Challenges Different Generations of Job Seekers Face

stock-exchange-911608_640.jpgThere are currently more and more Millennials entering the workforce and Baby Boomers are preparing for retirement, which leads to some definite generational gaps developing at work. Whether it’s younger people managing older employers or vice versa, there is a huge number of challenges arising because of the differences in age. 

While generational diversity in the workforce promotes a broader range of talent, the awareness and impact of these different role players are key to understand in your job search.

One such area is during the job search and interview process. The challenges in terms of generational gaps are plentiful so what do you need to know?

Baby Boomers
If you’re a job-seeker of the baby-boom generation, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the way things have changed in the job market. Job boards and networking are now seen as vital ways in which to start your job search.  There are many misconceptions around older workers but the reality is that as baby boomers you are flexible when it comes to chances in the workplace, goal-oriented and more devoted and engaged than your younger counterparts.

When you interview for a new position, you have the opportunity to convince those in charge of hiring that you’re just as passionate, energetic, adaptable and technologically savvy as those half your age. It’s important to show how you are open to new ideas and how you’ve been proactive in learning about new technologies or systems in your field.

Use your age and knowledge gained to your advantage by making sure you convey the impression that you’re mature and experienced but also an enthusiastic individual who’s eager for new challenges.

Don’t emphasize numbers of years of experience, but rather, hindsight, learning from mistakes, self-awareness, and the value you can add as a result of your rich background.

Gen X 
The Generation X-ers were born between 1965 and 1980, caught between parents who are aging and children they are raising, many from this generation are trying to balance family priorities and work responsibilities. You’re in your 30s and 40s, in the middle of your lives, your careers, and have a lot of responsibility. You’re caught in between two huge groups of people who are, in their own ways, competing with you head on head.  Boomers to the left of you, Millennials to the right — and you with all the frustrations that come with being part of a smaller generational cohort.

If you are part of this generation you are known for being self-reliant and entrepreneurial, traits that show potential employers that you are ready to tackle any project and don’t need a lot of hand-holding. Your priorities for job search may be different than other generations as you need your career to fit into your life especially with the multitude of responsibilities you have at this stage of your life.

If a boomer is interviewing you, be sensitive to the fact that they might have different views around benefits like flexitime and working remotely and therefore avoid leading with this type of questions.

On the other hand, if a millennial is interviewing you talk more about your enthusiasm and interest for growth within the company as they tend to be more involved.

Tech-savvy to the hilt, inspired and informed by global trends, thought leaders, and online influencers, and mostly raised by the baby boomer generation that empowered itself during economically successful times, millennials seem to have it all. Unfortunately, what they also have is a bad reputation – one that warns of being indulged, entitled, and lazy. 

First and foremost, it’s important to be mindful that different generations exist especially during your job search. It’s your job to adapt to the communication styles of the people you are trying to convince to hire you. You may find that some interviewers have negative stereotypes about your generation. Make sure you do your research before going to an interview and review and prepare some of the tricky interview questions that will be asked. 

The chances are very good that you will be interviewed by someone in an older generation so it’s important to highlight the positive attributes of your generation, like that you are highly motivated and intensely focused. Many hiring managers also perceive Millennials as tech fluent, flexible and excellent team players which are all sought after skills. Use that to your advantage.

It doesn’t matter which generation you represent; we understand that job search is not always easy. Whether you are a candidate urgently looking for a new job or somebody looking to form a long-term career building partnership, talk to us. We have a team of dedicated consultants specialising in the Finance, IT, Engineering, Supply Chain and Freight industries. They can connect you with Top Employers in South Africa while assisting you to map both long and short term career objectives and advise you on what steps to take to reach your ultimate career goal.  Communicate Recruitment connects Great People with Great Careers. Apply today.