Generation Z In The Workplace: How To Recruit Young Talent, Explained - TechnologyAdvice
May 8, 2019

Generation Z In The Workplace: How To Recruit Young Talent, Explained

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It may be hard to believe, but the oldest Millennials are approaching their forties.

Yes, the generation that “killed” everything from private home ownership to chain restaurants is now entering the C-suite. But there’s another generation of digital natives fast on their heels, and they’re even more diverse and better-educated.

I’m talking about Generation Z, sometimes called the post-Millennials (not to be confused with Post Malone).

Post Malone, glass of wine in hand, grins and raises his eyebrows at the camera

It may seem too soon to start thinking about recruiting Gen Zers, but with the oldest members of this generation turning 22 in 2019, now is the perfect time to learn how to recruit these people.

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To learn more about how companies can attract Gen Z talent, I reached out to college career counselors, professional recruiters, and members of Gen Z themselves. Here are the four biggest takeaways from their responses.

1. They want meaningful work with an opportunity to grow

Every generation faces its own challenges. Millennials came of age during the Great Recession and have enormous student loan debt, but the problems facing Gen Z are no walk in the park, either.

Climate change, extreme wealth inequality, mass shootings, threats from AI, and more have made their mark on this generation and will continue to influence their thinking and actions. It should come as no surprise, then, to discover that making a difference is important to Gen Z.

“My goal has and will continue to be prioritizing the concept of working for purpose,” says Gen Zer Dillon Joshua Bernard, a multimedia producer and digital strategist in New York City. “I made a promise to myself that, as much as I can control it, each role I have must match my larger vision to create impact.”

Finding a job that aligns with their personal values is important to members of Gen Z, says Ciara Van De Velde, client engagement manager at Employment BOOST in Troy, Michigan. But members of Gen Z also want companies to invest in them.

“[Gen Zers] want to be in a position where they feel like they are challenged and continuously developing new skills while utilizing their current ones,” Ciara says. “Though they might be in a great company, if they are lacking in professional growth and continuous development, they feel that they are not utilizing their fullest potential.”

2. Meaningful work is important, but so is stability.

While members of Gen Z value meaningful work, they also acknowledge that work is not the only way to create a meaningful life. This means having a meaningful job can take a backseat to having a stable job.

Chris Chancey is the founder of Amplio Recruiting in Atlanta, Georgia. He spends a lot of time working with members of Gen Z, and he says this generation is not afraid to negotiate a good compensation package, including benefits.

“They are looking for perks that will make their lives stable,” Chris says, “so they value things like healthcare benefits and, more importantly, opportunities for professional development with the aim of landing their dream job in the shortest time possible.”

Bea Tanese, a Gen Zer and public relations specialist at ShipMonk in Deerfield Beach, Florida, also expressed that a job should offer stability.

“Balance really is everything,” Bea says. “While it’s nice to feel a sense of purpose through a job, I think this sense of purpose can come from many different areas of your life as well. A job is important because it provides us with financial security, which, along with other factors, make or break our quality of life.”

3. Facilitate collaboration, but emphasize autonomy

Gen Z has yet to endure the full brunt of societal scrutiny, but there are already some prejudices floating around about them: they don’t value individuality, they can’t think for themselves, they don’t like to lead.

Like most sweeping generalizations, these characterizations come from misunderstandings. It’s true that Gen Zers value collaboration, but autonomy and maximizing their individual contributions to a larger group is just as important.

“I value collaboration in a job,” says Stefanie Brown, a member of Gen Z and a production coordinator at Crowd Content Media in Victoria, British Columbia. “When a variety of knowledge and skills are pooled together, whether that be virtually or in person, working towards a project or a goal allows for so much opportunity to learn new things from one another.”

“Collaborating with others is important,” says Bea Tanese, “but most of the time, I prefer to do my work independently. I like coming into work, but I find that working remotely can be even more productive for me, as I have fewer distractions.”

For some members of Gen Z, the option to work remotely or from home lets them collaborate with coworkers while retaining some autonomy.

4. Invest in cutting-edge technology

If there’s one thing Millennials and Generation Z have in common, it’s being very tech-savvy.

Both Millennials and Gen Z grew up with the internet and cell phones, but while most Millennials were introduced to the digital world via desktop computers and flip phones, members of Gen Z were introduced via smartphones, powerful laptops, and tablets. This means members of Gen Z grew up in an “always on” environment and that they have high expectations for technology.

Companies, therefore, should invest in the best technology to attract younger talent. Dusty Doddridge, director of the career development center at Middle Tennessee State University, oversees a lot of student workers from Gen Z, and he witnessed firsthand how investing in technology made a difference for his staff.

“Our office invested in more laptops this year, and our staff have responded well to that,” Dusty says. “Not only has this created more collaboration within the office, but it makes it easier to work from home when that might be the best or only option.”

Laptops are a great place to start, but depending on the kind of organization you work for, you should look into more areas where you can invest in modern technology.

Most members of Gen Z I interviewed also cited software such as Google Drive, Slack, Skype, Salesforce, and Trello as invaluable tools for collaboration. Hardware such as tablets for easily reserving and checking into conference rooms and TV-mounted video conferencing equipment are worthwhile investments as well.

Business technology helps companies attract talent, but it also helps companies recruit talent.

According to a study from The Center for Generational Kinetics, 60 percent of Gen Zers surveyed were willing to spend 15 minutes or less filling out an online job application.

Younger applicants don’t want to deal with an application portal that requires them to fill in dozens of fields and upload their résumés, only to have them manually enter the information from their résumés into the portal. Market-leading applicant tracking systems such as Greenhouse, SmartRecruiters, and Jobvite offer easy and fast applicant portals that allow companies to keep applicants engaged throughout the screening and hiring process so that applicants don’t move on before submitting their application.

Also Read: Why Modern Recruitment Goes Past the Resume

Plus, most modern applicant tracking systems let you syndicate job postings across a number of different job board websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. This helps you cover all your bases so that you don’t miss the perfect candidate by forgetting to post on one or two job board sites.

Implementing new business software can be time-consuming and expensive, but for companies that want to attract bright young talent, the results are worth the up-front investment.

TechnologyAdvice can help.

As you begin your Generation Z recruiting efforts, it won’t be enough to cultivate a culture that attracts them. When you complete the form on our Applicant Tracking Systems page or contact us, our Technology Advisors will put together a shortlist of the top five applicant tracking solutions for your business. Getting your free shortlist is free and takes less than five minutes.