Recruiting Gen Z Talent Is a Lot Harder Than You Think

They’re young, they’re hip, and they’re entering your workforce. That’s right, we’re talking about Generation Z! And unlike its Millennial counterpart, this generation is utterly destroying the way you recruit. Are you prepared to hire this generation? If not, we’ve got some insights for you!

gen z

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According to BridgeWorks, Gen Z accounted for 61 million people in the United States in 2016, which is larger than Generation X and is two-thirds the size of the Baby Boomer generation. With Millennials and Gen Z dominating the workplace, the old ways of recruiting are out, and new strategies are emerging to take their place.

New research from Berke—a prehire assessment platform—reveals which strategies talent acquisition (TA) professionals are currently using to successfully attract and hire this largely populated generation. These strategies were developed using insights from a recent survey it conducted of over 1,000 HR, TA, and recruiting professionals.

Some key findings from the research include:

  • Roughly 80% of respondents agree or somewhat agree that Gen Z “responds positively when connected directly via personal communication.”
  • Almost 70% agree or somewhat agree that Gen Z talent shares employee expectations and asks how the company will meet those expectations in the hiring process.
  • And, a little over 71% say it’s important to focus on perks and benefits when recruiting Gen Z talent.

Using these three takeaways, Berke was able to offer a few strategies to use when recruiting this generation into your workforce, which are outlined below.

Face-to-Face Communication Is in—Digital Communication Is out

Although you may see Gen Zs with their faces buried in their mobile devices, when it comes to job interviews and the general hiring process, Berke found that Gen Z would much rather communicate with TA pros via face-to-face, interpersonal communication rather than in text messaging or e-mail form.

The research found that “‘meeting in person earlier in the process’ was the second most popular change our respondents made to their recruitment processes.” TA pros say that this strategy has been extremely successful when recruiting Gen Z talent, and the results have positively impacted the Gen Z candidate experience.

According to 70% of respondents, meeting face-to-face is one way TA pros are shaping new strategies to accommodate Gen Z talent. In fact, roughly 45% of Berke survey respondents said these face-to-face meetings have had the most positive responses from Gen Z candidates.

Because it’s apparent that this generation relishes personal communication, Berke suggests that TA pros “immediately offer the opportunity to meet in-person whenever possible.”

Gen Zs Know What They Want and Are Motivated to Get It

Berke cited a recent Pew Research Center social trends report, which shows that in 2018, only 19% of 15- to 17-year-olds worked during the previous year. The Pew research explained that this is compared with 30% of Millennials in the same age range in 2002. The moral of the story: Gen Zs don’t appear to have much job experience under their belts, which means they must require more guidance during the hiring process, right?

According to Berke, this is, in fact, false. Berke’s survey found that Gen Z talent already knows exactly what they want and are motivated to get it. “These ambitious candidates already have plans in place,” finds the research. “They just want to know how a company will help them reach those goals.”

During the interview process, one way to put Gen Z’s future concerns at ease is to be open and honest about career trajectories with your company. And TA pros are beginning to understand this, as roughly 81% of respondents say they know “it’s important or very important to focus on career development opportunities” when recruiting Gen Z talent.

Berke offers this advice: “Connect Gen Z candidates to both short-term and long-term development opportunities that are right for them. Detail the skills and traits they possess that make them the right fit for those opportunities. This increases their confidence that they are prepared to succeed in the role now and in the future.”

When Gen Zs know you’re invested in their future, they’ll become more invested in your company as a result.

Yes, They Want a Bigger Salary, but …

Over the summer, Clever Real Estate released data showing how much college graduates anticipate making as a starting salary … and the news was pretty much a shock to everyone. Right out of college, Gen Z talent expects to make about $10,000 more than the national average starting salary.

This sounds like unreasonable expectations, but the surprising reality is that Gen Z wants more than just a higher salary. “Gen Zers do have high salary expectations,” finds the Berke research. “However, our talent acquisition respondents shared money isn’t all these candidates are focused on.”

According to roughly 71% of Berke survey respondents, it is important to focus on the perks and benefits you are offering candidates during the recruiting process, but what’s even more important is following through with those perks once candidates are hired and onboarded. “[Respondents] ranked perks and benefits as the No. 1 (55.6 percent) change to the workplace that would improve Gen Z employees’ overall satisfaction.”

But before you go around implementing beer carts and free smoothies, make sure you know what perks this generation is after because they might surprise you! Berke found that almost half (44.3%) of respondents say that Gen Z is after the latest tools and technology, not trendy perks. These respondents also said that having access to the latest tools and tech would improve their overall job satisfaction as a result.

Because Gen Zs are looking for tools that will help them advance in their careers with your company, you should be investing in such items to attract this age group, suggests Berke, saying:

“Highlight the latest tools and technology your team is using to help them accomplish their daily tasks and long term goals. This creates a correlation between the company’s offerings and employees’ achievements.”

With Gen Z being new to the workforce, what better time to start revamping your recruiting practices like the present? Just keep in mind that like with Millennials, as the generation continues to grow and mature, its members’ wants and needs will be changing with them. So, be sure to keep a pulse on what your Gen Z workers want in order to retain them in the future.

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