Generation Z at Work: How to Recruit Post-Millennials

September 17, 2018
Kristjan Kristjansson

“Recruiters are under tremendous pressure,” says Bob Melk, Chief Commercial Officer at Monster. Sixty-two percent of recruiters say their job is more difficult today than it was a year ago—and this is an ongoing trend. Many use a multi-solution approach to attract top talent but, in this robust economy, the competition is high.

The twenty-something Gen Zers are on the verge of flooding the workforce. In just two years, they will represent 20 percent of the employees and 40 percent of all consumers.

How can recruiters attract the hyper-connected digital natives who have the attention span of 8 seconds?

Key differences recruiters should know

“Generation Z has arrived—and they’re very different from Millennials,” states Denise Villa, CEO of The Center for Generational Kinetics.

Gen Zers have an unparalleled perspective on technology because they grew up with high-speed Internet in their pockets. Understanding Generation Z is a way for companies to stay fresh and relevant both now and in the future.

“This new generation is not only the best preview of future generations but also reveals the behaviors older generations will eventually adopt when it comes to technology,” explains Jason Dorsey, the CSO at The Center for Generational Kinetics.

I asked Ryan Jenkins, a keynote speaker, an expert on generations, and the author of The Millennial Manual, about the key differences between Generation Z and Millennials. Jenkins believes the younger cohort is more realistic, independent, and privacy-conscious. Gen Zers prefer face-to-face communication to digital-only; on-demand learning to formal education; and role-hopping to job-hopping.

As digital natives, Generation Z sees no need to separate online and offline lives. The two worlds blend seamlessly. Ninety-one percent define their interest in working at a company based on technological sophistication. Jenkins considers them Global Citizens as they have “more in common with their global peers than with adults in their own country.”

What Gen Z wants

Generation Z saw the aftermath of the Great Recession firsthand. They witnessed their parents struggle financially. As a result, Gen Zers are extremely pragmatic. They expect that they will need to work harder than earlier generations to secure a successful career.

Even though they believe pursuing one’s passion is important, when it comes to remuneration, Gen Zers value traditional services associated with the Baby Boomers. In fact, 70 percent say their top working motivator is money. The first job requirement, on the other hand, is health insurance. Entrepreneurship is also a major priority, with a third of Gen Zers seeing themselves as the architects of their own careers.

According to Jenkins, three aspects play big roles in recruiting Gen Z:

1. Robust training

Monster reports that half of Gen Z want to have opportunities for professional development right on their first job. A third of Gen Zers want to have multiple roles within one place of employment. If they do not see growth potential, they move on.

Susan Lund, a leader of the McKinsey Global Institute, agrees. “The idea that you get an education when you’re young and then you stop and you go and work for 40 or 50 years with that educational training and that’s it—that’s over,” she says.

According to Jenkins, “cutting-edge companies like AT&T, GE, Visa, Qualcomm, and IBM are already investing in microlearning platforms (like 21Mill.com).” This helps them attract and retain Generation Z employees by offering opportunities that will boost their job prospects.

2. Diversity and inclusion

Generation Z is the most ethnically diverse generation in history. The majority supports equality and multiculturalism, and expect workplaces to reflect these values.

“They’re so diverse, they do not see diversity unless it’s absent,” says Dorsey. It is no wonder that 77 percent of Generation Z believe that a company’s level of diversity affects their decision to work there

3. Reviews on Glassdoor

The boom of influencer marketing taught us that authentic reviews and online ratings are extremely important to the youth. More than 11 million Millennial users visit Glassdoor monthly. Moreover, seventy percent of candidates look to reviews before making a decision about their career and read at least seven before forming an opinion. With the increasing demand for user-generated content, companies cannot afford to ignore social-proof marketing.

How to recruit Gen Z

Job applicant experience can seal or break the deal when recruiting a Gen Z employee.

“Generation Z is much less likely to do business with a company where they have had a poor experience as a job applicant than previous generations,” explains Jenkins.

“Recruiters must be equipped with the necessary tools to meet Generation Z where they are and deliver a candidate experience that is effortless, timely, and relevant. A new generation requires new recruiting tactics and tools.”

A stunning 64 percent of recruiters believe they do not have the right digital tools to make their job easier. By using methods and tools built for Conversational Recruiting they are more likely to boost their recruiting strategy with artificial intelligence, analytics, and overall better hiring process. They also make the interviewee’s experience more engaging and fun.

Gen Z inherently understands the importance of networking and referrals. They constantly form digital connections through apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter, spending 74 percent of their free time online. Over half of Gen Zers believe this is how they will find their first job. It is a good idea to recruit where your target candidates spend most of their time.

Recruiting Generation Z is a brave new world of digital opportunity. Tailoring the job offer and hiring process to your candidates can help your company attract employees that, although younger, are more entrepreneurial, practical, and mature than their predecessors.