Hands up if you’ve heard any of these stereotypes before:
· Baby boomers don’t know anything about technology.
· They’re inflexible and not open to compromise.
· Baby boomers take a ton of sick days.
What about millennial stereotypes? Have you heard they love change and are tech-savvy? When it’s put that way, of course you’d want to hire a millennial instead. Right?
Out with the old…
Hold on a moment: Not only are these far-fetched clichés, but they also don’t provide the whole picture. Baby boomers have a wealth of experience, talent and skills that will bring business value to your company and that they can pass on through mentoring younger employees. When baby boomers leave the workforce, you can be certain knowledge gaps will exist.
One report from The Conference Board shows there will be a shortage of skilled workers when baby boomers retire. Further research shows the economic impact of this generation retiring could be as much as $3 trillion over the 5-year period beginning in 2018. The reality is that HR managers are thinking ahead and 72 percent of them say the “loss of talented Baby Boomers signifies a real problem for industries and geographies in need of qualified talent.”
Why would I hire someone close to retiring?
But wait—are you sure they’re close to retiring? Although 65 has long been the age of retirement, we’re seeing many of today’s workers continue well into their 70s and even 80s. And that myth you’ve heard about baby boomers staying in the workplace longer denying millennials job opportunities is just that—a myth.
Consider this: Many of those millennials who hop from job to job (in fact, 91 percent of them expect to stay at their job for fewer than three years) may leave before your baby boomers think about retiring. During the interview process, ask every employee what their long-term career goals are.
It’s boom time
Multi-generational applicants bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to your job openings. Think of the value applicants of all generations can add to your current workforce. Applicants in mid-career can offer invaluable guidance and mentoring. Don’t forget to look to them for expertise about what they’ve been through in the past and how they’ve tackled problems your company may be dealing with.
Right person, right time, right place
Instead of focusing on age and time in the workplace, it’s more important to get the right person with the right skills for the job and your company. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on an applicant who is mid-career, and be sure to track those skills with an applicant tracking system, like BambooHR’s ATS. That way, when it comes down to narrowing the pool down to one applicant, you’re sure to make the right choice—no matter which generation the applicant claims.
Karen McCandless is a writer for the GetApp lab, as well as editor for the blog. When not writing about B2B apps, she enjoys trips to the theater, playing badminton, and working out ways to travel more.