Home > applicant tracking, hiring tips, social media hiring > Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y or Millennials – How to Hire Them All

Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y or Millennials – How to Hire Them All

Cliff Oxford caused quite a stir recently when he suggested in a New York Times article that entrepreneurs running fast-growth companies should shy away from hiring baby boomers. In a nutshell, Oxford believes that boomers, who he refers to as the parents of Gen X and Gen Y employees, expect too much money, are distracted by outside commitments, are unwilling to take risks, are clueless about social media, and want to be pampered with perks such as corner offices.

Instead, Oxford recommends that fast-growth companies concentrate on hiring what he calls “Great Recession Graduates” who had to forgo out-of-state schools and wait on tables during college after their parents (those baby boomers) drained their savings and retirement accounts to survive.

Although Oxford admits that some boomers can still thrive in fast-growth companies, he seems to have forgotten that boomers are the ones who brought the personal computers, the World Wide Web, the cell phones, and GPS required by social media into the world. Those creative people were once like the current crop of graduates – young, eager, and unafraid of risks. In addition, most of them attended state colleges and waited on tables to help pay the bills.

On the other hand, Oxford does make some good points. It’s important that recruiters and HR managers hire people who will fit well with the culture of their company. Most companies find the best hiring strategies balance the experience and stability of older workers with the fresh ideas of recent graduates and less-experienced employees.

Fast-growth companies operating on a shoestring will place more value on employees that can and will work for lower salaries in return for a potentially larger reward later. Thus, recruiters and HR personnel at fast-growth companies may want to focus resources on recent college graduates who are happy to have a first job and are willing to work hard because they don’t yet have families that produce the “outside commitments” that Oxford denigrates.

Regardless of a company’s hiring strategy, HR specialists need to be aware of new technologies available to help find and hire the best people for the job. HR departments are increasingly replacing expensive recruiting fairs, newspaper ad campaigns, and clunky paper-based hiring systems with web-based tools that create an Applicant Tracking System. In addition to automating and streamlining hiring processes, these tools use integrated social media strategies to announce openings and attract applicants, a technique that will appeal to upcoming and recent college graduates who communicate primarily through social media.

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