How to Connect With Boomers in the Video Interview

Senior Man Using Laptop At HomeThanks in part to the economic downturn, Baby Boomers are putting off retirement to stay in the workforce longer. According to The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the number of workers aged 55 and older has climbed to account for 21 percent of the workforce in 2013. This tops 17 percent in 2008 and 2000’s pre-recession numbers, at 12 percent.

Baby Boomers are a hard-working, highly-skilled, and dedicated candidate pool from which to find a great employee for your clients. However, there is a misconception about the Boomer generation’s comfort level with new technology. While Millennials may be digital natives, raised behind the glow of computers and chatting through social media, this doesn’t mean Boomers are digitally illiterate.

Baby Boomers are increasingly embracing new technology. In fact, 20 percent of Boomers aged 55 and older check their social media accounts on a daily basis. The amount of Boomers logging on to Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels has jumped by as much as 50 percent in the last two years. And 41 percent of adults aged 50 to 64 are pressing play on online videos.

While Boomers may be embracing technology, it’s important to remember not every older candidate will be comfortable with the idea of a video interview. Yet video interviews can save you untold time by cutting down time-to-hire and making it easier to connect with busy candidates. You don’t want to throw out the Baby (Boomer) with the bathwater, as the saying goes, but it’s important to embrace new hiring innovations.

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What’s the solution? Here are some quick tips on how to familiarize Baby Boomers with the video interview and connect:

Test the Technology
Since you don’t know the comfort level your Boomer candidate has with technology, allow for some time to work out the kinks. Instead of sitting down for a formal interview right away, perhaps carve out a few minutes before the meeting starts to test technology and ensure everything is working correctly. This way if the candidate is having tech issues from their end, you can assist with troubleshooting or reschedule the interview.

You don’t know if your Boomer candidate uses online video to chat with far-flung relatives all the time or if they’ve never once used their webcam. It’s best to set aside extra time as a cushion before the interview to ensure they feel comfortable before jumping in.

Focus on Skill Level
Many employers wrongly assume Boomer candidates are lost at sea when it comes to new technology. While there are plenty of Boomers who don’t know how to open their own email, there are even more who never leave home without their smartphone and tablet.

If your client’s position requires technical skill, don’t discriminate against older candidates because you assume they can’t get the job done. First and foremost, age discrimination is highly illegal in the hiring process. In fact, the EEOC implemented the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in order to protect older workers from being passed over entirely based on age.

More than staying compliant, however, it’s important you’re not shooting yourself in the foot by ignoring older candidates. These workers might have exactly the skills you need, and many years of experience as an added bonus.

When sitting down with a candidate in a live video interview or sending questions for one-way video responses, dig deep into their relevant skills. Ask questions about their experience, their technical skills, and the technology they’ll be using. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical hiring looking to double all other sectors by 2016 — so it’s not a good idea to leave great talent on the table.

Look for Passion
Passion is the key ingredient in any good employee. According to nonprofit, millions of older workers are reentering the workforce to pursue their passions. The organization discovered 9 million Boomers are currently engaged in what they call “encore careers,” with another 31 million interested in making the leap.

There are clear benefits to hiring a Baby Boomer candidate looking to make the leap into an encore career. First and foremost, your client gets a candidate with true and sincere career passion. Perhaps this is a career path the candidate always dreamed about taking, but never had the time. A Boomer candidate isn’t likely to pick an encore career they’re not passionate about, so you get highly motivated and dedicated employees coming to you with years of workplace experience.

For your cost-conscious clients, “encore careers” are also good for the bottom line. Because these careers are not where Boomers spent most of their working lives, they’ll be starting near the bottom of the ladder. They might not exactly be entry-level workers, but making a career change means giving up your place at the top of the food chain. This means you get a highly-skilled employee without the sky-high salary.

Use the video interview as a place to connect personally and find out about your candidate’s career passions. A highly passionate candidate is worth their weight in gold, since they’ll not only bring increased morale and productivity, but lower employee turnover costs as well.

You shouldn’t wait to use video interviews only for your client’s Millennial candidates. Instead, you should take advantage of the technology to connect with savvy Baby Boomers, evaluate their skills and judge career passion. This way, you can connect personally and hire the absolute best person for the job.

What do you think? What are some ways you use video interviews to connect with Baby Boomer candidates? Share in the comments!

MORE: Employing Grey: Done dismiss candidates based on age

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan
Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform. Learn more about using video interviews for staffing and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.

Josh Tolan

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