Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How Do I Video Interview…Baby Boomer Candidates?

Every candidate comes with their own set of unique interviewing challenges. That’s why we’re tackling how to video interview different types of candidates with this how-to series. Today, we’ll be talking about how to use video interviews to connect with baby boomer candidates. Just like any other candidate and any other generation, baby boomers have strengths and weaknesses you should use the video interview to discover.

These seasoned workers have been around the block and have experience to share with your organization. However, many companies worry baby boomers won’t have the technical know-how they crave or will be ready for retirement shortly after accepting the job.

It’s important to remember when speaking with baby boomers that discrimination on the basis of age is absolutely illegal. Older candidates are protected by the government and by the EEOC from being fired or simply not hired on the basis of age alone.

Aside from the legal ramifications, dismissing an older candidate because of age is just bad practice. Those same years a company might think are a hindrance to longevity can actually be a strength. Here are candidates who have plenty of work experience under their belts and will likely need minimal training. You won’t have to teach a baby boomer how to do their job, especially if it’s in an industry in which they’ve worked for many years. This can potentially save your company big bucks on education expenses.

What many companies worry about is the likelihood of a baby boomer sticking around, especially if they’re close to retirement age. But here’s something to consider: nothing is guaranteed when it comes to hiring new employees. Your superstar Millennial might find a new, higher paying job a year after you hire them and fly the coop. Older workers aren’t more likely to leave than younger ones because it’s impossible to know how long any employee will stick around. This is why it’s more important to focus on skills and organizational fit in the video interview than age.

Here are some things to consider when speaking to a baby boomer candidate in the video interview:

Focus on Skills
When it comes to baby boomer candidates, the common misconception is that older workers aren’t as up-to-date with technology as digitally native Millennials. This is, of course, a gross oversimplification of an entire generation’s comfort level with emerging technology. There are baby boomers who don’t know how to turn on a computer and there are boomers who never leave home without their smartphone and tablet.

Depending on the needs of your position, you will want to find out how comfortable the candidate is with technology. If the candidate reached out to you on social media, through a video resume, or by sending along their industry-related blog, there’s a good chance they know their way around today’s digital media. However, make sure to use the video interview as a platform to ask about the specific tech tools and programs the candidate will need to navigate for the position.

Look at the Price Tag
Another common issue with baby boomer candidates is that their years of experience can result in a higher price tag than younger workers. Depending on the salary requirements of the position, this can become a challenge. Talk to your candidate in the video interview about their required salary range.

If the salary for the position is underneath this range, really make sure they understand the pay cut they’ll be taking by accepting the position. A lot of older workers are looking for positions in new industries or looking to take a stab at something new and are therefore comfortable with the idea of a pay decrease.

Career Passion
As mentioned, some older workers are looking to transition into another career path or take on a new aspect of the same industry. It’s important to see just how passionate your candidate is about the career sector before hiring.

Ask them what they love about the industry or job and what they don’t particularly like. This will be a better gauge of how likely they are to stick around than the amount of candles on their birthday cake. While age is nothing but a number, passion can sustain a career for years to come.

When interviewing baby boomers, it’s important to stay compliant with all EEOC regulations while still ensuring the candidate is the right person for the job. Ignoring a candidate based on age is a bad hiring practice and can really lose you great employees, so give these boomers a chance to impress in their video interview.

What are some things you look for when interviewing baby boomer candidates? Share in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Richard Rhee.

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).