Recruiting Across the Generations: Part 2 – Recruiting Plan

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Using the Information

In the previous section, I contrasted and compared the four generations. Part 2 takes this information and brings it into a practical level to assist your recruiting program.

Hiring: Create a Recruiting Plan

Your company has ongoing recruiting issues or a few critical needs. What can you do to set up a recruiting program? There are four general steps.

1) Evaluate Your Needs
Do you need to add staff? Are you committed to the Process? Sounds like a silly question coming from a person who runs a recruiting company; but, I encourage employers to determine their need before actually recruiting. I have worked with employers who thought they wanted to hire but lost their focus when the process started. I remember one person who started a new company and retained me to find physical therapists quickly. We started the process and had several quick leads. I called his office to do some follow-up and discovered he had taken a two week vacation to the beach leaving a message to not be disturbed; he needed to unwind. Does this sound extreme…It is, but no worse than the owner who starts the recruiting process then does not want to be involved. Owners and managers need to evaluate and to commit to the hiring process.

After you determine your needs and commit to the process, you should evaluate the type of employee that would enhance your operation. Most positions can be filled by any generation; but, your needs will dictate that requirement. As I have discussed in other papers, there is rarely a perfect employee. You determine your key needs and search for a candidate who meets most of those needs.

2) Evaluate Current Resources
You company has resources that will be presented to the potential employee. These may include your web site, company blog or Facebook page, brochures, office/clinic appearance, attitude of current staff, direct mail information, employment forms, work schedules, benefits, office tools, workstations, anything the potential employee would use to evaluate you and your company. Few companies can set all resource materials to attract a single generation or type of employee. You have to structure your resources to appeal to every group you are recruiting, hit some key points for the people you are most likely to recruit, and keep it real. Don’t promote qualities you don’t have; while strongly promoting those qualities you possess. (Go to the paper “Recruiting is Sales” for greater detail on this). Think about each generation and how they are looking for different things; and how some things are consistent. Be prepared to market those points during the interview and with your recruiting materials.

The question you may be asking is “How can I have a mailer or website that appeals to all generations?” Obviously having four sets of materials would be helpful but this is probably cost prohibitive; and, as I mentioned earlier, it misses the “keep it real” point. (Companies like the US Army are able to do a single generational technique somewhat, due to their unique recruiting needs). Most companies are “Recruiting Across the Generations” and need to address all generations.

My advice for your recruiting materials… You address multi-generations by following either a “single approach” or a “multi approach” with your resources. With the “single
approach”, you determine your target generation and build your resources for that specific target (Similar to the Army Recruiting example). With the “multi approach”, you create resources that appeal to all generations, or several resources to target different audiences, or most likely a combination of both.

There are some key needs that translate to all generations (such as flexibility of schedules and an ethical workplace). The top three reasons for happiness in the workplace include feeling valued, recognition and appreciation, and supportive environment. These shared key points and workplace reasons may vary when actually defined but you can still use them as talking or recruiting bullet points.

Some resources can be designed to include features that appeal to all generations. As an example, look at your recruiting web page; these pages could attract traditionalists with history and tradition being included. Adding pictures of older people, showing
value to younger generations, would attract Traditionalists and Generation Y. The Boomers want to see information on career ladders, reporting relationships and benefits. Gen X and Gen Y want to see a lot of media and ways for them to interact with the web site menus. Everyone wants to see examples of flexibility in schedules as it might relate to their generational needs. Flexibility in benefits could include childcare, retirement, flex days, job training, etc. Look at your company and see what is possible and currently available.

Direct Mail can go out with a message that would attract people to explore for information. This is actually the best use of direct mail to gain an initial interest to explore for more info by calls, visits, open house, web site, or request for specific info. You can also target direct mail during special times to reach individual groups, such as conducting a campaign at end of the school year when parents might be ready to move. Direct mail is my favorite recruiting tool since you are placing a short ad right in the hands of a potential candidate. The card’s power is to direct people to your other resources.

Cold calling campaigns can provide enough “teaser” information to attract interest. The phone sales person must be skilled to listen to the potential candidate and determine their needs (I do not recommend Ro-Bo calls since they miss the skilled listening-interaction component necessary for success.) Use this “active listening” during cold calling; interact with the candidate and then determine if the company can meet their needs. We use professional phone sales persons who know this skill set. We teach our recruiters to develop active listening, keep smiling, have genuine interest, and keep it honest.

3) Connect Your Recruiting Tools
You have a position to fill. You have gone thru the exercise of evaluating your business, determining your needs, and reviewing your recruiting advertising tools. Don’t miss the next step. Recruiting advertisements need to address the target audience and be specific to recruiting.

Working with our company, you may have chosen direct mail, cold calling campaigns, or internet job boards. What could be missing? Oops… are you directing potential hires to your web site that was built to advertise your business to customers. Maybe you threw in a tab for open positions; but, the savvy recruiter needs a better selling environment. Are you addressing the different needs of each generation who is directed to your recruiting site? In my recruiting company, we are creating new tool for our customers that will direct potential leads to a personal site that will sell your position. This web site will show your department and use appropriate media. It will also link to your company web site.

