Recruiting Gen Z Into the Workforce

Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2009, comprise the largest population group on the planet — and its eldest members are just now hitting the workforce. Despite this rapid integration of young professionals, there is little preparedness in how to best attract and retain new Gen Z talent. Addison Group’s Workplace Survey found that while 89% of employees are generally aware of Gen Z, only 25% of employees have discussed Gen Z strengths with their employer.

Gen Z will quickly become a beaming source of talent and energy for major companies, and the recruitment preparedness gap is alarming. For example, to liken Gen Z with the preceding Millennials generation would be a mistake. Gen Zers grew amid a fast-paced digital environment, insulated by every problem solved with a click. Therefore, recruiters need to engage Gen Z using tools from the Gen Z comfort zone. This group knows the difference between a Facebook “like” and genuine interest. It is going to take a uniquely personalized approach for recruiters to successfully engage them. An innovative way to attract the mind of Gen Z is through job titles and roles. Gen Zers thrive in a “create your own” culture. Thus, it is critical to ebb with the evolving job market flow and create roles Gen Z will gravitate toward.

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Like all generations before them, Z faces a set of unique challenges in their careers. Similar to Millennials, Gen Zers will combat old-school mentalities, and a sizable divide with career advice, mentor-mentee relationships, and establishing team cohesion. The pace of technology has reshaped every aspect of society and professionalism, changing how individuals should approach career building, and what it means to be successful. Jobs themselves have become transactional, with position hopping and independent contracting more normalized. However, this modernization of the market and the new group entering it make recruiters invaluable in advising employers, and positioning Gen Z candidates to get what they want.

To that end, here are a few things for recruiters to keep in mind when engaging with Gen Z.

  • Avoid information overload. Growing in the wake of the internet, Gen Z understands online life and its black hole of information. Expect Gen Z to rely more on referral-based job sourcing than applying online through traditional career websites. Recruiters will need to find new ways beyond job boards to get in front of Gen Z, and it’s highly likely that it will be different for each candidate.
  • Ditch cold calls. Cold calling isn’t likely to elicit much response, as Gen Z probably won’t answer a call from a number they don’t recognize. Communication via text or LinkedIn may become more commonplace; however, you’ll need to keep the conversation moving. A quick response time is necessary to avoid things dropping off.
  • What matters. Titles, work perks, and a clear path to promotion will appeal to Gen Z. This generation is used to seeing what their peers are doing on social media, and as a result, tend to be more competitive. They want travel opportunities, the cool co-working space, and nights out that will keep their content pipeline interesting. Knowing their distinct desires is imperative for recruiters to secure a Gen Z candidate’s attention.

While Gen Z has its own characteristics based on their digital upbringing, it’s the recruiter’s job to identify and prepare for a new challenge. Gen Z represents a group of people entirely immersed in immediacy, whereas recruiting has only begun to tap into new technology and capabilities that. It will take some time to find out what works with these younger candidates; just don’t be surprised when the traditional channels seem less effective. Recruiters need to be as fluid and innovative as today’s market and those we are welcoming into it.

MORE: Thrive in a candidate-driven market

Josh Fisher

Josh Fisher
Senior Vice President, Finance & Accounting Contract Services at HireStrategy.

Josh Fisher
Senior Vice President, Finance & Accounting Contract Services at HireStrategy.

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