The are tons of highly qualified workers on the market for their next opportunity, as the US economy has yet to bounce back from the recession that hit hard in 2008. Many of those workers are Baby Boomers, the generation that continues to impact our world more than any other. Seventy-six million of them are over sixty-years-old, but they aren’t showing much interest in slowing down. Many still work, and would like to continue to do so until it’s physically time to hang it up. And the data shows that these seniors haven’t lost a step, and in fact may be getting better with age. They’re strong team players, flexible and more open to change than you would expect. So how do you find these amazing, well-experienced candidates? Here are some tips for successfully hiring Boomers and seniors.
The first step is acknowledging that the things that motivate seniors in the workforce are much different from what they were earlier in life. Middle-aged and younger workers are all about upwards mobility. They want the next pay raise, the next promotion or the largest acclaim. For seniors, it’s all about stability. They want to do something they enjoy, and do it well. And they’ll be much more focused on a positive work environment than anything else. Those traits can be an asset to nearly any business, but might make Boomers and seniors the best fit for positions where communication and customer service are most important. That means retail, health care, or hotel services are all a good fit for senior employees.
Another huge benefit you receive when hiring senior staff members is the decades of experience they bring along with them. Home Depot was one of the first companies to realize this and hire a significant amount of older people. Many of their retail staff worked for years as carpenters, contractors, plumbers, or in other specialized areas. That’s a huge amount of information and real world experience that no young employee would have. So consider if you have an open position that could take advantage of a related skill set in an individual’s life. Finding seniors that want to stay in their field but in a position of less stress and responsibility will give you invaluable employees.
If you’re looking to hire positions that are part-time yet demanding, or hold to an untraditional schedule, the senior employee could be your best bet. You’ll find that since their kids are out of the house and off to college they may be looking for something with some freedom, and won’t need to stick to convention. Even in a part-time position you’ll find seniors bring a strong work ethic and a dedication many young people never feel. So take a look at your candidate’s home situation before finalizing the hiring contract.
You’re probably sold on the viability of a senior employee at this point, but where do you find them? Surveys have shown that Boomers are currently under-employed, but human resources professionals frequently carry a subconscious, age-related bias, and may offer you younger candidates more often than not. Check out the AARP website. They have a free business directory that can connect you with some of the larger job agencies that target the older population. You’ll also find several websites dedicated to the older worker. Just remember that the job should involve teamwork and interpersonal connection if you want to get the most value out of your new hire’s life experience.