Connect all your to your recruiting tools using such things as printed web address links, highlighted areas on brochures, or QR codes. Have different handouts available describing items that would attract different generations; link these to your web site or
recruiting page. Build and link your library of recruiting materials, create a recruiting email address, and build a web page specifically for recruiting (or use our service such as ours to create your recruiting web page). Can I say it one more time – link everything.

4) Now You Recruit
After you evaluate your needs and resources; it’s time to create and implement a plan. I have written other papers on selling and recruiting which would describe this in detail. Our tools are designed for healthcare recruiters and include cold calling, direct mail, card design, list enhancement, internet job board for therapists, and more.

The point to make with “Recruiting Across Generations” is there is no best method to recruit a generation. I hope you have seen that it’s the message that is the key to recruiting. Never assume that older people do not go to the web or that younger generations do not read direct mail. You can reach each generation with most recruiting methods. I have written other papers on which method would be best to target a target population of all genders. Choose methods based on their pro’s and con’s.

At an open house or when meeting a candidate, have materials available to reference and highlight to each generation. Giving each person the same materials is sure to get them tossed in the trash. Talk to the candidate and personally highlight programs or benefits that might interest that person (yes draw on your pretty recruiting handout). Use the generational information to guide your path; however, listen to the person and you may hear their individual needs. Have people at the recruiting event that can relate to different generations. At an open house, have pictures of different generations working together. Everyone wants to feel they are a value to the team.

My old boss was a fantastic salesperson, I marveled in watching him listen to a client; then repeat what they said back to them. They thought he was a genius; since, he seemed to know each of their hot buttons. He did…because he was an active listener.
Final Thoughts
We have just taken a long journey to study the working generations. They tend to have different values and some merging values. Using this information, you can enhance your recruiting program by targeting different candidates.

Some Keys to remember in recruiting:

  • Evaluate your needs and materials
  • Keep management involved
  • Create recruiting resources that address the generations (use your vendor’s expertise to help)
  • Target your audience location (use a vendor who can find the audience you want)
  • Distribute & market resources to the correct audience
  • Fix your weak points (as possible)
  • Boldly promote your selling points
  • Connect your recruiting tools
  • Active listening to each candidate
  • Explore professional recruiting tools
  • Sell, Sell, Sell
  • AND Tell the Truth

Our company can assist you with many of the recruiting tools. We specialize in healthcare workers (therapists and nurses). We offer recruiting tools specifically designed for healthcare recruiters. We are also available to provide seminars on recruiting to state association meetings and to company managers and recruiters.

Summary Chart 3

  Traditionalist BabyBoomer GenerationX Generation Y
Age4 Born Between 1900–

1945, Agein 2014  is


Born Between 1946-

1964, Agein2014 is


Born Between 1965-

1980, Agein2014is


Born Between 1981–

2000, Agein2014is


Names Alsocalled Veterans,The ForgottenGeneration,  orRadio Babies Alsocalled MeGenerationorBoomers Alsocalled Gen XorGen Xers Alsocalled Millennialor Echo Boomers
HowMany5 Census40.3 million

with 7.7 millionworking


with 59.9 millionworking


with 49.4 millionworking


with 31.9 millionworking

MajorInfluencesin Their History WW2,KoreanWar,Neal Deal, Parentssurvived theGreatDepression Civil Rightsmovement, ColdWar, SexualRevolution, VietnamWar, Kent Stateshootings, Oilembargo Watergate,Companymergers,StockMarket Crash,Information Agestarted 9/11, TerroristAttacks, SchoolShooting,
MajorInfluencesofTheir Culture High percentageserved in militarywithmilitarychainofcommand, GI Billgives collegepossibility,  Expectotherstohonortheircommitments Started the60 hourworkweek, Largepopulation and verycompetitive inworkandcareerladder ParentsLayOff fromJobs,24hournewschannels,Internetstarted, Decline ofAmericaneconomy,Sportsandpoliticalscandals,Internetapart ofdailylife Internet and technoisamajor part oftheirlife, Globalmarkets,Informationavailablequickly,Slowto leaveparent’s home,Twitter, Oftendiscuss majordecisionsw/ parents
MajorInfluencesDuring TheirChildhood Verylittle moneyinhousehold Explosion in numberof TV sets, Largepopulationcompetitive insportsandschool Latch-keykidsasparentsworked,Grewup learning totakecareofthemselves Everyone getsatrophyincompetitionsports, Children ofmerged families,Parentsstructuredtheirdailylives,Attached to theirgadgets andparents,Extreme Fun inTVshowsandactivities


