It’s Not Too Early to Recruit Gen Z

Understanding what Gen Z is looking for as they enter the workforce

February 13, 2020

Gen Z is taking the world by storm

Graduation will be here before you know it, making this the perfect time to shore up plans to source and recruit the Class of 2020. But connecting with these new grads will require more than merely posting a job description and hoping they’ll see it. No, Gen Z is entering the workforce with their own set of goals and expectations, ready to take the world by storm.

Pew Research defines Gen Z as those born after 1996, making the oldest members 24 years old by the end of 2020. With only a few years in the workforce, much of the research on Gen Z is observational, exploring general habits and behaviors, such as their preference for YouTube over Netflix. There are also several aspirational studies, like the annual World’s Most Attractive Employers ranking, which features input from students approaching graduation.

While some question the validity of generational thinking, not fully believing that people who grew up in similar conditions will end up displaying similar characteristics, in recruiting and hiring, the cross-generational connection is particularly important. Given the role that both Gen X and Y will play in helping shape the careers of their successors, it’s critical to understand what motivates and engages this next generation. Says one expert, “Gen Z really is different. They aren’t a more extreme version of millennials, but are different.”

Generation Timeline

Of course, no two candidates are ever the same. But understanding what motivates Gen Z to join an organization, and what helps keep them engaged, opens the door to learning more about this group of future employees.

So, what are the key differences to note? To start, two factors are immediately apparent, as outlined by Korn Ferry. They explain that Gen Z is “the first generation to have never known a time without modern technology,” and also “hyper-aware of diversity.” That means that Gen Z likely knows more about the internet than even those trying to source them, and at the same time, are looking for an employer that believes “everyone is equal and deserves to be treated so.”

Regarding the point on technology, Gen Z’s innate tech skills mean they’re savvy to overt sourcing methods and channels, and as a result, are already hip to recruiting efforts. That doesn’t mean they aren’t interested, just cautiously guarded. They know what happens when they click the wrong link or divulge too much information to the wrong person. Sourcing needs to take a creative approach to Gen Z, blending automation with human interaction to build trust with these new candidates. Consider the resources they’ll be looking for and leveraging to foster awareness, engagement and collaboration. Also, look to implement top-of-funnel, recruiting automation technology to spend less time sourcing and more time focusing on candidate engagement and relaying authenticity.

When it comes to their hyper-awareness of diversity, __highlight not only diversity & inclusion but also belonging. __That means spelling out company values, policies and beliefs in job posts and on career sites to assure Gen Z candidates that the organization is aware of and actively prioritizing, belonging. Let these job seekers know that this is an inclusive team that’s committed to hiring employees from a broad range of backgrounds.

Taking these strategic steps now will likely have significant returns later, as Gen Z continues to fill talent pipelines and, ultimately, the workplace.

GenZ Graduation

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Recruiting Strategies, Workplace Trends