8 Things You Need to Know for Hiring Generation Z

February 17, 2016

Just when you’ve wrapped your heads around the best tactics for attracting top-notch millennial talent to your company, a new generation comes onto the scene: Generation Z. Born between the late 1990s through 2010, Gen Z members are technically millennials too. But, they bring some big changes in personality, values, and job plans.

If you’re thinking ‘they’re too young to worry about,’ think again. While recruiting them may seem like a long way off on the horizon, planning ahead will be key—particularly for this generation, which takes its job prospects seriously. Employers—and thus, recruiters—should already be looking to see how to make job openings Z-friendly.

In particular, there are eight things recruiters need to know about hiring Generation Z:

1. You won’t win them over with dollar signs

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If you thought that Gen Y wasn’t all about the money, wait until you meet job candidates from Gen Z. Sure, a fat paycheck sounds nice—it can’t sound bad—but it won’t be enough to attract this younger generation.

According to a study by Millennial Branding and Randstad US, while 42% of Gen Y said money would “motivate them to work harder and stay with their employer longer,” that number slipped to only 28% for Gen Z.

So, instead of emphasizing salary when talking to this generation, focus on career advancement opportunities at your company, your amazing culture, and other things you have to offer that aren't money related.

2. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t pragmatic

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This new wave of millennials grew up during one of the greatest recessions the United States has seen—which is not the case for most older millennials. This means that Gen Z is pragmatic, even bordering on skeptical, so it’s best to get right to the point with these potential hires. Gen Z watched their parents and aunts and uncles get laid off and struggle, so they value stability and a consistent paycheck.

So, show them that you are invested in your employees success and long-term careers. Maybe you have a great internal mobility program that you can highlight as an example of how you value your employees and strive to put them in a position to do their best work and stay with your company. 

3.  They’re ready to talk careers…now

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Think high school is too early to start connecting with future job candidates? Well, those high school students don’t agree. Another Millennial Branding study, this time with Internships.com, found that 77% of high school students are either “extremely interested” or “very interested” in interning—with the aim of getting career experience. 

Think about opportunities you have or could create to get high school interns involved at your company and put those opportunities out there on your social channels. These interns could be your next great employees.

4. They’re concerned about the future

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There’s a prominent idea that each generation has it better off than the one before. But while 71% of millennials think they’ll have a higher standard of living than their parents, only 56% of Generation Z sees it that way.

When talking to them, don’t just talk about what the job or company can do for a Gen Z candidate right now, but what it can do for them long into the future.

5. And they’re prepared to try to get by on their own

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As much as millennials as a whole value being part of a team and collaboration, Gen Z has a much larger focus on autonomy. This could be from watching their older family members getting laid off and seeing how difficult it can be to find work.

Gen Z young women and men have a huge entrepreneurial spirit. So, show these candidates how this spirit can be used in the company—whether it’s flexibility, the ability to showcase new ideas, or however else.

6. Gen Z doesn’t want to waste time

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Gen Z doesn’t want to waste time in the office doing busy work. They’re willing to carry their phones everywhere—and will anyway—and will work late hours or off hours. But when there isn’t work to do, they don’t want to have to sit in an office and do meaningless tasks. When they’re on, they’re on; but when they don't need to be, they don’t want to waste time.

With that in mind, highlight if your company offers flexible hours - that your focus isn't on the number of hours spent behind a desk but on the output and quality of your employees work.

7. They want a company that gives back

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Social awareness is a huge component of the millennial lifestyle. Recruiters can draw in great candidates by showing that the company shares that value.

And that doesn’t mean a annual volunteer day; that means having charity embedded into the culture of the company. A great example of this is Tom's, which gives a pair of shoes to a child in need whenever a customer buys a pair. Now, this isn't applicable for every company, but finding your own way to do good and give back is certainly possible.

8. They have a love-hate relationship with technology

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Gen Z is the first generation that has grown up in an age of the internet and social media. So, you are going to have to keep up with them. Rather than hitting them with one, lengthy email, show candidates short, digestible messages across multiple platforms—texting, social media, Skype, and more.

But don’t think that this lifestyle means Gen Z is all about technology. In fact, studies have shown they prefer face-to-face contact in the workplace. Bring them in for an in-person meeting, FaceTime with them, and showcase how the company believes in this type of interaction too.

*Image from Amanda Tipton

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