Recruiting Gen Z: What You Need to Know

By Caroline Roberson on June 9, 2022

Move aside Millennials. Gen Z has officially entered the workplace. If you haven’t started adapting your recruiting strategy to meet the needs of this new generation, now is the time!

Don’t be fooled into thinking Gen Z is just a younger version of Millennials. This generation was born between 1995 and 2015, and they grew up in a different economic, social and technological environment than previous generations. Those life experiences have dramatically shaped their perception of the workplace.

Gen Z are also a larger and more diverse generation than any prior. Nearly half define themselves as non-Caucasian, and they outnumber Millennials by more than a million. By 2020 Gen Z will make up 20 percent of the workforce and will soon after eclipse their Millennial and Gen X colleagues.

Here is what Gen Z expects from their future employers, and how you can adapt to stand out from the crowd.

How they differ

  1. Gen Z are true digital natives. This generation has never touched a CD and got their first smartphones in middle school. Their technology-rich upbringing and constant access to various devices made them multi-tasking masters while still in their pre-teens. They have no problem writing, listening, and speaking simultaneously, and they will expect their future employers to be as savvy as they are.

    Lesson for recruiters: Use technology authentically throughout the recruiting strategy. From virtual job fairs and YouTube career channels to online pre-employment assessment tests and skype interviews, companies that prove they are willing to harness technology for ease-of-use and convenience in recruiting will win their favor.

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  1. They care about money and job security. Gen Z came of age during the Great Recession, which means many of them saw their parents lose their jobs, homes, and college saving accounts. This affected the way they think about income and employment risk as well as the value of money and hard work. According to a recent report from Monster, 70 percent of Gen Zs rank salary as a top motivator for taking a job – higher than any other generation surveyed. They are also more willing to work nights and weekend for higher pay (58 percent) and to move for a job opportunity (74 percent) than any other generation.

    Lesson for recruiters: The best talent won’t all come from Ivy League schools. This generation recognizes that they can get a good education online or at a community college, so recruiters need to keep this in mind when reviewing candidate resumes. Hiring based on college pedigree is not enough. Use pre-employment testing and pre-hire assignments to better measure future success.
  2. They are socially conscious and ethnically diverse. This generation cares more about the environment and social justice than prior generations, and they expect their employers to do the same. Fully 80 percent of Gen Zs surveyed by Deloitte say that business success should be measured by more than financial performance, and 74 percent surveyed by Monster believe work should have a ‘greater purpose.’

    Lesson for recruiters: Integrate information about the company’s social responsibility activities into job ads, career videos, and social media posts. The more specific you can be about the projects you support, and how employees are involved in these efforts, the more appealing it will be to Gen Z candidates.
  3. They are self-paced learners: This generation grew up online, which means if they have a question they will find the answer themselves, often in a matter of minutes. That includes finding out what a future employer is all about.

    Lesson for recruiters: Before reaching out to any company, Gen Z candidates will thoroughly explore their Glassdoor reviews, talk to peers who worked there in the past, and surf career and social media sites to get a sense of what the company stands for. This means you need to stay abreast of your company’s online footprint and look for authentic ways to make a good impression on these future hires.

The first cohort of Gen Z is already in the workplace, and every year thousands more will follow. Adapting your recruiting strategies today will ensure you are in the best position to attract these talented, tech-savvy employees and keep them engaged from day one.

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