Gen Z Hiring Tips – How to Attract Great Employees

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If you are a business looking to get with the times, you need to start looking into hiring Gen Z employees. No longer are the days of pushing the social media monsters off as ‘kiddos’ and ‘rapscallions’ (what does that word even mean). Gen Z is here, quickly becoming the priority demographic in the staffing industry.

According to the World Economic Forum, the generation makes up 30% of the world’s population. Therefore, they are expected to make up 27 percent of the world workforce by 2025. So, hiring Gen Z employees is going to become commonplace within your company, if it isn’t already. Within a few years, you are likely to have at least a few on your team. So, don’t fall behind the times as a crotchety old company. Get into hiring Gen Z employees before the wave crashes over.

Consequently, hiring Gen Z workers doesn’t fall into the same exact process as recruiting in years past. Their loyalties lie in different agendas and ethics and their tools range from in-person to social media frenzies. How do you go about recruiting the new generation of professionals?

What Is Generation Z?

Generations can be difficult to pinpoint. Sometimes it depends entirely upon the source. At the end of the day, the point of creating a generation title is to help lump a group of people into an age range. If nurture extends beyond nature, all of the people in the age range should have similarities based on the world they grew up in.

Technically, Gen Z is anyone born from 1997 to 2012 (though we’ve also heard 1996 to 2010). At the moment, that means they are between the ages of 10 and 25 (26-ish).

Gen Z and Millenials… What’s the Difference?

We often hear Millenials and Gen Z used interchangeably. This is entirely wrong. Millennials are not the young kids being criticized by curmudgeons. In fact, Millennials are all adults. Millennial is a term for Generation Y, which falls roughly between 1981 and 1996. Therefore, even the youngest of the Millenials is turning 27 this year. They aren’t the TikToking youngsters many think they are.

With the exponential growth in both overarching technology and the internet’s usage, Millenials and Gen Z have a drastic difference in values and working habits. While not psychiatrists, it’s easy to note the catalyst for the differences. Millennials grew up with Boomer parents, optimistic about the future of the world and the economic stabilization of the past. Gen Z grew up during a significant economic recession and has seen inflation crush the housing market, college degrees become nothing more than paper, and the need for environmental mindfulness become a necessity.

Gen Zers find themselves in a strange gray area. They are pessimistic due to the world we created for them, but they are optimistic that social change is going to continue, creating an inclusive and congealed world. They are hesitant about sharing information online but prefer to work with technology and avoid the cell of office space.

All in all, they want a better world for both themselves and the generations around them. This greatly applies to their job search, too.

Don’t Forget the Great Resignation

When looking throughout the entire process of hiring younger employees, you have to remember the world we have built. The future-morphing pandemic forced the generation to look inward. They saw their parents fret over finances during the recession and then saw the world fret over lives during the pandemic.

To say the generation puts the quality of life over work is an understatement.

The Great Resignation saw workers of all generations putting their well-being first, changing the way recruiting is done. Some workers have been pushed into extreme frugality. Some changed industries completely to improve happiness. Simply put, bringing in great workers is not the same process as it was before COVID-19.

Where to Look for Gen Z Employees?

As we all know, the younger generation is tied to the internet like two shoestrings. They grew up with it being a mainstay, after all. There has never been a moment where the entirety of the world’s information is not at their fingertips (or at least on a computer in the other room).

Therefore, reaching the generation with job opportunities is a bit different than years past. So, where does one look for Gen Z employees? What’s the best way to reach them with great gigs?

1. College Recruitment Is Key

While internet activity will always be king for young job seekers, their career search begins earlier than any generation before them. Gen Z ranked college career centers and hiring events nearly twice as high as their Millennial counterparts regarding their favorite job sources. According to a study by Adecco, 29% of Gen Z job searchers use their college career center when looking for jobs.

The generation sees the increased level of debt and inflation and the lower level of available jobs. They want to secure their careers before graduating college. Therefore, you should attempt to find workers through local universities.

Be present at local university job fairs and establish connections with university job boards. Your recruitment process should begin at local schools. These opportunities don’t cost your company much and can be the most efficient way to get the attention of Gen Z jobseekers and Gen Z workers that weren’t searching for jobs.

2. Social Media, Duh!

Social media platforms and young professionals go hand-in-hand. We all know this.

54% of Gen Zers surveyed by Morning Consult said they spend at least four hours daily on social media, and almost two in five (38%) spend even more time than that. While only 5% of the generation is estimated to use social media for job searches, it’s still an efficient way to get in front of their eyes.

Posting your job openings on your company’s social media accounts is not only free, but it’s a useful tactic to get the word out there. If job seekers see the post, they are likely to at least click on it for more information. There’s no reason to not have a strong social media presence in the job world.

Leanna Serras, chief customer officer of FragranceX, told Yahoo Finance in 2022, “We wanted to avoid the traditional route of promoting job opportunities on job boards. Instead, we decided to stream our job openings on Spotify.”

