Why Hiring and Retaining Older Workers Works

Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager, JVS Career Services

In today’s job market, there are nearly one million more job openings than there are unemployed workers, which leaves employers struggling to find and hire workers.

But there may be a simple solution—hiring or retaining older workers. According to AARP, workers 55 or older comprise nearly 25% of the workforce, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says there will be more than 54 million workers over the age of 55 by the year 2024.

An AARP study found 12% of older workers believe they were passed for advancement due to their age. While two-thirds report having seen or experienced age discrimination on the job. 25% said they had heard negative, age-related remarks voiced by a colleague or supervisor.

Ageism was made illegal by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. It protects workers over the age of 40 from age-based discrimination. Ageism cases may be difficult to prove, but employers found to be noncompliant can face multi-million-dollar fines. From 2010-2018, employers paid $810.4 million, not including litigation costs, to settle age discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Here are just a few of the reasons companies would do well to hire or retain older workers:

  • Most employers are protective of their brand image and want to be thought of as an “employer of choice,” but ageism can negatively impact that brand. A candidate or former employee who feels they have experienced ageism can create negative comments towards a company, be it through word-of-mouth or social media. A company’s brand subsequently suffers and, ultimately, the impact is felt where it hurts the most: a company’s bottom line.
  • Older workers have years of experience and knowledge that a company can put to good use. No matter if it’s their professional network or their knowledge of the company, older employees are often great mentors to younger workers. Companies could lose out on a lot of soft skills by letting those older workers go.
  • Older workers are likely to stay with a company longer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median tenure for workers aged 25 to 34 is approximately three years, while the median tenure for employees aged 65 and over is approximately ten years. Turnover is a major expense for companies, with one study finding that it costs about $15,000 to replace a worker earning $45,000 a year.

Today’s workforce now encompasses at least four generations of Americans, and study after study has shown that employers who value a diverse and inclusive workplace and truly put it into practice, are more profitable than those that don’t.

Does your organization need additional resources that will help it acquire valuable talent to move your business forward? One great option is to outsource talent acquisition to a professional recruiting agency. At JVS Career Services, our experienced recruiters work full-time to fill your open positions, providing your overworked HR staff with the time they need to become fully engaged business partners.

JVS Career Services can be an extension of your talent acquisition organization. Whether it’s for entry-level positions or high-level executives, JVS Career Services is a trusted partner to help you source the best, most qualified talent. As a nonprofit organization, JVS Career Services can offer recruiting services at far below market rates, while never sacrificing the quality of service that is provided.

To learn more, visit JVS Careers Services at jvscareers.org or call (513) 936-9675.

JVS Career Services Helps Recent Graduate Gain Her Confidence

 

“It’s hard to move back in with your parents, in your hometown, after living on your own for years. It caused her to lose a lot of her confidence,” said Dr. Lori Glaser-Zakem about her daughter Rachel. After finishing her master’s degree, Rachel had to move back home while she looked to start her career.

According to Lori, Rachel had been applying for jobs and going to interviews, but just couldn’t seem to gain any traction. “She was down on herself. She’s a very independent spirit, so living with us, and the struggle to find a job… Her dad and I just knew we had to do something for her.” However, beyond helping Rachel improve her resume, Lori and her husband were unsure of how else they could help—given how much had changed since they were younger. “Everything is just so different now,” Lori said, “you apply to jobs online; you have to know how to ‘search’ for jobs. It’s a whole different world.”

One day, Lori remembered something her friends had said about JVS Career Services. Recalling how positive their experiences had been with the organization, Lori decided that reaching out to them might be the perfect next-step for Rachel. “What I really needed was someone to help direct her and give her some objective input. After all, I’m only Mom,” Lori insisted. “But we had to twist Rachel’s arm a little because she is so independent. She wanted to do it on her own, and she didn’t want us spending the money on her. We finally convinced her. We said, ‘Look. This is our gift.’ And looking back, I have to say it was worth every penny,” she affirmed.

As part of the Career Services Package Lori purchased, Rachel was connected with Christine Olsen, one of the career coaches at JVS Career Services. The two worked hard to sharpen Rachel’s resume even more. Christine also taught Rachel interviewing techniques, and how to develop a networking mindset.

“They really went above and beyond,” remarked Lori. “I didn’t get to see the actual coaching sessions, but Rachel would come home and she was absolutely more upbeat and positive. She felt more confident in herself, and that she and her skills were marketable. Christine really helped Rachel see the positives she could bring to a company,” Lori said.

All of the hard work finally paid off. Rachel was offered a full-time job as a Transit Planning Specialist at the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) in Bend, Oregon. “We didn’t know Bend existed until she got this job,” Lori laughed, “but she loves it there. She loves what she’s doing! She’s actually in the field that she studied, so this has been such a great fit for her!”

Rachel started with the COIC in September of 2018. Recently, on the one-year anniversary of her employment, she posted the following thoughts on her Facebook page: “Today marks one year of living in Bend. It also happens to be the happiest year of my adult life. Thanks to all of the wonderful people who helped make it such a great year and an incredible place to call home!”

Not only is Rachel’s job a perfect fit for her skills and experience, but the quality-of-life she gets in Bend is outstanding. As Lori put it, “she’s a 15-minute drive to any number of hiking trails or rivers or lakes. When she’s not at work, she’s always out exploring nature or the community. Rachel is just so thankful to JVS Career Services because they pointed her in this direction. I have to say, as a parent, this was the best gift I have ever given.”

