Thoughts from the Kennedy 2008 recruiting conference

Just returned from the conference and will share some of my initial thoughts. This conference was attended by 1500 recruiters and HR personnel.  The sessions, in general, were good.  I heard lots of discussion on how companies should manage and measure their hiring practices.  All the good things that we have heard discussed for years – how to best create communication and collaboration between the recruiting staff and the hiring managers.

The topic near and dear to me, retention and hiring of the older workforce, is what I wanted to hear about!  I had hoped to hear from some of the corporate recruiters that they recognized the current value and future need for the over 50 crowd.   Again, I heard lots of talk about the changing demographics of the work force (aging) but the staffing solutions centered on how to best recruit and retain a younger workforce.

Lots of statistics and graphs were presented but one caught my interest.   Stephen Lowisz, CEO of Qualigence,  ( was the keynote speaker.     

According to Stephen’s presentation, the better value candidate is a passive job seeker, not currently looking for a job. The data was primarly addressing the younger job seeker or someone new to the workforce. The active job seeker was likely to stay on the job for 13 months while the passive job seeker was good for 5 years.  Pretty astounding from my way of thinking.

I spoke to Stephen afterwards and queried him about the over 50 recruit.  His opinion is that there is no real difference between the active and passive. Their term of employment for most over 50 was typically greater than 5 years. YEA! 

So here is the question that we will ask over and over in this blog:   How can we get the message to employers that the over 50 workforce can enhance a company’s value in so many ways?  Where are the enlightened employers?  Do you know one?  Tell us about them.

Keep in mind that employers are obligated to hire the best employ for their positions regardless of age.  I wouldn’t want it otherwise.   But take note, five years vs. 13 months!



  1. Susan Joyce

    I think that employers are slowly waking up to the fact that the over 50 job seeker is a bargain, at any price, particularly in comparison with the “millenials” everyone seems to be having trouble with.

    The interesting thing to me is that that fact about the over 50 job seeker wasn’t shared,. How do we get that news out?

    Great blog!

  2. Beverly Ventus

    I reside in Florida and the question I have if someone out there has an answer is, how do you become employed again when you’ve been out of the workforce for approximately 5 years and your previous employers on your resume are no longer in business and I believe the main problem is that I am nearing 62 years of age.

    For one there are very few of my references from past employers that can be contacted because I have this innate ability to stay with a company until they go down the tubes and for five of those jobs they no longer exist.

    When I stopped working in in 2004, it was due to my dad becoming ill and needing around the clock care. Since he passed in 2004 I decided to start up my own business as a Wedding Planner which went well until the recession and things just seem to come to a halt.

    Question is, what can I do about the references I so desparately need on my resume for future employers? I have been searching for work since Oct 2008 and I know part of the problem is my age while the other part are the references. I know my age is probably the majority of the problem, because as one of the other bloggers said, employers are dashing for the younger set.

    Can anyone help????

    Beverly Ventus

  3. Nancy J. Peterson

    Would any of your recent clients from wedding planning act as references? Perhaps they could attest to your professionalism, project management abilities, creativity, and ability to work within a budget, among other important attributes? And they would be more recent references.

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