The Right Interview Questions To Ask Each Generation

by Dora Wang on Feb 7, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Tailor Your Recruitment Strategies To Each GenerationWith multiple generations of employees in the workplace today, you have to tailor your recruitment strategies to different groups with very different backgrounds and traits. One of the areas you can do this is the interview process. Try connecting with candidates from each generation with these essential questions.

Baby Boomers

Employees in this generation are usually well-established in their careers and tend to be more interested in staying with one company for a long time. They also have a lot in the way of experience and wisdom to bring to the table.

"Where do you see yourself taking this role?" is a question that respects their expertise and desire for longevity at a company while also letting you gauge their understanding of the position and its responsibilities.

"Are you interested in mentoring newer and younger employees?" taps into the wealth of knowledge they offer to your organization in a way that benefits both you and the employee.

Gen X

For Gen X, the formative experiences of their youth taught them to question authority and practice self-reliance.

"Describe your favorite manager" is a way to get a glimpse of the qualities the interviewee looks for in a supervisor—while at the same time letting them know that you value their input about leadership.

"How do you manage your workload?" is an important question for evaluating their prioritization and time management skills. It also lets the candidate know that you trust them to handle their responsibilities independently.


This young generation is known for moving rapidly between jobs to seek out growth opportunities, as well as placing a high emphasis on collaboration.

Ask these candidates "Where do you see yourself in five years?" because it's about their career trajectory and skill development, not their place in a specific job or company. For your part, you can determine whether the interviewee's goals align with the opportunities in your organization.

"How well do you work within a team?" gets right to the heart of millennials' preferred work style. It's important for all generations to be able to cooperate, but this group in particular values teamwork, and wants to know that you do too.

These are just some of the interview questions that will help you reach out to job candidates from each generation. Take a look at the characteristics of these groups to see what their values are, and make sure to address them in your conversation. Asking the right questions can make them evaluate your company in a more positive light even as you're evaluating them.



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This post was written by Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

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