While not exactly social media, it’s still an interesting tactic. Use platforms that the generation uses, even if the main purpose of the platform isn’t to advertise open jobs.

3. Refer a Friend

Hiring Gen Z workers may start within your company. According to Yello, over 60% of Generation Z prefers and relies upon referrals from an employer’s current or former employees as the most trusted job-search source.

Henceforth, workers want to hear about the personal experience of working at your company before applying to it. This concept makes complete sense while piggybacking off an increased sense of personal worth during the Great Resignation. They want to make sure your company fits their values before working with you.

If you have a staff of excellent workers already at the helm, then you are on the right track. If you have Gen Z workers already on the team, then you should see if they can help you through references.

Not only can you trust your great workers and their references, but you can trust them to understand what makes a good applicant. They are the ones to do the job every day, after all. They are the ones that know what qualities would fit best. It can be beneficial to ask your employees their opinions. It can also help your established employees feel important in the company (a win-win for everyone).

Encourage your workers to share references, crosspost job openings on social media, and so on. Maybe even offer rewards like a raffle for event tickets, a new television, or some type of other prizes for employees that successfully refer candidates that get hired. It’s much cheaper than recruiting yourself.

What Gen Z Looks For

“Culture is not an initiative. Culture is the enabler of all initiatives.”

— Larry Senn, American Author

As we have mentioned countless times, company culture and values are at the top of the generation’s priority list. If your company does not fit their objectives and ideals, you will be quickly passed over for another employer.

It’s crucial to understand what exactly the generation is looking for in a job and employer before you can even begin recruiting them. And with a generation so diverse and opinionated, it can be hard to navigate.

Here are the most important values the age range values in their new careers:

1. Culture and Inclusivity

According to Monster, 83% of Gen Z employees say that a company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is one of the top priorities when choosing an employer. 86% of Gen Z job seekers cite a company’s commitment to diversity as an important factor in deciding whether or not to accept an offer.

“They care a lot about the values of an organization,” Farah Mohiuddin, Forage customer success manager, and early talent expert, said. “They want them to walk the walk and not just say they care about diversity. They’re really holding employers accountable.”  

It’s important to remember the incorporation of ideals during anything you do with Gen Z employees (whether managing, hiring, firing, or bonding). Culture and inclusivity are necessary. Younger employees want to see a company that stands behind what they say they stand for. If your company culture is based around inclusivity, it better actually be inclusive.

Though your job postings don’t have to openly state your company ideals, they should be implemented in everything you do. If you truly believe in them, they will shine through your overall efforts. From advertising to employee management, your culture will establish itself if from a place of graciousness.

2. Flexible Work Environments and Career Paths

Flexibility is more than just a staffing buzz term in the last decade. Flexibility is now a required part of any job, especially those that wish to garner the attention of younger employees.

Ultimately, we mean two different types of flexibility here. Let’s break them down:

Flexible Work Environments

If there is any silver lining to find from the horrific pandemic that washed the world, it’s the relief of reluctance to bring technology into the workplace. No longer are the days of having to report directly to work with tie and suit intact. The stay-at-home order caused almost every company to implement some sort of hybrid or remote workplace, and a lot of them never went back.

Some of the younger side of the generation have never worked in a world that didn’t allow hybrid and remote working situations, believe it or not (we’re getting old). Therefore, many believe it should be a new requirement in industries that can function through it. Obviously, some work will never be able to be done remotely.

If your company can implement flexibility in the workplace, you are on the right track to getting younger attention. It will also broaden your recruitment pool through mobile work. You can then hire workers all over the country. Win-win.

Flexible Jobs

The new generation has seen the introduction and success of the start-up revolution. They’ve seen people get rich off of social media, make a living off of Uber, and sell their art on applications like Etsy. Therefore, their vision of what modern employment looks like is very skewed from what you may see.

Gen Z employees want the ability to grow in their place of employment (as do all ages and generations), but they do not see the employment ladder as vertically as those before them. Moving up to a managerial role with the opportunity to lead, but still be led from above, is not as much of a win as it used to be. Younger workers want the opportunity to be creative, be a leader, and collaborate on something that matters.

Overall, younger workers want jobs that implement other skills. They want to constantly learn and adapt. An employee will be more excited about getting a promotional opportunity that brings in a new skill set than just becoming a senior in the position they are already in.

3. Work/Life Balance

We broke down the entirety of work/life balance in our article What Is Frugality in the Workforce? – Guide to New Work-Life Trend (you should read it).

We will quote it here:

July survey by FlexJobs found that 44% of workers surveyed would take a pay cut to improve their work-life balance.

Simply put: people are willing to make less and spend less to enjoy more time outside of work. Materialism has fallen by the wayside, while quality time with themselves and their family has risen. Humans desiring more time with life and significant others is a natural and understandable response to a two-year-long life-threatening excursion.

Overall, the main amount of those that believe in work frugality is within Generation Z. A recent study by education nonprofit Murmuration and the Walton Family Foundation found that 61% of 15- to 25-year-olds value harmony between work and home life. Meanwhile, only 42% prefer earning more money.

