When It Comes To Hiring, Is 50 Really The New 30?

By: Jill Reynolds, Quantix President and CEO 

In a recent staff meeting we were discussing job orders from various clients and relevant candidates. One of our recruiters mentioned they screened a qualified candidate but they were concerned the candidate was “too old” for the youthful, cutting-edge culture of a particular client. When exploring the situation further, I learned the candidate was 50-ish. With “match making” being an important element in the recruiting process, there were concerns because the hiring manager could be as much as 20 years younger than the candidate. Would this be the right dynamic for a successful interview and hire? What happened to all the chatter about 50 being the new 30? 

Are there benefits to hiring a mature employee? Absolutely! Building a multi-generational team has pluses for a variety of reasons, retention being one of them. In a recent post I addressed the subject of job hopping. Frequent job changes are almost expected with employees in their 20s and 30s. The average tenure in this age group within the IT sector is less than three years. Seasoned employees tend to offer a more sustainable return on your hiring investment. At this phase of their career, their mindset tends to be more about growing a business than growing their career path.

John Giaimo recently wrote an article for The Staffing Stream about the advantages of hiring from the 50+ workforce. 

Image Credit: Indeco Group

Image Credit: Indeco Group

Accumulated Wisdom. With a 25+ year work history, these veterans are bringing with them a great resource of their successes AND their failures. The latter is particularly important as it will demonstrate to an organization what pitfalls to avoid and how to bounce back from challenges.

Greater Flexibility. They’ve matured through their career and felt the growing pains that younger employees may not yet understand as being crucial to improved business. Besides acquiring technical abilities, these employees have perfected the soft skills like communication, abilities to handle stress and confidence to collaborate with management in a way that supports organizational goals and projects. They will also be more likely to be flexible in their compensation with former insurance and savings plans already put in place.

An Extended Network. Their list of contacts, business relationships, and friends in the field will be well developed with their career record. In a recent study employers said this group of employees have stronger professional and client networks compared to their younger coworkers resulting in a better referrals for business prospects and potential employees. 

A Fresh Perspective. When trying to cut new ground and stay modern, an older employee can actually revitalize your business by providing a different perspective. You will definitely profit from an employee who is familiar with traditional business models and how to apply them anew.

So, is 50 the new 30 when it comes to hiring? Hopefully, it is. A multi-generational team can provide balance to an organization and the opportunity to gain perspective from coworkers of all ages. As an employer, I’ve learned that you can teach skill, but you cannot teach experience. Experience typically comes with time.

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