Don’t forget Gen X! Hiring & communicating with this generation

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This post is the first of a 3-part series on the strategic hiring of Generations X, Y, and Z. Brent Wallace has studied these generations extensively during his Human Resources Management training at NBCC Moncton.

Creating workplace diversity is extremely beneficial to businesses. Age diversity is important because having different generations within your workforce is a great way to ensure that your employees grow together and learn from each other. Creating a generationally diverse workplace is difficult, and businesses will need to have an understanding of the generations who are currently in the workforce, as well as planning for future generations. When considering hiring different generations, it is crucial to keep in mind that no applicant should have biased placed against them based on their age. Applicants should be hired based on their qualifications and their fit in your company’s culture.

Hiring for top talent today has never been so easy and so difficult as it has been before. Job postings can easily be distributed to a vast number of viewers in a matter of days with advancements in technology, but with so many viewers, how can a business ensure that they find the right people for their specific needs? To make this overwhelming process much easier, it is important to consider what kind of employees you want to add to your business. Workplace culture is a huge contributor to business success, so you need to find the right people for your needs. When you know what kind of person you want to add, you need to decide how you’re going to communicate with and find them and that may differ based on their generation.

Read: How to Hire When Your Company Lacks The ‘Cool Factor’

With that in mind, this series will be focusing on communicating with Generations X, Y, and Z during the recruitment process. This information can help businesses when they are designing their recruitment plan and ensure they are adding diversity. Today’s topic will be Generation X.

Communicating with Generation X

Generation X, generally considered to have been born from 1965 to 1976, are beginning to take on more senior roles in businesses, such as management. They have been through a gigantic technological boom during their time in the workplace. When they entered the workforce, telephones were the easiest way to have a conversation with someone who was not within walking distance. As time went on, the Internet was introduced and so too was the use of email. Email was a revolutionary tool for Gen X as they were able to use it to communicate instantaneously with their co-workers while also controlling when they communicated with others, allowing them to complete their work before being interrupted by answering someone. This simplified communication as a whole and is likely to be Gen X’s preferred method to be contacted.

The difficulty here is that you cannot send your job openings to their emails without access to their email addresses. When posting job ads focused towards Gen X, newspaper and television ads may be the most effective mediums. This is not to say that social media ads would go unnoticed, as a recent study by Nielsen showed Gen X spends more time on social media than Gen Y. The difference is the number of social media sites that may be used by Gen X. Facebook tends to be the preferred site of Gen X, and they tend not to stray away to other social media sites, so targeting ads towards Facebook could be beneficial for finding Gen X workers that mesh well with your business. 

More from Brent: Learn about Flexible Benefit Plans

Once you know where to place your ads, you need to decide what to put in your ads that will draw in Gen X. As such, here are some tips to making your job ads more attractive to Gen X:

  1. Be honest about your expectations: Gen X grew up with parents who went through the Great Depression and have a lack of trust in corporations. By being honest about what their work would be like if they joined your company, you might begin to be a more attractive employer to them. This can also lead to people looking at your posting deciding that they will self-select out of the process, saving you from looking at extra résumés along the way.
  2. Avoid business jargon: Because of their distrust for corporations, use language that your applicants can identify with. Business jargon or buzzwords are seen as a way to confuse someone, which will not go well when you are communicating with a generation that is notoriously distrusting.
  3. Explain why their work is important: By explaining the importance of a job to the potential employee, you will be able to create some excitement for the applicant as they will see how they can add value to your company. Once they understand how they add value to your company, they can feel accomplishment once their work leads to success.


Gen X is a hard-working, skeptical generation that may require more patience than younger generations. This generation is worth the time commitment though because they can be trusted to work autonomously and add great value as mentors for both older and younger employees. Be transparent in your decision-making and share success with Gen X by explaining how their work is a helping your business to grow and succeed. By sharing this with them, you will begin to see employees who are confident and knowledgeable in their positions.

This post is the first of a 3-part series on the strategic hiring of Generations X, Y, and Z. Brent Wallace has studied these generations extensively during his Human Resources Management training at NBCC Moncton.

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