Is our ability to communicate effectively being diminished by technology? I read this really interesting article on Forbes recently about how intergenerational communication failures are creating havoc in the hiring process. The author, Jack Kelly, talks about how there is an inherent difference between how job seekers and representatives at companies (hiring managers, recruiters, etc.) desire to interact with each other.

Essentially, he describes a situation in which 30-something-and-older job seekers have an expectation that their resumes will receive a response, their communication will be via phone, and that “their expectations are managed with respect to the number of people that they’ll be required to meet with, the time frame involved and a rough idea of the compensation.”

But, they’re meeting with 20-something hiring staff who are accustomed to communicating via email, text and LinkedIn messages. He goes on to say, “they’re uncomfortable and awkward carrying on a conversation, so job seekers feel that the human resource staffers hide behind technology.”


The idea that generational communication preferences are different is not new — in fact, I feel like it’s pretty much a given that people from different generations would have different expectations when it comes to communication. So, how can we be conscious of these differences — especially in a digital-first world where shooting off an email can seem easier than picking up the phone?

I think it all goes back to remembering the human element.

Particularly in hiring and recruiting, we should remember that we’re setting the tone for the culture of the company. No matter the generational gap or communication preferences, a “thank you for your resume” email or a quick phone call to schedule a follow-up interview — remembering that the person on the other side of the resume is, in fact, a human — will help set the groundwork for a company culture that remembers the human side of things.

I think it also means setting communication preferences upfront.

There’s nothing wrong with asking a candidate how they prefer to communicate. And, there’s certainly nothing wrong with letting a candidate know how the process will progress and what they can expect.

When you set expectations from the beginning, people appreciate it. It gives them the assurance that they’re not being left in the dark — again, remember that company culture.

And … it also means stepping outside the box.

There are so many tech tools to aid in the hiring process. In fact, we’ve talked about how AI is being used to pre-screen applicants at some of the biggest companies in the world. But, when we think outside the box to blend the capabilities of today’s technology with the human element — we all win.

The hiring manager gets a better sense for the applicant. The applicant gets a better sense of the company and expectations. The company is building a people-first culture. It’s a win-win all around.

What is your latest hiring experience? Did you notice a communications gap? Did you feel like the process lacked a human touch? I’d love to continue this conversation over on my LinkedIn page.