Recruiting Gen Z: Understanding and Engaging the Next Generation of Workers

Recruiting Gen Z: Understanding and Engaging the Next Generation of Workers

Employers have been expecting the influx of Generation Z into the workforce, and it’s happening now. Gen Z—born between 1997 and 2012—represents roughly 32% of the global population. More importantly, they will account for 27% of the global workforce by 2025. 

Employers are finding out that recruiting Gen Z differs greatly from previous generations. If the Millennials grew up with the internet, Generation Z takes things to the next level. They came of age with the onset of social media and constant information streams. This is a tech-savvy group that’s more aware of social issues. The typical member of Gen Z possesses strong ideals with different expectations for their careers.

You’re not alone if you wonder how to recruit Gen Z effectively. Understanding their wants and needs and engaging on their level is essential. Here are some ways to recruit the next generation of workers effectively.

The Characteristics and Preferences of Generation Z

Recruiting Generation Z successfully starts with understanding that this demographic is unlike any before. A common mistake recruiters and company leaders can make is assuming Gen Z is just a younger version of the Millennials. But even though Millennials watched the rise of the internet during their formative years, they’re not a particularly tech-savvy group as a whole. On the other hand, Gen Z doesn’t remember a time before global high-speed internet, smartphones, and other portable devices. However, don’t make any assumptions based on that fact.

While research shows that Gen Z is the most technologically adept generation yet and primarily uses cell phones and other electronic devices for entertainment, they prefer face-to-face communication in a professional setting. One survey found that 75% of Gen Z prefer to receive feedback on their work in person—and in real time.

Part of the reason for this is likely because Gen Z is a very entrepreneurial group. As many as 58% of those in this age group want to start their own business someday. Gen Z seems to have an innate understanding that successful companies are built on human relationships. They know technology is a tool to get there but not a replacement for human interaction.

Keep the entrepreneurial spirit in mind when dealing with Generation Z. When working for someone else, they need the support and trust of their manager. The good news is that they will reward you for trust and flexibility, with nearly one out of three in Gen Z reporting they are motivated to work harder with a supportive manager,

Adapting Recruiting Strategies to Appeal to Gen Z

With these traits in mind, you should adapt your recruiting strategies to appeal to the younger generation. Here are some easy ways to help your Gen Z recruiting:

Create a seamless digital application process

Generation Z has never known a time when information wasn’t easily accessible. Whether tracking a package, checking on their grades, or viewing their social media stats, Gen Z grew up with essential data always a click away. Remember that they will expect an electronic, streamlined application process. A manual, clunky experience will only turn them away.

Leverage technology in candidate engagement

Although Generation Z prefers in-person engagement in a business context, they’ll still expect technology to be a part of the process. All communication throughout the recruiting process should be captured in your company’s online hiring portal. This way, the Gen Z candidate can follow along with the hiring process, fill out required forms online, manage job offers, and view important dates on an online calendar.

Emphasize purpose and social responsibility

More than any generation since the Baby Boomers, social issues are very important for Generation Z. Companies that are committed to diversity and inclusion are more likely to attract interest from Gen Z. Promote your company’s diversity values in job listings and when communicating with Generation Z applicants. Keep in mind that environmental causes and social responsibility are equally important. This is because Gen Z needs to feel a purpose in their work and want that purpose to align with their values.

Welcome Generation Z into the Workplace

Even though Generation Z’s expectations may differ from older generations, it’s worth meeting their expectations. This is a dedicated, loyal, and entrepreneurial demographic that will have a positive impact on your organization. Taking the time to understand and engage with Gen Z will pay dividends for years to come. To learn more, check out our other articles on hiring and talent strategy.