Tips for Hiring Older Workers

If you’re reading this article, you’re already contemplating one of the brightest and most innovative strategies for small business growth and goal attainment — searching for, engaging and hiring older workers.

Employment candidates in the second half of their life possess a skill set far different than their younger counterparts. Studies report older workers excel in areas vital to organizational success, such as interpersonal skills, flexibility and commitment.

Read on for five tips on how to hire older workers, and why doing so will help your business.

1.      Prepare to Ride the Wave

Baby boomers — often nicknamed the “Silver Tsunami” — are making a torrential impact on society. As roughly 76,000,000 reach the age of 60 and above, a rising employment trend is that of working well past traditional retirement or starting a second career.

Prepare to harness the talent and energy of an older working pool by checking your bias at the door. Along with the surge of employed baby boomers comes a sobering reality that ageism often surpasses race or gender bias in the workplace.

Keep in mind the vast experience and knowledge base most older workers bring to the table, and be sure to inquire about personal motivations — many may surprise you!

  1. Consider the Benefits of an Encore Career Worker

A significant percentage of older workers seek involvement in an “encore career”  — one that emphasizes a sense of purpose and exploration of new interests in addition to a steady paycheck. Encore careers are the perfect way for seniors to show off their passion and energy in a field or cause they hold near and dear.

Imagine how “making a difference” as a primary motivating factor may positively affect the caliber of the employees in your business.


  1. Know What to De-Emphasize

In general, older workers are not looking for:

  • Promotions
  • Pay increases
  • Upward organizational mobility

Instead, you’re likely to discover candidates who genuinely want to be useful, helpful and display consistent grace under pressure. Older workers have a “been there, done that” perspective that makes them stellar communicators and interpersonal empathizers.

A common concern among employers seeking older workers is health care. Remember that many baby boomers already have Medicare in place, and several are Veterans with complete coverage.

  1. Focus on Flexibility

Another significant benefit of hiring older workers is the flexibility. If you’re seeking employees who can cover irregular shifts or sporadic responsibilities, look no farther. Often, older workers aren’t interested in traditional 9-to-5 hours. Their family obligations as heads of household are no longer of primary relevance, but a satisfying work-life balance is.

  1. Commit to Work Ethic

Baby boomers were raised in an era that took great stock in commitments. Most have gotten where they are today by exhibiting a strong work ethic and honoring responsibility. An accurate view of employment in the second half of life focuses on dedication.

At no stage of life has a job meant more to a candidate’s sense of self and personal gratification.

Strength in Diversity

Recruiting older workers for your small business adds meaningful diversity to the organization’s pool of talent. After all, who can resist a seasoned employee with an honest passion for your shared goals? Use these five tips, and you’ll be adding smart individuals to your team in no time.

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