As the unemployment rate continues to decline and along with it available candidates, hiring managers need to broaden their definition of their ideal hire. As a recruiter, I often hear that a seasoned candidate, aka older, “won’t understand technology” or “aren’t creative enough.” While with more junior candidates, I hear “they just don’t have enough experience”, “they are too green” or “I don’t want to have to train them. I need someone who can hit the ground running.” Companies are missing out by not hiring both millennials and boomers.
What companies can do when hiring millennials and boomers:
- Don’t lose the wisdom and the business acumen of the older candidate. Look for seasoned candidates who have an open-mind.
- For the younger candidate, don’t just look at their experience but look at their potential and their excitement about starting a new role. They, too, need to have an open-mind.
If you hire both millennials and boomers, it will be a win-win for your organization. You can create reciprocal mentoring. This is a concept where you pair millennials and boomers and both employees and the company benefit. In this case the mentor and the mentee switch places and learn from each other. The millennial will learn from the many years of experience, work ethic and business acumen of the boomer. The boomer will learn to be more “techie” and open to new ideas. The skill set of each will rub off on the other.
To develop this type of alliance it is important to plan for it when interviewing to make sure you hire the right candidates. The boomer needs to want to impart their wisdom and train, and the millennial can’t be a lone wolf. You as a manager need to be open to giving the pair time to work together and bond.
You probably have people in your current organization who fit this description. You could test this reciprocal mentoring theory right now. If the test succeeds, you will have two end results. First, both employees on the team will become more productive. Second, you as a manager, will have more time to concentrate on the strategic aspect of your job, while the millennial-boomer team makes you look like a rock star. The most successful hiring managers will look beyond stereotypes and create an environment where everyone succeeds. As one senior retail leader said, “The most successful people I know are lifelong learners and believe everyone they meet can add value.”