In today’s workplace, it is no longer uncommon to see a 20-something managing older workers, and with this new era comes new generational differences. These differences — including ideas about communication, work style, and career advancement — could play a role in your interview process.
Here are a few tips for how to connect with older or younger hiring managers:
If the Hiring Manager Is Younger:
He probably sees email as a valid form of communication. While the survey showed both age groups prefer face-to-face communication over all others, younger managers were more likely to choose email or text message as a way to communicate around the office. Be sure to follow up your interview or initial contact with a punctual email. Include your cell phone number below your signature, as well as links to your social media profiles (only include the profiles you’ve vetted for your job search, such as your LinkedIn profile).
A younger hiring manager also values work outside of the office. The survey showed that while younger managers are less likely to get to work early, they are more likely to take work home with them — 69 percent of managers surveyed ages 25-34 said they work after leaving the office. Be sure to emphasize your work ethic in your interview and stress that you don’t mind taking work home (no need to go overboard though; just make sure it’s clear you don’t always abide by a “leave work at work” policy).
Finally, the survey showed that younger hiring managers believe in a “seize the opportunity” approach to a career. These managers are more likely to believe in consistent promotions to reflect good work; in fact, 61 percent agreed that they believed in promotions every two to three years as a reward for a job well done.
Demonstrate to younger hiring managers that you believe in learning as much as you can as quickly as you can. Emphasize your ability to pick new skills up quickly and play up your leadership experience. Make sure to mention if you were ever promoted in a previous position and how quickly that promotion came about. Let them know if you were named captain of your college soccer team as a junior rather than a senior, or that you took control of your club debate team during your second semester as a member. Younger hiring managers value initiative, drive, and that take-charge attitude.
If the Hiring Manager Is Older:
The game looks a little different. Managers over 55 tend to have more traditional values. While 28 percent reported using email as a form of communication, more older than younger managers reported using the phone and valuing face-to-face communication.
If the hiring manager you interview with is older, you can still send an email as a thank-you note. However, additional questions should be addressed over the phone. The hiring manager will appreciate your direct approach; plus, you’ll get your questions answered directly rather than waiting for an email that could get buried in the inbox.
Older managers also reported spending more time at the office. They are more likely to show up early and leave late from work, but less likely to take work home with them. Demonstrate your work ethic to an older hiring manager by emphasizing that you like showing up early to the office and don’t mind working late. Say something like “I like being in the office early, when it’s quiet, before everyone else gets in” so the hiring manager understands your willingness to put in extra hours. You could also say something like “I prefer to get all my work done at the office instead of taking it home” to communicate your desire to keep work and home separate.
Finally, older hiring managers are more likely to believe in long-time commitment to a company and value loyalty. Whereas younger hiring managers look for candidates with drive and the desire to move up and on, older hiring managers look for candidates who are attracted to the company as well as the position. Emphasize why you want to work for the company and that you can see yourself there long-term. Compared to 53 percent of younger managers, a resounding 62 percent of managers ages 55 and older believe that candidates should stay at a company for three or more years. They also tend to believe in fewer promotions, so don’t necessarily emphasize your thirst for upward motion.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be sure to impress hiring managers at every age! See the full survey results here.
Do you know how to bridge the generational gap? What can you do to impress hiring managers?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at ComeRecommended!
About the Author: Jessica (Jessy) Segal graduated from the College of William and Mary with a B.A. in government and English. She chose to pursue public relations as a career after deciding against law school, and started with a public relations internship in Richmond, VA. Since then, she has gained social media, marketing, and PR experience through a variety of internships with a range of companies. She honed her writing skills in college through her many English courses, as well as her time writing for the campus newspaper and HerCampus online magazine.