Recruiting, Talent

How to Attract Gen Z Talent to Your Organization

Here’s a fun fact: This year, the first Gen Z babies officially turned 22. That means they’re graduating college in droves while bringing their generation’s unique strengths and skills into the entry-level talent pool.

gen z

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These young adults are driven, passionate, diverse, and more technically adept than any generation the world has ever seen. Of course you want to hire them … but will they want to work for you?

If your organization makes the right moves to attract Gen Z talent, the potential upsides are endless. But where should you begin?

Reach Them Where They Are

Your first opportunity to make an impression on Gen Z candidates begins the moment they’re exposed to your brand. This first touchpoint can shape a young jobseeker’s entire perception of an organization. Make an effort to reach Gen Zs where they are—and more often than not, that’s going to be online.

In a recent student survey—conducted by the career community for college students, Handshake, 95% of respondents say they engage with employers that use personalized, proactive outreach. Connecting with Gen Z candidates online fosters a sense of connection that can play an essential role in attracting and retaining young talent to your organization.

Consider natural next steps after your initial online outreach to a Gen Z candidate, too. Young candidates will often turn to social media shortly after connecting with a new organization about a job opportunity. Your Instagram page and Twitter feed are quick, easy, and free places to communicate what your brand is all about; don’t neglect these platforms!

Showcase Your Values

Both as consumers and as employees, members of Gen Z demand transparency around corporate ethics and values. “Companies must therefore not only identify clearly the topics on which they will take positions but also ensure that everyone throughout the value chain gets on board,” reports McKinsey & Company. Establishing your organizational value system goes far deeper than a press release or feel-good billboard—it begins with the way you build your team.

As the most diverse generation to date, Gen Z expects employers to practice inclusion at every step. Your organization’s hiring practices should reflect a genuine commitment to equity. (Recruiting from the same five schools and engaging the same few on-campus organizations simply won’t cut it!)

A truly representative team can speak volumes to job searchers who desire a diverse workplace that reflects the world in which they live—and in the same vein, a homogenous team can speak volumes in a negative way.

Once you’ve invited candidates into the recruitment process, demonstrate respect through prompt communication and transparency. Seventy-eight percent of candidates believe the overall candidate experience reflects how a company values its people.

Failing to uphold high standards during the hiring process can show candidates they won’t be valued as members of the team. According to Concordia University, 40% of young workers want daily interactions with their manager, so demonstrating attentiveness during the hiring process can work in your favor when recruiting Gen Z talent.

Communicate Their Potential Impact—And Their Future

More than those of any generation before them, Gen Zs crave purpose in their work, writes Forbes. This is good for you, too; purpose-driven employees are exceptionally motivated and proactive.

It’s no surprise, then, that Handshake research has shown younger generations increasingly seek out work for organizations that have a strong sense of purpose. Overall, 78% of students on Handshake choose companies based on meaningful brand affinity. When an organization demonstrates a significant purpose, its new hires feel more impactful to the world around them.

Beyond their ability to affect the world around them, Gen Zs want to visualize their trajectory in any role. Handshake data finds that 3 in 4 Gen Zs believe they should be promoted within their first year of starting a job, and 32% believe a promotion should come in the first 6 months

Your organization can attract young candidates by creating a clear career map that caters to this desire for growth. While of course it’s not possible to promote everyone within his or her first year of work, you can help paint a picture of how these employees can get there—for example, you can share stories of tenured individuals to show early talent what it takes for newcomers to advance within your organization.

To fuel their passion for advancement and growth, any professional development opportunities you provide, such as mentorship programs or leadership coaching, will certainly complement the list of “pros” when Gen Z candidates evaluate your offer.

The perfect mix of effort, communication, respect, and purpose can be exactly what your organization needs to attract a healthy pool of Gen Z applicants. You’re sure to see a return on your efforts many times over: These tech-savvy fresh grads are eager to mirror your enthusiasm, help upskill your team with in-demand digital skills, and make a big impact—both at your workplace and in the world—if you give them the opportunity.

kristen riberoKristen Ribero is the Director of Enterprise Marketing at Handshake, a career community for college students in America. As an advocate of technology for social change, she loves articulating Handshake’s impact on democratizing opportunity and helping employers build their best, most diverse teams. Before joining Handshake, Ribero held marketing leadership positions at SocialChorus, PagerDuty, ProQuest, and ebrary.