have a better chance of securing the top talent they need in order to thrive in the future.

By Rod McMillan, Marketing Manager, Monster UK.

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