I was recently talking with a senior HR manager at a major corporation about a hiring experience. “I finally found the perfect candidate. He had everything I was looking for. But when I offered him the opportunity to work with us, he asked, “What’s in it for me?”. I couldn’t believe it. What’s with these younger employees? I was so disgusted with his attitude that I decided not to hire him.”
That is a common and unfortunate situation in today’s multi-generational workplace. If the manager had realized that he was talking to someone from Generation X, he would have been prepared for that kind of question. Yet, because he wasn’t aware that each generation has different values, attitudes and behaviors, he lost a potentially excellent candidate.
So what can a hiring manager do to attract and hire the right person for the job?
1. Be aware that there are four different generations in today’s workplace.
2. Understand the key differences in each generation’s values, language and personality.
3. Meet the candidate and determine which generational values they hold.
4. Speak the candidate’s language and meet them where they are.
Candidates may not hold the same values as you do, and that’s OK. Growth occurs when we understand differences, not when we ignore them. Diverse perspectives give us a fuller picture of the issue at hand—whether that issue is turning out a timely report or creating new industrial policy—but only when we’re willing to see, hear and learn. Leaders of all industries aimed for success must leverage diversity in all its forms. That’s why it’s time for *all of us* to span the generational gaps.