In five year’s time ‘Generation Z‘ (those born between 1990-1999) will represent over 20% of our workforce and, just like millennials, are entering our employment landscape with fresh ideals and drivers. Speaking generally, this generation is likely to be: highly ambitious; passionate about cause and purpose; will seek clear career direction and development; and will thrive on regular feedback (no longer will annual appraisals cut the mustard!)
Whilst these qualities and traits aren’t dissimilar from those associated with millennials, employers are now placing increasingly more importance on ensuring their recruitment processes are designed to attract Generation Z candidates.
Following a Resourcing Think Tank with The Access Group on ‘Attracting and Assessing Generation Z Candidates’, we share our community’s top six tips for hiring from this talent pool.
1. Don’t assume that a traditional employee benefits package will appeal to Generation Z talent.
Generation Zs are highly motivated and ambitious individuals who will typically place a greater sense of importance on the following factors (over and above a traditional benefits package):
- What does career progression look like for me?
- How will I be supported, trained and developed to achieve my objectives?
- Will I get the flexibility to lead the life I want (e.g. attend the gym, support my charities, enjoy traveling)
- What home-working opportunities can you offer me?
- What does my employer do from a CSR and diversity perspective?
- Do I identify with my employer’s values and purpose?
2. Lead from the heart to ensure Generation Z candidates buy into your company’s brand, values and purpose.
As stated above, it’s important for Generation Zs to feel aligned to your brand, therefore driving this engagement is crucial from the first interaction. Here are some suggestions to help secure that all-important candidate buy-in:
- Messaging needs to be clear, consistent and to the point so candidates understand the ‘what’s in it for me?’ from the get-go.
- Provide value up front by sharing useful resources (in advance of an invitation to apply for a role) e.g. hints for securing a job, tips for making their money go further etc.
- Think about the type of developmental exercises, training and activities you could share with prospective employees to help them become even stronger candidates. Offering them a value-add and upskilling them before they (potentially) join your business is a win-win.
- Video is a great way to evidence what it feels like to work in your organisation and should focus on the people in your business who have genuine stories to tell.
3. Be mindful of Generation Z candidates’ high standards and expectations.
The intermittent and often non-committal approach that some companies adopt when feeding back to their candidates simply doesn’t wash with Generation Zs. They expect contact and to know where they stand in a recruitment process. Managing their expectations is key and ensuring your business is suitably resourced to cope with all candidate interactions is vital.
4. Utilise technology to help drive engagement and assess talent effectively.
Generation Zs are used to living their lives online and expect a similar experience when job seeking. Whilst certain recruitment technologies won’t appeal to all workforce demographics, the tools listed below are recommended for recruiting Generation Z talent. However, it’s worth noting that technology should be viewed as an enabler and should not replace human interaction. People still want to talk to people!
- Gamification – a great way of improving a candidate’s interest in your brand, enhancing their engagement and assessing whether they’re right for a role.
- Chatbots – whilst recruitment is a human-lead industry, chatbots can help replace more repetitive elements of the hiring process and provide real-time answers to candidates; enabling recruiters to use their time more effectively.
- Virtual assessment centres – a time-efficient way of obtaining more insightful information about candidates before bringing them in for face-to-face interviews. Typically this assessment method is comprised of a blend of video, instant messaging programmes and web-conferencing.
5. Make friends with specific universities.
One of the more obvious and traditional avenues for recruiting graduates is by building strategic partnerships with universities. You’ll want to be fairly targeted in your approach and nurture relationships with universities that are renowned for teaching the types of skills that you’re looking to hire. Once you know who you’re targeting, ask yourself:
- Are these universities aware of your brand?
- What projects could you collaborate with their students on?
- Are there any guest lecturing opportunities you could support with?
- When do their careers open days take place?
6. Make sure you take appropriate measures to avoid alienating other workforce demographics
A common fear of adapting your recruitment process for a new generation is the worry that you’ll end up alienating other employee groups or candidate pools. It is a valid concern and one that should be considered when making any changes to your hiring process. However, whilst it’s important to have a consistent organisational purpose; tweaking the tone, messaging and communication channels according to the role and candidate demographic is crucial. This will absolutely help ensure you attract, engage and appeal to the type of talent you’re looking to hire.