As the school year comes to a close, 4.43 million college students will graduate and set their sights on starting their careers. Entering the working world is exciting, but it also comes with a new set of challenges, including navigating job boards, prepping for interviews, and evaluating if an employer and a job align with their personal values.
Employers vying for early-career talent face challenges, as well. Across industries, HR professionals are looking for the best ways to attract, engage, hire, and advance Gen Z talent, especially in this competitive labor market.
iCIMS recently conducted a survey to better understand what Gen Z candidates are looking for in an employer and how HR professionals can craft a message uniquely suited to these potential new hires. The “Class of 2021 Report” revealed the unique position of entry-level jobseekers and how technology is having an accelerated role in the recruitment process.
If you’re looking to hire a recent graduate, here are a few things to consider:
1. You’re not the only one.
Following 15 months of sluggish economic activity, the job market is picking up steam, and it’s doing so quickly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows job openings are at an all-time high of 9.3 million. Finding enough workers to fill these jobs is a challenge. According to the June iCIMS Insights report, job application activity is down 10% since the start of the year. To help close this gap, HR professionals are considering hiring more recent graduates. In fact, our “Class of 2021” study found that 60% of HR professionals are opening new positions to entry-level hires this year.
This is supply and demand in action, and we are seeing firsthand that the right applicants are incredibly valuable. Attracting them to your business requires a coordinated effort. It is important to ensure job postings are optimized for Gen Z. Keep in mind, the “Class of 2021” study revealed their preferred job search platforms—LinkedIn, Indeed, and Google—and the value that this cohort of candidates places on authenticity and transparency in the job search process. Leverage video-led experiences, such as employee testimonials, on career sites to keep jobseekers engaged, and ensure job descriptions highlight organizational culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. When 72% of college seniors either strongly expect or require employers to be committed to DEI in hiring practices, including this in your messaging is a powerful way to stand out among competing employers.
2. Fewer than expected want full-time remote work.
As organizations large and small work to figure out the return to the office, hybrid workplaces, and remote work plans, it may be helpful to note Gen Z’s preferences. This year’s college graduates entering the workforce are not interested in a long-term, full-scale, virtual working environment. Our research revealed that only 2% of college seniors want to work remotely full time. For many, social interaction and relationship-building are key elements to building a career foundation, whether it be among peer groups, potential mentors, or even executives.
Creating a flexible workplace is a critical balancing act for HR professionals, as they need to consider the needs and preferences of all employees. The most successful organizations will likely be those that can seamlessly craft a hybrid environment that puts the power in the hands of employees themselves rather than mandating where employees need to be
3. Digital tools remain part of the recruitment toolkit.
Many organizations relied on digital tools to maintain stability over the last year. In recruiting, for example, video technology enabled HR professionals to keep talent pipelines moving no matter where hiring teams or candidates were based. It has proven so effective that 97% of HR professionals plan to continue using video tools as part of the hiring process for the foreseeable future, our “Class of 2021” report found.
To fully modernize the recruitment process for a generation native to digital solutions, HR professionals need to consider different ways of standing out and simplifying the experience. Text messaging is quickly emerging as one such method. College seniors indicate their comfort with using text to schedule interviews, receive status updates from prospective employers, and even accept a job offer. Through continuous exploration and channel experimentation, HR professionals can demonstrate their commitment to meeting Gen Zs where they are.
Attracting the Next Generation of Talent
Between the growing need for talent and a rapidly shifting digital landscape, Gen Z is poised to tremendously influence the future of hiring. By listening to this generation of jobseekers’ needs and acting on their expectations, HR professionals can build a healthy, consistent talent pipeline that helps shape the next generation of organizational leaders.