Can you blame them? A generation raised on the back of a huge housing market crash and exponential inflation doesn’t care about wealth? Color me surprised.

Gen Z can barely afford college and healthcare. Meanwhile, the prices of housing are only elevating. The old days of land and home being the endgame of life is out the window. Gen Z has never been able to see affording homes and property as a reachable goal, and it isn’t getting better. With an average minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and the price of a gallon of gas reaching right behind it, don’t expect the youth to value material objects with intensity.

All that said, the younger generation puts life above work. They want careers that offer flexibility, mental healthcare, opportunities for greatness, opportunities for growth, and a culture they can stand behind.

To start hiring Gen Z employees is to understand the needs and values of the generation. Your company needs to be open and ready to make the impactful changes necessary to keep up with the youth. Otherwise, you will find yourself having trouble recruiting almost the entirety of the workforce by 2025.

Tips for Hiring Gen Z Employees

Once you understand what the culture is looking for in their workplaces, you can begin to put together a plan on how to recruit them.

We now know where to look for employees and what to drive home in your job descriptions. What you should offer and what you should be willing to do to keep and bring in new employees.

Here are some more tips in regard to hiring Gen Z employees.

1. Keep Communication Clear

Contrary to stereotypes, Gen Z actually prefers in-person conversation. No, really. We are not all as consumed with our text messages as you may believe.

51% of Gen Z job seekers prefer face-to-face communication when speaking with an employer. They believe that it helps create trusting and authentic relationships before the career even begins.

On the other hand, the Yello Recruiting Study found that email is Generation Z’s number-one choice to communicate with potential employers, with video calls speeding up behind it.

So, what’s the answer? What’s the deal? Well, both!

The generation has grown up with multiple channels of communication and efficiency. The world is a much smaller and fast place for those with a phone in their pocket. Therefore, you can use a variety of ways to communicate with Gen Z employees.

While it may be best to use email to establish communication and give interviewing information, any further communication (especially the interview) should be done in person or over video chat. Basically, there’s no wrong way to go about communicating with Gen Z employees, as long as it’s quick and you meet face-to-face before decisions are made.

2. Keep Your Website and Career Page Clean

What’s the main lesson to learn throughout this article? Gen Z lives and dies through the usage of the internet. Whether social media or employer-rating sites, the candidate will likely scour your entire internet presence before making a decision on working for your company. Therefore, you need to make sure your website and career page are clean and accessible.

54% of Gen Z won’t complete a job application if a company’s recruiting methods are outdated. 26% would be deterred from accepting a job because of the lack of recruiting technology. If your website and job openings page look outdated, inefficient, or difficult to get to, you are heading down the wrong path.

Make sure everything is clean, up-to-date, and accessible. For example, if your job posting asks you to upload a resume, do not require the applicant to fill out a bunch of forms that ask the same exact question as the resume, for Pete’s sake.

3. Highlight the Main Factors First

Speed and efficiency are everything when hiring Gen Z workers. We live in the now. We function in the now. Everything we do has to be both present and accessible.

When creating your job descriptions (whether on job boards or your company website) make sure to be clear and straightforward. A candidate worth their salt will be able to see right through the lies and facade. Do not attempt to fluff up the posting with buzzwords and exclamatory statements. The applicant will know what’s truly going on.

Be precise when describing benefits, qualifications, duties, and career trajectory. Gen Z workers don’t want to beat around the bush. As the whole article has proven, they know their worth as employees and are willing to turn down job offers if you do not meet their standards. Be quick to tell them what the standards on.

As we stated, Gen Z workers want to work with employers that offer learning opportunities, promotions, benefits, flexibility, and cultural acceptance. If you can offer some of these things, describe them upfront.

4. Offer Interesting Titles

You can’t always judge a book by its cover. You can catch the attention of would-be readers with an interesting cover, though.

When creating job posts for job boards, think of titles that may stand out from the rest. There are millions of form-fitting titles already on Indeed. Why not create one that catches the eyes of unique and impressive Gen Z employees? As we stated, they look for jobs that go outside normal pathways.

For example, there are countless SEO or digital advertising job openings on the web. Why not call your open position Content Specialist or Content Creator? It’s not lying or trickery to garner attention. You are just providing an eye-catching name for the same position. It helps weed out those that are paying attention and not just applying to every available position in their field.

Consequently, it’s important to reiterate the point above. This does not mean you should lie about the role. Don’t completely fabricate a unique title that doesn’t reach or explain the job at hand. Just see if there’s a unique and truthful way to word it.

5. Use a Staffing Agency

It’s that time again. It’s time to talk about ourselves.

If you don’t have the time to spend on any of the above methods, you can always work with a staffing agency. As expert and experienced recruiters, we have a talent pool already screened and ready to interview. Furthermore, we have working relationships with universities and businesses nationwide, giving us quick access to those wonderful Gen Z employees!

Staffing agencies can make the process quick and easy, saving you time and resources.

Still not sure? We broke down all the positives and negatives here.