Do You Have A Strategy For Recruiting Generation Z?

By Amit Gawande

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Gen Z is different. Very different. If you are recruiting generation Z and you thought posting a job on social media or leading job board would easily catch their attention; you were probably wrong.
Generations are important. Defining them tell us how things transformed, how we grew and it also helps us in predicting what may come next. Millennials grew in the era of globalization whereas Gen Z grew in the digital era. Gen Z people are always wired. They probably never walk into a bank but do all banking activities over the phone. Digital wallets are a testimony to their culture. They might have bought their favourite gadgets without walking into any stores. Companies are working hard to reach to their youngest consumers. Banks are also building strategies to acquire them as customers. But have companies have ever thought of strategies for recruiting generation Z people?

Who is generation Z or Gen Z?

Generation Z is loosely defined as a set of people born between 1996 - 2010. So, as of in 2019, this population is between 8 to 24 years of age. Meaning, they are already becoming part of the workforce in various industries.

What are the generation Z characteristics?

Until we define the generation that is being born after 2010, for now, they (people born after 2010) are also considered as part of Gen Z. Gen Z grew or still growing up in a digital era. They are a digital native. They were and they are surrounded by digital technology. While growing up they were exposed to mobile and touch screen devices. They probably have learnt to swipe before they learnt to speak.

Here is a quick list of generation Z characteristics -

  • They are digital natives
  • They are more open to ideas. Being stereotyped is not they want.
  • Experiences matter more to them rather than owning things
  • They are entrepreneurial and technology savvy
  • Most diverse and educated generation yet
  • They like to see themselves as independent rather than a team player
  • Their attention span is just about 8 seconds
  • They like to experiment more
  • Gen Z has lived through recessions
  • They believe in "always on" culture using social media anytime or watching Netflix 24x7.

How Generation Z consume social media

Millennials saw the birth of a social media, however, Gen Z people grew up with it. Gen Z is more attached to social media platforms. Below social media numbers will show some of the generation Z trends.

  • They spend an average of 15.4 hours a week on a smartphone
  • 78% of people between the age group of 18 - 24 years use Snapchat
  • 71% of people between the age group of 18 - 24 years use Instagram
  • 95% of people between the age group of 18 - 24 years use YouTube
  • 42% of Gen Z thinks social media has a direct impact on how they feel about themselves.
  • Gen Z people using Facebook dropped by 20% between 2015 to 2018. During the same duration, usage of snapshot and Instagram increased by 28% and 20% respectively.

Most of these stats show low usage of LinkedIn.

How recruiting Gen Z will be any different?

Recruitment is a mixture of marketing and sales. As part of recruitment, you need to attract candidates first and then you would want to convert interested candidates into successful hires.

As an organization when you want to reach candidates for hiring, you would use a medium where you would find the most relevant candidates. If we look at millennials (born between 1981 - 1995), they saw the birth of job boards. Millennials exceedingly started using emails for formal and informal communication. It was easy for companies to post jobs on job boards and send emails to candidates to get their attention. Also, until around 2000 companies were still posting job ads in the newspapers.

Different things about Gen Z

Things have changed now. One thing that stands out the most among the generation Z characteristics is their attention span. It is just 8 seconds whereas it is about 12 seconds for millennials. The continuous rise of Instagram and YouTube Gen Z users confirms the same. Generation Z is more into visual mediums than text-driven content. Also, their preferred platform keeps changing. They shift quickly to newer platforms if they find it better.

I remember, recently, when I was interviewing a candidate for a digital marketing intern role, I asked this candidate to design a digital marketing strategy for a given scenario. Guess what, Facebook was not even on his mind. When I asked him, why; he had said it was for older people. Funny! how quickly things change.

Gen Z people prefer in-app notifications, push notifications or social media over emails to know about trends or any useful information.

After millennials, this generation has lived through recessions they have seen their parents losing jobs. Hence, they value job security a lot.

In short, Gen Z like visual mediums, they are mobile-only people, they prefer experiences over physical possession and they are serious about job security.

What changes we can make for recruiting generation Z?

If we look at the recruitment scenario today, we still use age-old recruiting practices. We rely heavily on telephonic and email communication. We rely heavily on job boards.

To begin with, there are certain practices we can adopt for recruiting generation Z.

Use visual mediums for employer branding

  • When you use career page for employer branding, use video testimonials rather than text.
  • Host a company's YouTube channel for sharing employee experiences, company's achievements, etc.
  • Use Instagram for employer branding.

Use recruiter chatbot

  • For Gen Z, email is outdated. They are most likely to respond to chatbot push notification.
  • Use chatbots for building a sales funnel

Better candidate experience

  • As mentioned, Gen Z value experiences. Make candidate experience your top priority by addressing small things such as informing candidates about their progress. Provide every bit of information.
  • Do not call or reach to candidates for irrelevant jobs. Make sure the job opening is relevant to a candidate.
  • Generation Z believes in "always on". They would expect you to be there 24x7. Again HR chatbot can help in this scenario.

You would need modern recruitment automation software to achieve most of these things. But first, you need to acknowledge that you have a different audience that is growing fast in numbers.

Summary

If we observe generation Z characteristics and stats about how they use social media and technology, the difference between millennials and Gen Z is prominent. They have an entirely different belief system. They look at the world differently. Gen Z people probably have never seen the world without internet. They are the best-educated generation till now. Access to information is what they have always experienced. They believe in making informed choices and they are more inclined to visual sources for that. This change is not limited to how we attract and recruit Gen Z candidates but will also impact employee management practices too.

Amit Gawande is a Founder of CVViZ - AI Recruiting Software and a modern applicant tracking system that is designed to help recruiters hire best candidates faster. Amit has more than 15 years of experience in technology, product development and recruiting large teams for organizations. Before starting CVViZ, he was VP, Global Technology, JP Morgan.

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