“With multiple new channels where candidates spend their time, and with multiple generations of people choosing among those channels, identifying, targeting, and effectively communicating with those candidates is no longer as simple as putting up an advert on a job board and waiting for the right person to come calling,” says Sharon Davies.
“Instead, your ‘situations vacant’ notification needs to appeal to the right demographic – and it should appear in the places where that demographic is best reached.”
Davies is the managing director of Big Splash, an advertising company which develops targeted ads for recruitment purposes – she says employers may be missing out on highly-skilled applicants by failing to address generational differences.
“Taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the look and feel of your job ads probably isn’t going to deliver you the best candidate,” says Davies. “It doesn’t take too fine an analysis to appreciate that there will be some substantial differences in tone, content and placement necessary to appeal to a member of [each generation].”
According to Davies, there are five generations currently in the job market –
- iGen or Generation Z (born 1996 and after)
- Millennials or Generation Y (born 1977 to 1995)
- Generation X (born 1965 to 1976)
- Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964)
- Traditionalists (born 1945 and before).
“With the variety in the market, and the competition for in-demand skills, it is imperative that you first decide who you want to hire, the likely demographic they belong to, and then tailor your advertising accordingly,” says Davies.
“Sure, there will be overlaps – nothing stops a tech savvy traditionalist, for example, owning an iPad and frequenting Facebook
, nor is there any limitation to an iGen reading a newspaper or magazine. But it should be fairly evident that in most cases, the delivery of content to these generations, separated by a good five decades, can do with some adapting.”
Auckland-based Davies says understanding how the various generations interact with specific media and knowing how to target them on their media of choice is the key to recruitment success.
“For example, if you are launching a graduate program, you are most likely going to targeting Gen Z. This generation will expect a recruitment campaign with a heavy social media presence – targeting these people where they live, work and play and via their social behaviour online. Platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram will be critical,” she says.
“On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking to add experience to your team and hire a traditionalist or baby boomer, then your mediums will include community papers and noticeboards, radio (think Talk Back Radio) and possibly job boards.
“Once you understand the demographic and the media that your target market is using, it’s crucial to craft communications that capture their attention,” she continues.
“Understanding more about the people who have the skills you need is, therefore, crucial. While it is their capabilities that spark the search, it is knowledge of their demographics, habits and where they spend time that will help bring them on board.”
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