Rachel’s new life in Bend has provided other positives for Lori and her husband. “No one knows of Bend,” said Lori, “and the real-estate prices are unbelievable. But they are starting to go up, and they are projected to keep going up. So, we actually purchased a retirement home in Bend, and we are currently renting it out to Rachel and a few of her friends—one of whom lived here in Cincinnati and just moved out there to be with Rachel.”

In recent months, Lori’s son was also looking for a new job—a search that eventually centered on the Washington, DC area. Since he knew what a difference JVS Career Services had made in his sister’s life, he thought the organization might be just as helpful for him. “But as fate would have it,” Lori smiled, “the day he was going to call JVS Career Services, he was offered a job. But he knew about Rachel’s experience, and how happy she was.”

At the time JVS Career Services helped Rachel secure her job, Lori made a generous donation to the organization. And, when the milestone of her daughter’s first full year of employment was reached, Lori made another donation. In thinking back over all of her positive experiences, Lori had clearly developed a thankful heart: “I am just so very grateful to JVS Career Services. I really would do anything for them; they’ve had that big of an impact on our lives. The donations were in appreciation of the work that was done, and the help that was given. I want other people to be able to have this kind of experience. It truly is a wonderful service and it can change someone’s life.”

To learn more about JVS Career Services’ career coaching, contact us, email careerservices@jvscareers.org, or call (513) 936-9675

Positive Candidate Experiences Are Good for Your Bottom Line

Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager, JVS Career Services

The talent acquisition process can be difficult for employers, but it can be downright brutal for candidates. We’ve probably all heard variations of horror stories like these:

  • A candidate shows up for a scheduled interview and the interviewers (recruiters and/or hiring managers) are late or don’t ever show up.
  • A candidate agrees to come into the company’s offices for five or six interviews, but they are scheduled across five or six different days.
  • A candidate must spend 30-45 minutes filling out overly detailed forms or inputting information into the applicant tracking database.
  • A candidate gets “ghosted” by employers and never receives any communications about their status.

Recent data suggests that employers who engage in such practices are doing themselves a grave disservice. The most apparent risk companies face is that qualified, talented candidates will accept offers from other employers, including the competition.

The good news is—the opposite can be true for positive candidate experiences.

Before going further, it is important to know that candidates outnumber new hires by a ratio that is roughly 100:1. Since it’s not uncommon for larger employers to fill 1,000 slots annually, based on this industry average this would mean that their total candidates could exceed 100,000. That is 100,000 people who will likely remember the good, the bad, and the ugly of their talent acquisition experience.

Consider these potential candidate experience outcomes:

Positive Candidate Experience Poor Candidate Experience
Loyalty: Candidates who feel their experience was positive are much more likely to purchase the products and services of that company. And, they will likely refer others to apply for future openings.

 

A prominent multinational corporation believes that rejected candidates are actually a key customer base. By treating these candidates with dignity, and by offering them coupons and discounts, the corporation was able to create a new revenue stream that reached $300 million.

 

Resentment: Candidates who feel their experience was negative are much less likely to purchase a company’s products and services. Furthermore, they could engage in a campaign of destruction, via reviews intended to damage a company or brand (i.e. like those nasty, negative reviews on Yelp).

 

This is especially true for business-to-consumer companies that compete in the retail, hospitality, and travel sectors—where viral negativity can result in millions of dollars of lost annual revenue.

Talented Candidates Refer Other Talented Candidates: A candidate’s positive experience greatly increases the opportunity for more and better referrals in the future.

 

Employers with the ability to acquire quality talent to fill open positions are well-positioned to grow their businesses and acquire even more customers.

Talented Candidates Steer Clear: A candidate’s negative experience greatly diminishes the opportunity for quality referrals in the future. Candidates will warn their friends and professional networks to avoid any employment opportunities at the company they’ve blacklisted.

 

With over one million more openings than there are candidates to fill them, there is a war for talent. Therefore, companies that cannot attract quality candidates are putting their growth plans in serious jeopardy.

 

 

Here are some ways to ensure a positive candidate experience:

  1. Simplify the candidate application process

Many employers believe that lengthy applications will somehow weed out candidates who are less committed, but this is not true. A CareerBuilder study found that 60% of job seekers get frustrated with long and complex online job applications, and simply abandon these types of applications.

Other studies indicate that for every additional line on a job application, the probability of applicants completing the form decreases by 30%.

Candidates value their time, and with so many other positions open and available to them, they tend to be attracted to companies that make the application process quick and easy.

From time-to-time, employers should try to fill out their own online application form. This gives employers a better sense of how time-consuming and difficult (or simple and easy) it is to complete.

  1. Communicate and keep on communicating:

Candidates deserve to know where they stand when they apply for a job. Employers that consistently communicate with applicants are much more likely to achieve a positive candidate experience. Here’s how to do it:

  • Acknowledge a candidate’s application. Let candidates know as soon as possible if they will or won’t be considered for a role.
  • Set clear expectations and timelines. The interviewing process can occasionally get drawn out. If you let candidates know this upfront, it will help keep them engaged.
  • Regularly call or email candidates with status updates. This accomplishes two things: First, candidates will appreciate the effort. Second, it’s a great way to find out if candidates are still interested or not. For example, they might have accepted a competing offer.
  • Don’t delay conveying bad news. Let candidates know if they are not going to receive an offer. If possible, follow the example of the multinational corporation and send coupons or discounts to help them feel good about their experience.

Today’s job market is highly competitive and companies cannot afford to lose out on quality talent due to subpar candidate experiences. Successful employers who adopt best-practices for their talent acquisition strategies will not only be able to hire the best talent, they will also grow their businesses as a result.

For more information about how JVS Career Services can help your company with its hiring process, please contact Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager, at (513) 745-2905, or plandesman@jvscareers.org.