WorkLifeBalance Familyandjobdidnot mix, Loyal toorganization Raised byastay-at-homemom, Live towork, If I retire I willbe broke Both parentsworked,WorktoLive, Clearbalancein workandlife,Efficient workbutleave on-time Valuelifestyleoverupward mobility,Strong relationshipwith parents,Diversifiedsocialgroupof friends
WorkEnvironment Adhere to the rules,Top down (military)management,Agegives seniority,Salaryinfo kept veryprivate frompeers,Expect respect forexperience, Neverdiscuss salaryandbenefitswithpeers Workaholicandafraidto takeoff,Teamworkoriented,Workup the ladderof management,Takesworkhome,werewarned ofpossible firingif theyever discussedsalarywith peers Unimpressed withauthority, Do nottrustcorporationssince parentswerelaidoff, Projectoriented,Want workto be fun,Willdiscusssalary/benefitswithpeers, Expecttrainingso theycanmove upincareer(even if differentcompany), Expect tostartnear topof payladder Tolerant ofdiversityin workplace (races

& age groups), Multi-taskin workduties,Accepts andseeksout leaderto be amentor, Preferstoworkaroundpeerstheirage,Jobhoppingisfrequent,Work shouldbesociallyrewardingand fun, Planningmultiple careers(notjustjobs) withintheirlife,Workwithmanagement-not forthem,Seeks jobswith stability andmeaning,Goaloriented

Communicate Memo, PolicyManual, Inspiringspeeches Talkinperson,Businessmeetings,Use propersentencestructure Email,Websites,Short sentences Email,Text,Twitter
Motivate Valuehistoryandtradition, Enjoymotivationalmessage, Placedegreesandawardson the wall,Title importantastheiridentity Askfor their input,Pathsfor earlyretirementor careerchange, Cuttingedge tools, Nomicromanagement Workwith peers,Want to bechallenged, Bossisa mentor, Cuttingedge tools
CareerGoals6 Builda legacy Builda stellar career Buildportablecareer Buildparallel careers
Benefits Flexible scheduleinapproachingretirementsotheycancontinue to workwith timeoff Mentoring andcoachingopportunities, Postretirement opportunity andpathways,Retirementoptions Daycare andconvenience forchildraising, Time offforreward, Employmentstability, Healthcare Flex-time, Cuttingedge technology,Companysupportssocialcauses
Flex-abilityKeys Flexible schedulesfor partialretirementactivities Flexing  intoretirement, Mayneed flexscheduleto take careofparents Flextime to attendparentingactivitywith kidsandhousehold Flextime forsociallife/fun, Time forself-improvementorsocialcauses



Recruiting Discusshistory,Showhowtheyare still valued, Keepdiscussionconservative butlisten to their needs,Do not appreciategames, Askwhatmotivatesthem,Formal orientation Retirementoptionssuch as401K,Salaryand promotion, Close thedealquick, Healthcarebenefits,Askwhat motivatesthem,Formalorientation Portable retirementplans, Lots oftrainingopportunities,Healthcarebenefits,Closethedealquick,Stability ofcompany,Askwhat motivatesthem,Orient withshortsessions Lotsof trainingopportunities, Closethe dealquick, Offerinternships foryounger to gaininterest, Showdifferentcareeroptions,Includepeersin recruitingevents, Askwhatmotivatesthem,Orient withexperiencedmentor
CompanyWebsiteOptions Tradition & History,Showpicturesofolder workersaddingvalue tothecompany Benefits, Careerpaths, Onlinejobposting Lotsof webcontentwith media-blogs-etc., Careerpaths,Highlightopportunityfor careeradvancement, Showif you supportcommunity orcharityevents Lotsof web contentwith media-blogs-etc., Picturesshowing diversity ofstaff,If yousupportcommunity orcharityeventsthenhighlightit onthe website


1Chambers,Mand Vergun,B.“ArmyRecruiting Messages Help Keep Army RollingAlong.”, October9,2006.

2Tolbize, A.“Generational DifferencesintheWorkplace.”  University ofMinnesota, August16,2008.

3Unknown Author.

4Age Calculated in 2014

5Bureau ofLabor Statistics2012

6Lancaster, Land Stillman,D.  WhenGenerationsCollide:NewYork,First Collins Business,2005.

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Steve Passmore, DPT

Dr. Steve Passmore graduated as a Physical Therapist in 1977 and has enjoyed a unique career from clinician, to management, to operations, to consultant. In 2002 he established Healthy Recruiting Tools and later Focused Mailing Services. Healthy Recruiting Tools provides the “tools” for companies who need to recruit healthcare workers (primarily therapists and nurses). Focused Mailing Services, on the other hand, provides discount direct mail services for any company that needs to advertise by direct mail. We work with mega corporations, to charities, to the mom-and-pop operations who need to grow.

For additional information please feel free to contact at Steve at [email protected], visit our web site at or, or call at 888-993-9675. Also available is an in-service training course for conferences and our book Recruiting in Healthcare: Unlocking the Methods and the Magic 2nd Edition available thru Amazon hard copy or kindle.

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