Are you ready to hire Gen Z?

Harry Simpson

Hiring Gen Z

When I first started working in recruitment, we received our applicants via fax machine.

There you go – I’ve said it and I’m not ashamed.

To say we’ve moved on since ‘those days’ would be an understatement – not only us as a people, but the way we communicate, do business and recruit. And, as 2019 draws to an end, we’re readying ourselves for an exciting but somewhat intimidating influx to the job-seeking marketplace:

Generation Z.

Let’s go through the basics here:

Gen Y aka ‘Millennials’: grew up with technology, developing as they did; wasn’t attached to a mobile phone until the age of perhaps 12 or 13; raised by hands-on ‘Boomers’; born (roughly) between 1981 and 1996.

Gen Z aka ‘Digital Natives’: unthinkably connected to technology and social media (think Instagram and Snapchat); grew up with iPad in hand; largely considered to be the most educated generation yet; born between the years of 1996 and 2010, or thereabouts.

As with anything, knowing your target is crucial to success.

The need-to-knows for recruiting Gen Z.

They’re known as ‘digital natives’ for a reason; this contingent of the population is particularly linked to technology, but not as you may know it.

Studies show that, unlike Gen Y before them, Gen Z don’t take as much notice of LinkedIn and Facebook – if any at all. These guys are all about the apps, so connecting with them on ‘their level’ is key; according to some, even emails are outdated. It’s also important remember that this generation has essentially lived their whole lives with a mobile phone – quick and constant communication is vital to gaining and moreover keeping their attention.

As a business, you need to ensure that tech is at the forefront of your hiring strategy – whether that be utilizing instant messaging services for prompt responses, implementing AI/’chat bots’ to garner that initial contact or simply ensuring your business demonstrates cutting-edge tech tools and resources for their employees.

We also know that Gen Z are very visual; that bland, black-and-white, text-only advert on a job board (which, apparently, they won’t be using anyway) won’t cut it with these guys. Use videos to market your business and give them true insight into who they’d be working for; curate exciting, eye-catching marketing materials to showcase the kind of business they’ll be joining. Compared to the purported 12-second attention span of Millennials, the ‘iGeneration’ top out at just 8 seconds – so you’ll need to be quick, and persistent.

And what do they value above all else?

Unlike Millennials, who were brought up by us Baby Boomers seemingly reveling in our economic fortune (hmm), Gen Z have lived through some of the toughest recessions to date – so, it’s no wonder that every study we could find shows that above all they’re after job security and stability.

Generation Z may have experienced their parents, loved ones, close friends or otherwise losing their jobs and the subsequent struggles which came from it; at the very least, those entering the job market now have learned about it throughout their extensive education. It follows that they want to join businesses who offer them real security – unlike Gen Y who, as we very well know, are more likely to throw caution to the wind, set up for themselves and go about ‘disrupting’ their chosen market.

Gen Z seem to value authenticity and integrity most of all; it’s no secret that in procuring new clients we all rely more and more on word of mouth, referrals and business won on the back of great reviews. When it comes to shopping (which, interestingly, they don’t do a lot of online) this up and coming generation put more stock in reviews, testimonials and genuine feedback from real people (read: ‘influencers’) than they do price or value for money.

It makes sense that the same would be said about who they want to work for.

Utilising platforms like Glassdoor to build your company’s brand and voice from the outside-in will give Gen Z some real food for thought when it comes to choosing to work for you. Allow your employees to create their own personal brand too – within your business, let people ‘be themselves’ and project that to any potential hires, whether online via social media or throughout the interview process. Let Gen Z see ‘the real you’, and you might just secure their engagement and efforts long term.

To recap:

  • Engage on their level – using instant messaging rather than email, apps rather than websites.

  • Campaign visual – use videos and images over text to grab their attention.

  • Keep it snappy – you’ve got 8 seconds to make your point.

  • Keep it real – don’t try to hire a Digital Native on a false promise. Generation Z are all about honesty, integrity and authenticity.

How do you feel about the incoming flood of fresh faces we’re going to be interviewing over the coming years? Has your business adapted its processes to include this ambitious generation and, if so, how?