Conducting effective interviews is essential to building the best team for your business. Failing to account for generational differences can lead to miscommunication and missed opportunities, whether that be a poor hire or the one that got away. Here are some factors and tips to keep in mind when interviewing Gen X and Millennial candidates.

Stage in Life

Gen X: This generation already has significant work experience under its belt. Gen Xers may be providing for families while they keep retirement within eyesight. These candidates are thinking about job security, retirement plans, and healthcare.

Make sure to communicate the full benefits package your company has to offer. Candidates will appreciate pragmatic questions and an understanding of professional reviews and salary increases.

Millennials: A Millennial candidate is not likely to stay at your company for their whole career. They are focused on career development and getting ahead now so they can be set up for leadership positions as soon as possible.

With the candidate’s typical trajectory of bouncing from one company to another, think about how this could help your company stay relevant and current. Ask what they liked about initiatives they’ve worked on or observed and that they would like to carry to their next job.



Gen X: They are often more autonomous and focused on their job responsibilities. Proponents of the work/life balance, Gen Xers want to get the job done and go home to their families.

Ask them what they need from their manager or the company to effectively accomplish their tasks. Explain how the company is working towards a better work/life balance for all.

Millennials: They care about innovation, community, and inclusivity. Millennials want to hear your passion and how the company’s work ties to the bigger picture.

Talk about the company’s mission and values, and the work you are doing to bring this to life. Paint a picture of the career path of someone who has had this or a similar role.



Gen X: These candidates tend to be more oriented towards results and metrics. Their experience, loyalty, and pragmatic attitude make them a great fit for leadership roles or responsibilities.

Millennials: They want to grow (and quickly!) and they want to make a difference. Channel this enthusiasm and drive by asking how they might tackle some company or industry challenges.


Generational differences can be a source of frustration. But if you know how to leverage candidates’ strengths, values, and stages in life to your company’s advantage, you can get the most of interviews with both Gen Xers and Millennials.