Over my many years as a human resource leader, I’ve noted a common recurring flaw many hiring leaders consistently make: they lack the ability to understand the perspective and values of the candidate they’re interviewing.
Do you evaluate a job candidate from a baby boomer (1946–1964), Generation X (1965–1979), millennial (1980–1995) or Generation Z (1996–present) perspective?
Why does it matter?
The reality is there is a serious shortage of employees in the current talent pool, and stiff competition exists for the top candidates we so desperately seek. In addition, it’s unrealistic to believe all the candidates have the exact same values you do. The pool that’s available encompasses a diverse group in terms of race, religion, age, gender and, especially, principles.
If you believe you’re going to hire someone just like you with the same beliefs, you might have already eliminated some of the top available talent. At a minimum, you reduced the number of people you can choose from, to a particular generation. For example, a baby boomer must be willing to accept the fact not all high-performing talent wants to work 50+ hours every week, forever. Does the environment support the Gen X-er’s need to amass skills and provide input? Millennials expect training and challenging assignments—is that covered? Have you provided the time needed to mentor Gen Z while being flexible to their life needs?
Being too selective comes with consequences. Right away the list of potential hires shrinks. Performance could decrease if everyone has the same expertise. Gen X is great with projects but might need assistance with technology from a millennial. Another risk might be high turnover because expectations are not met on either side. Gen Z thrives on multitasking; so a simple, repetitive assignment might cause them to seek other employment.
The most open-minded, savvy employers hold the contrasts between age groups in high regard, and use those contrasts to build a stronger team. The challenge stems from looking through a separate lens. Consider creating a work environment that welcomes all potential candidates.
To give a better understanding of each generation’s mindset, see the chart below illustrating some aspects of the work force.
Keep in mind, this is a general guideline and does not apply to everyone in the presented age group. On that note, focus on the needs of the company and whether or not the interviewee will fit in with your culture.
Editor’s Note: Troy Van Hauen, CEO, Accelerated Performance Technicians, recently served as executive vice president of human resources for The Maschhoffs, where he managed the future design, delivery and deployment of the company’s human capital programs in North America. He brings to the table intimate knowledge, as well as leadership tools and experience that executive-level and front-line supervisors have come to depend on.
For more information, contact Troy Van Hauen, Founder and CEO of Accelerated Performance Technicians, LLC, at 618/830-8362 or email: [email protected]