Survey: Younger and older managers favor different hiring criteria
  • leadership
  • Blog post

Survey: Younger and older managers favor different hiring criteria

Ideally, everyone who interviews candidates for jobs with your organization will take more or less the same approach. Sure, hiring managers have personalities that will inevitably express themselves, but it’s important to achieve some degree of standardization in hiring, if you want to consistently find the best people and avoid any hint of illegal discrimination.

But according to a new survey, hiring managers are likely to undertake the task in very different ways based on the age cohort that they fall into.



The online survey of 505 hiring managers, commissioned by the staffing agency Addison Group, turned up these significant variations:

  • Hiring managers from the Baby Boom generation rank proven results and references as more important than do hiring managers from the Millennial group. For the former, results are highly valued by 61% and references by 30%, whereas for the latter the figures are just 44% and 21%.
  • Hiring managers from Generation X value candidate resumes more than Millennials. Some 64% of the former think the resume is very significant, while just 50% of the latter do.
  • Millennials are most concerned of any age cohort with a candidate’s educational level, GPA and schools attended. These points were considered very important by 27%, 16% and 13% of Millennial hiring managers, respectively. (Perhaps not a huge surprise, given that Millennials were more recently concerned about these things themselves!)
  • Twice as many Millennial hiring managers trusted Facebook and Twitter to identify candidates (45% and 28%) compared with other generations (Xers: 27% and 14%, Boomers: 15% and 9%).

Interviews remain key
So if you entrust significant hiring responsibility to line managers, are these age-related differences in approach playing out in your organization? And if so, are you OK with that? These are questions you might want to ask.

Meantime, you’ll be reassured to know that there are some key points of agreement across hiring managers of all generations. For example, only 18% of all the managers contacted in the survey believed cover letters were important.

And most significantly, 74% of the managers contacted in the survey agreed that the interview was the single biggest factor in their choice of candidates to hire.

Here’s how Addison puts it: “Interviews allow the hiring manager to uncover red flags in the resume, like buzzwords and heavily padded accomplishments. It also ensures hiring managers an opportunity to get perspective on a candidate beyond their carefully curated personal and professional information featured in their resume and social media profiles.”

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