Staff Management

Generational Impact on Recruiting Messaging

By Brad McCorkle

When it comes to recruiting staff for your practice or organization, do you consider the various characteristics and “selling” features of your job, and with whom those job features may best resonate? If not, then you are missing the opportunity to speak the language of many good candidates, and therefore, diminishing the likelihood of landing the best fit.

As you consider this question, remember that most of us have been greatly influenced by the generation we were born to. Our workplace today consists of at least three generations, the Boomers (born 1945-1964), Gen X (1965-1978) and Gen Y (born in the ’80s or early ’90s). Like any generation, members of these groups have grown up with influences that have shaped their concerns, values and interests. Part of this shaping is that the Boomers and the subsequent generations think very differently about the workplace.

Independence, flexibility, diversity, and “work-life balance,” are characteristics more likely to motivate Gen X, and to an even greater degree Gen Y. Gen X and Y individuals typically are not intimidated by technology, can be aggressive, inquisitive, demanding, and predictably will challenge your dress code! Boomers, on the other hand, are often most interested in stability, loyalty, traditional management structure, and will probably be more focused, but less likely to be tech savvy.

So, what does this look like when translated to recruiting language? I found a couple of examples from job postings that I believe exhibit organizations that captured language that will appeal more so with one generation than the other.

Language more likely to resonate with Gen X or Y:
“Each of our physicians provides the types of eye care that they feel comfortable with. We have doctors treating cataracts to strabismus, glaucoma to LASIK, refracting for glasses to performing retinal lasers, providing contact lenses to blepharoplasties. We provide care to neonates thru centurians in both of our large fully equipped offices.”

Language more likely to resonate with Baby-Boomers:
“A career in the Eye Care industry could provide you with long-term employment stability. Proven within our organization, many employees have been here for 10, 20 and some even over 30 years.”

Despite the fact that the oldest group of Boomers are reaching retirement eligibility age, recruiting messaging to this generation continues to be relevant. Boomers are working longer than their previous generation, and many have no intention of retiring any time soon. At Local Eye Site, we’ve employed several Gen Y’ers who comfort level with technology has been a tremendous asset, but we’ve also employed more than one Boomer, and we currently work with a part-time CFO that is a Boomer. His knowledge, experience and connections have proven to be very helpful for our business. Here is what he had to say about his experiences with a multi-generational workforce:

“I know for a fact that I have difficulty understanding how a very attractive dollar amount is frequently rejected because the administrative structure of the work (no flex time, can’t work from home, feeling that collaboration is a waste of time) is not conducive to a Gen X or Y priorities. One candidate rejected an offer we once made because he didn’t see us doing enough “give back” activity to the needy/community. While I view all the elements of a great work environment important, they are not the drivers to me that they are to younger employees. Our generational thought is geared to work VERY hard, put in lots of extra time, sacrifice family for the good of the company, salute the corporate hierarchy, and keep your mouth shut. Hardly the priorities of today’s 30-year old, who can be your best employees.”

There is no question that generational diversity is a reality in today’s workplace, so learn to speak the language of all of these groups in order to cast a broader net. Your results depend on it.

Related ROB Articles

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Enrich Staff Positions for Greater Performance

Brad McCorkle is president and founder of Local Eye Site, an online employment community for ECPs that powers Review of Optometric Business’ Career Center. To contact him: Brad.mccorkle@localeyesite.com.

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