Move over millennials, Generation Z is on the way and was born ready for the workplace

7 min read

27 April 2016

If I asked you to name the demographic that is currently shaping the workforce, you would probably say “millennials.” While this is true, to some degree, it does not tell the whole story.

This year will mark the first individuals from Generation Z entering the workforce. This demographic, born in the mid-90s to early 2000s, is different to millennials in one key way: they cannot imagine a world without technology.

The majority of millennials remember a time without smartphones or high-speed internet connections. In other words, they were influenced by technology, Generation Z was born into it.

While this might not seem like a huge distinction, it is an important one. The silver lining, however, is that recruitment strategies adapted for millennials only need a small tweak to work for Generation Z candidates.

It is all about fine-tuning the company’s recruitment strategy to ensure it is enticing the latest generation of candidates to work for your business. As a group unaware of a world without mobiles or the internet, they are true digital natives and must be approached with this in mind.

The question, of course, is where and how do you engage this new generation of future talent?

Search where they spend their time

Firstly, take a step back and consider what Generation Z knows. Within this group, individuals have been brought up in a world where mobiles, the internet, and social media are inescapable. This is why digital should be the first port of call for HR and recruitment professionals.

Not only does your career site need to be engaging, the entire process from start to finish, including the application stages, need to be accessible and user-friendly for mobile devices. This way, there is no reason for the candidate to leave the site until they have applied for a role.

While the website is undoubtedly important, it is not the only platform that an HR or recruitment professional needs to focus on.

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Wake up to social media

Secondly, you need to focus your company’s resources in the right areas to attract the attention of Generation Z. Technology, and specifically social media, is an integral part of this generation’s lifestyle. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or Pinterest, you can guarantee that Generation Z candidates are on there.

It’s essential to remind the HR team that it is not a case of waiting for the candidate to find their career website, it is about pushing the business out on these platforms and establishing a strong online presence that inspires people to learn more about the company.

After all, the fact that there are 100m daily active users on Snapchat alone should motivate HR professionals to take social media seriously as a recruitment tool. Once on your platform of choice, it is equally important to check the tone your business is using, and adjust the messaging accordingly. For example, no one is interested in a lengthy, LinkedIn-style post that uses a lot of business-language on Instagram.

Keeping them interested

Now the company has prioritised the channels it wants to operate on and has optimised its website for Generation Z candidates, the work continues. It is now time for HR professionals and recruiters to think carefully about the kinds of messages they want to push on networks.

Individuals from Generation Z are similar to millennials in that they want a company to reflect them personally. For many, the idea of working for a faceless corporation is mortifying. So, to attract the best and brightest, businesses need to let their personality shine through their posts—whether that be on social media or their career sites.

This will show candidates what kind of business you are and what kind of culture exists within the company. It will also help them visualise if they can see themselves working there.

It is critical that social platforms showcase your brand in a positive light and emphasise the types of perks that are on offer that would be enticing to Generation Z candidates.

Similar to other demographics, they are motivated by career advancement, great work-life balance, and job security, so ensure that these areas are covered with the content that is shared online. If you mention these types of benefits, without sounding sales-focused, it can pay dividends in attracting Generation Z workers to a business.

Your business is in tune with Gen Z's desires – you just don't know it

Make it a seamless process

The above strategies will help in filling a recruitment funnel, but unless the foundation of your business is strong, it is possible to crack under the weight of increased applicants. This makes investing in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) a must. It can make a real difference to the way a business operates, alleviating pressure on the HR team to manage the recruitment of high-quality candidates and complete the everyday, mundane, administrative tasks.

In other words, the right technology lets recruiters spend their time recruiting, rather than on administration. At present, there are only 27 per cent of UK recruiters using an ATS, so investing in one can differentiate the team and ensure they hire the cream of the crop.

Although it only felt like yesterday recruitment strategies were being revamped for millennials, Generation Z candidates are providing another challenge for HR and recruitment teams.

Still, this must be viewed as an opportunity. If a business adapts its strategies and practices in order to entice this generation, then it will be ahead of the general curve, helping it hire the best candidates on the market for years to come.

In keeping with this, there are rules for marketing to millennials – as revealed by a marketing millennial.

Amanda Van Nuys is senior manager of marketing at Jobvite

Image: Shutterstock