Talentor Talk - Recruiting different Generations

by Gertraud Eregger in — January 2023
We gladly welcome Jan-Philipp Schwarz, Business Manager at Coopers Group and our Talentor Partner in Switzerland, as well as Iris Rogmans, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Independent Recruiters, to our Talentor Talk Stage. Iris and Jan-Philipp have a combined total of more than 21 years of experience hiring talent from various generations, and they share with us their most important lessons.
Multigenerational workforce

Both members of Generation Y consider the differences they face when hiring, interviewing, and handling the organization's wish lists when working with various generations:

  • The clear difference is that Generation Z has grown up in a digital world. Jan-Philipp and Iris had a childhood without any digital devices and can both remember their first mobile. Gen Z’s DNA is digital and working in the social media world every minute is the most normal thing on the planet for them!
  • Currently, we see a mix of all generations on a daily basis, and we, as recruiters, bring the baby boomer and the young Gen Z talent together.
  • The World is now really your oyster. You can interview for such a large pool of roles literally from anywhere in the world. Skills, passion, and dedication have been replaced – a lot due to the pandemic – by traditional local hiring decisions.

We begin our Talk by recalling the sounds the internet made when it connected, the size of the first cellphones compared to laptops, and how we knew by memory the landline numbers of our closest friends...possibly up till today...

Iris, as companies and also as a recruiter, how can we reach Gen Y and Gen Z?


Gen Z communicates on average on 5 channels. To contact them, you must develop a multichannel strategy. One channel is no longer sufficient.

You can only connect with them by telling them the truth about the role and having an honest discussion about the job's benefits and drawbacks, as well as its potential for advancement. No need for poetic language or blablabla.

I recommend that recruiters refrain from painting a perfect picture of the position and your business. When you hide the truth, Generation Y and Z will realize it. Authentic businesses will be the workplaces of the future.

Jan-Philipp, what did you recently learn about recruiting a Gen Z talent for your own team?

Jan Philipp

Communication is key – also face2face. All of Cooper’s employees are members of Gen Y or Z, making them quite young. Instead of a traditional interview, we wish to speak with a new talent.

We create a conversation, talk about the future job, and are willing to modify it. Every new employee has an influence on our business, and we already give this impact a lot of attention in the first meeting.

For so many candidates, this offers a fantastic and unique experience, and it truly allows the two of us to get to know one another as people. According to their feedback, our interview felt really different for them, so we know we're on the right route to completely eliminate questions like "Where do you see yourself in 5 years... "

What are currently the biggest challenges for you in your every life recruiting Gen Z and Y?

Iris: Gen Z is very self-confident, and we frequently see them applying for high-level positions that still require several years of experience. This may also be influenced by the regular news stories about the market's desperation, the talent battle, and the difficulties in finding talent at all.

We also see huge changes within the generations. Julia, our digital marketing mind based now in Seoul, feels in between the generations of Y and Z and shares both characteristics.

Jan-Philipp, what has changed during the last 15 years in the world of recruiting – from sourcing to onboarding?

We’ve shifted from having interviews to having a conversation with every candidate – across generations. And we get positive feedback from all generations actually!

The first approach is key, and we all need to be more creative as now the entire world recruits on LinkedIn. We include our clients early on in the process and always brainstorm new channels and ideas.

Iris: The procedure has significantly changed in speed! First candidates will be lost if the procedure takes more than two weeks. We instruct our clients at this speed as well. We were done waiting for another week; that was the past. The same day, or even the following day, we need feedback. Candidates now have choices; therefore they aren't as loyal for months on end.

What are do’s and don’ts when interviewing the new generations?

Iris: We need to talk to Gen Z and Gen Y at the same level – hierarchy and a too formal setting are a huge turn-off and also indicators of an old-fashioned work culture.

Jan-Philipp: We get paid as recruiters to bring different generations together. Every day is exciting because of the complexity of our job! It is also our responsibility to assist baby boomers in navigating this increasingly complex market, which is eager to hire young Gen Z talent. Years of experience combined with a high salary and age make it difficult to find work...and it is also our mandate to bring people together who can learn from each other and fit value-wise.

What do you think will happen in the next years? What trends will come our way in recruiting?

Iris: Flexibility is here to stay. It's a huge opportunity, but it's also a challenge to bring teams together. Everyone, both employers and candidates, must adapt.

The most difficult challenge is ahead of us, as we face an aging population in the Netherlands, which will reach its peak of scarcity in 2040, which is just around the corner.

Jan-Philipp: In Rome, I realized that our industry faces the same challenges all over the world. That was fascinating to see, as was everyone's confidence in our ability to handle it!

Did you have any lightbulb moment or candidate you still have in mind that impressed you so much that you got all dots connected around Gen Z?

Jan-Philipp: Turning interviews into conversations changes the entire start of the relationship you create.

Iris: I recall telling one of my clients that the situation has changed dramatically: the company must now go the extra mile to connect with the candidate! There will be no more searching and selecting.

What is your biggest tip for the young generation?

Come with a broader view, and do not settle for the short term. Engage in different conversations, and do not go for the best salary immediately!

Choose wisely, be always open, lean into different thinking, and never stop learning! Moreover, take some time to choose...no rush...

Watch our full Talentor Talk on “Recruiting different Generations” here.

And for everyone who wants to read more into Gen Z, and still needs a gift for yourself or a fellow recruiter or decision maker: This one is on our shelf right now...

Gen Z: Für Entscheider:innen by Annahita Esmailzadeh, Yael Meier. So far, only available in German.