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Shifting Your Staffing Strategy for Multigenerational Talent Sourcing

Shifting Your Staffing Strategy for Multigenerational Talent Sourcing

An important part of your staffing strategy is gathering current trends and data on the market to source talent more effectively. You have likely relied on a generational lens to assess top candidates for years. Your clients are certainly doing so! 

In fact, the majority (52%) of respondents in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Survey reported they consider generational differences when they design and deliver their workforce programs. This means many of your clients hold your hand-picked candidates under a distinct scope. They use generation biases to determine a candidate’s fit in their culture and the best salary and benefits to offer. 

Unfortunately, they’re doing it wrong. And it’s up to you to update your staffing strategy for the future of talent acquisition.

Research also revealed the current workforce is far more complex than basic generational differences. Assessing talent through a generational lens is outdated and likely to cause you less-than-stellar placement rates as clients catch on. Instead, you must select candidates with the goal to develop a perennial workforce.

Perennials are “a group of people of all ages, stripes, and types who go beyond stereotypes and make connections with each other and the world around them,” according to expert Gina Pell. And that multigenerational understanding is the future of staffing. 

We now know most people in the workforce want the same things — purpose, good leaders, and professional growth — no matter their generation. This means you should focus your attention on putting away age bias. Instead, assess all candidates for fit based on the factors that drive top talent to succeed.

It’s time to break down generation barriers in your staffing strategy and make way for the perennial workforce. Here are a few tips for updating your multigenerational talent sourcing strategy: 

Determine values and purpose

You’re used to attracting talent based on presumed interests and traits. But it is possible to unlearn this approach. You’re going to want to look at a few variables to determine how candidates fit into your clients’ requirements based on purpose and goals. The best way to look at these factors is to remove the generational blinders.

Dig into your metrics without considering limitations like age and experience for a moment. Look hard at your placements and consider:

  • Are candidates you place successful in terms of role fit?
  • Do you have a strong placement rate related to culture fit?
  • What are your clients’ retention rates overall?

NOW, put the lens back on. 

  • Who is failing to make it through? 
  • Which generations are more likely to leave their new role within six mos., a year, two years?
  • What is it about your sourcing or screening process that encourages certain candidates to filter into specific companies’ hiring processes?

Answering these questions allows you to identify whether you’ve previously filtered talent through to open roles based on your unconscious age bias. Perhaps some of your screening decisions were deliberate, based on your perceptions of clients’ cultures or values. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in consumer branding and miss important differences in a company’s employer brand.

In fact, this is a trap many candidates often fall into. Many candidates believe a wide gap exists between generations in the workforce. This means they are more likely to look for jobs with companies that effectively market to their generation without looking for deeper connections that lead to long-term job satisfaction.

More than half (59%) of survey respondents in Deloitte’s report agreed that “generational differences are expanding.” But as researchers took a closer look at the data, they found the opposite to be true. Regardless of age, respondents were more likely to agree on areas such as advancement opportunities, job security, work-life balance, and flexibility.

The way you assess for alignment with the companies you source varies as much as the diverse talent you hope to attract. Once your recommended candidates move forward, decision-makers make offers to talent they expect has been screened for a custom fit. If you make assumptions based on generational differences, you could lead both candidates and clients to overestimate their fit. 

Align branding with expectations

When digging into your staffing metrics, examine for gaps between your clients’ branding and their actual culture and job offerings. If you find your assessments have fallen short, it’s time to chat. Doing a full-scale evaluation of each client’s employer branding is essential to ensure you place the best-fit talent across generations.

Clients may not be aware of inconsistencies between what they provide employees and what candidates think they will get out of their jobs. Looking for potential improvements can boost your placement rates, the candidate experience, and your clients’ retention rates in one fell swoop. Aim specifically to show an accurate picture of their culture, engagement, advancement, and flexibility.

As fast as the multigenerational workforce is growing, the shape of the workplace is shifting. The 65 and older age group grew by one-third as baby boomers entered retirement age in the last decade, according to 2020 census data. And there are millions of working-age Gen Z descending on the job market. Naturally, your clients’ employer branding needs to accurately portray how their workforce has adapted to a remote or hybrid culture. But it should also address how they support their employees’ personal and professional goals.

Neither the point professionals begin their families nor the trajectory they advance in their careers can be predicted based on generational stereotyping. For this reason, how you promote and screen for clients’ open roles is significant. You cannot afford to risk pushing through talent your clients are not prepared to keep on board in terms of values, community involvement, pay, benefits, or mobility.

Assess the individual for fit

Aligning your staffing strategy with a perennial workforce means your screening process needs an overhaul. Your old interview questions and evaluation criteria were designed to fit candidates through holes in your talent pegboard. But it’s becoming increasingly important to consider factors such as individual working and learning styles. It is clear that personality now plays a bigger role in culture fit than ever before.

In fact, respondents (41%) in the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Survey agreed that introversion/ extroversion or a person’s propensity to be an individual contributor or team player will be the most important factors to consider when segmenting the workforce in three years. Another 42% believe it is work behaviors — whether a person is a maker, doer, or manager — that will be the most significant in the future.

Whichever factors you favor, it is clear these kinds of characteristics are more valuable to understand than a candidate’s generation. 

The skills and experiences you look for need to meet your client’s company culture, purpose, and values. But you must also aim to understand the individual rather than fit candidates into generational molds. That shift is necessary for your staffing strategy to boost placement and retention rates long-term. 

Create a stress-free candidate experience

Your goal is to ensure your clients receive top candidate recommendations based on your ability to gauge authenticity. Easing candidate stress in the staffing process helps talent feel comfortable showing their true self rather than trying to fit a generational type or expectation. There are a few steps you can take to create a staffing experience where candidates feel confident in the interview process.  

Updating your interview questions and interview technology to reflect your fair and simple screening process improves the candidate experience. For example, one-way video interviews make it possible for candidates to record their early screening interviews at their convenience.

This means whatever obstacles they have in their lives, evening classes or an internship, childcare or volunteering at the school, etc; do not have to be scheduled around, creating possible impressions on the interviewer. You can also explain how the process removes bias by providing everyone with the same questions and evaluating every candidate by the same criteria. It also speeds up the screening process, allowing talent to move into the next hiring stage and on to offers faster.  

When candidates move into the live video interview or in-person interview process, clients will already have a gauge for how they fit the role and team framework. This is because your clients will have reviewed all candidates’ video interviews rather than notes from your staffing team. As a result, they’ll have a better understanding of what each candidate brings to the table. 

By extension, candidates feel more confident. They will be aware that the hiring decision-makers have reviewed their video interview, so first impressions and proving their immediate value to the team are already out of the way. Ultimately, by de-escalating candidates’ stress, you ensure that you’re only letting highly qualified talent through the door. Moreover, you guarantee that clients can trust your placement process for building their perennial workforce quickly and effectively.


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Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.