Who are the 3 types of job seekers on the market and what is today’s pool of applicants looking for when job hunting?

While every job candidate is unique, the three generations currently in the workforce possess several defining characteristics. These characteristics should inform how you target job candidates and what perks are likely to pique their interest. Read on to get the breakdown of the three types of job candidates and how to reach them.

 
1. The Young Idealists (Millennials)
The newest group in the hiring pool, these young professionals may be light on experience but they are sure about what they want. They are the executives of the future, so if you haven’t considered your strategy to recruit this dynamic young workforce, now is the time.

According to research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Millennials comprise 25 percent of the workforce. They value workplace flexibility and are interested in upward mobility. They may compromise to find a job that fulfills most of their desires. While salary may be more important to other groups, for these job seekers benefits and work/life balance are top priorities. A desire for travel opportunities and mentorship from supervisors also makes the list of most coveted company traits.

These job seekers would rather collaborate than compete, and they may feel alienated in workplaces where they are greatly outnumbered by older workers. The biggest headache these young employees present to recruiters is company loyalty: Millennials are more transient than previous generations and are not afraid to change jobs frequently to find the company that values their technological expertise, desire for a flexible work schedule and provides opportunities for growth.

An emphasis on perks, company principles and a clear message that their contribution is valuable is the way to grab the attention of the Young Idealists. Start focusing your attention on them now, because by 2020 they’ll make up 40 percent of the workforce.

How to market openings to Millennials: Social media is a key channel for reaching young professionals, as well as targeted display ads on mobile browsing and applications. If you want applications from this group, consider optimizing your application process for mobile. Participating in job fairs and harnessing opportunities for community involvement will catch the eye of a Millennial job seeker.

 
2. The Middle Ground Pragmatists (Generation X)
This career-minded, middle-aged group is quietly poised to take over the workplace as older workers retire, and their needs and desires from an employer should not be overlooked. They are practical planners with a desire for professional development and enjoy being engaged in their work.

Financial stability and work/life balance are very important to these job seekers, as they are more likely to have children and aging parents to look after. They’re also retirement-minded, and benefits such as college savings plans and health insurance are a big draw.

Generation Xers are engaged with technology, and their position between Baby Boomers and Millennials makes them likely interpreters between these very different generations. Unlike the youngest employees, these professionals have experience under their belt and they know what they want. They are looking for professional development that is unique to their individual career goals and they know how to hunker down and get the job done.

But don’t be fooled: like Millennials, company loyalty is not a big priority for this age group and they are less willing to compromise on their needs than the younger crowd.

How to market openings to Generation X: As a group with more experience and management potential, these candidates are receptive to competing offers. They don’t see potential in companies that are aggressively focused on hiring Millennials, so your messaging should reflect the opportunities and stability they are seeking. They are heavy mobile users when job searching and more likely to notice a strong employment brand. Make the time to recruit these candidates personally.

 
3. The Experienced Sages (Baby Boomers)
They may be heading toward 65, but this group has no intention of slowing down. In fact, a Gallup poll from 2014 shows 49 percent of older workers plan to retire when they are 66 or older, and 10 percent say they do not plan to retire at all.

With the most experience and business savvy in the workforce, these employees have different goals than their younger counterparts. They can offer mentorship to younger generations while also contributing a strong work ethic and company loyalty. Baby Boomers are looking for companies with stability, longevity and a robust future and they prefer traditional schedules to flexibility. Most of all, they are looking for a company that values their knowledge and input.

The challenge for Baby Boomers is in collaborating and adapting, as they are accustomed to traditional corporate structure and competitive work environments. They may struggle to relate to the youngest coworkers, and like Generation X they are looking for companies that have a balanced approach to meeting their needs as well as the needs of younger employees.

Though most no longer have pressing financial needs due to family, this group does value retirement benefits and healthcare over salary as they look toward retirement.

How to market openings to Baby Boomers: The use of mobile is widespread and Boomers are no exception, so don’t neglect to use this channel to reach them. Like Generation X, they are accustomed to personal interaction with recruiters and respond to a strong employment brand that demonstrates company strength. Targeted display ads will have a strong impact on this group as well.

Using these insights, you can optimize your candidate search based on the demographic you are recruiting for a given position. Your personalized messaging will help job seekers understand the company and help you find the best pick for your company’s needs and culture.