How Campus Recruiters Can Begin Preparing for Gen Z

By Amit Chauhan

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Recruiters, start your engines, because Generation Z is fast approaching the workforce and they’re plenty different than their Millennial siblings. While Millennials have been arguably the most researched and dissected generation, Gen Z has quietly swelled in size and influence.

The generation born after 1998 already makes up for a staggering 25 percent of America’s population, and the numbers are only growing. Soon Gen Z will be graduating college and flooding the workforce. Recruiters need to ask themselves if they’re ready for this tsunami of talent, and if they can really communicate with Gen Z in a language this tech-savvy talent can understand.

How Was Gen Z Shaped?

A combination of rapid technological advancement and the economic collapse have had a huge impact already on Gen Z. This generation is more plugged in than ever before, with smartphones and tablets allowing them to communicate with anyone from pretty much anywhere.

They also, however, are more worried about the economy than any previous generation, probably thanks in part to the economic recession. According to research from Spark & Honey, Gen Z worries about the economy more than anything else, including crime, politics, and their parent’s job security. This probably explains why the same report found 57 percent of Gen Z would rather save money than spend it.

What is Gen Z Looking for Professionally?

So, how do you communicate with Gen Z and speak their language? You don’t need to start learning how to use emojis, but you should know what drives this text-happy generation.

Gen Z isn’t happy to just sit back and collect a paycheck, and they’ve seen advanced education doesn’t always translate into a happier career. Compared to 71 percent of Millennials, only 64 percent of Gen Z are considering an advanced college degree.

Instead, Gen Z is more entrepreneurial, more focused on giving back, and more hopeful to turn their passions into their careers. The report by Spark & Honey found 76 percent of Gen Z (compared with just 50 percent of Millennials) want to turn their passion into a full-time job. Compared with only 39 percent of Millennials, 60 percent of Gen Z wants to leave a lasting impact on the world. These candidates will be more focused on giving back and on careers which allow them to do good in the world.

Finally, Gen Z is more entrepreneurial. A study by Millennial Branding and Internships.com discovered 72 percent of high school students want to start a business someday, and 61 percent would rather be an entrepreneur than a worker bee.

To capture this talent looking to forge their own path, you’ll need to offer opportunities for growth, for innovation, and to create a path within an organization and spearhead new projects. Gen Z won’t be happy sitting back and letting someone else take the reins, so companies looking to attract this talent will be smart to make innovation part of the company culture.

How Does Gen Z Communicate?

Gen Z is the mobile generation, multitasking across five screens daily according to the Sparks & Honey report. They’re on social media constantly, documenting every second of their lives in tweets, statuses, and pictures.

To communicate with Gen Z, you’re going to need a social recruitment plan. Start early by reaching out to young candidates who have interest in the area of your company or clients. Go to career day at the local high school or college, and talk about the company’s culture and mission statement.

Stay in contact with talented and passionate Gen Z potential candidates using social channels like an official Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or Twitter account. Use these social tools to prompt industry-related discussions and to share good news and information about what the company is doing to help the world. Show off the company culture, and by the time the best Gen Z talent turns the tassel, they’ll already have brand awareness of your company and an interest in joining in the fun.

How Can You Find and Nurture the Best Gen Z Candidates?

Finding the best Gen Z candidates means speaking their language and connecting with them where they live. It’s also good to know Gen Z is more volunteer focused and more entrepreneurial in spirit. Perhaps it’s time for your company or clients to start a volunteer group, and open it up to young talent interested in making a difference.

You might also want to sponsor high school or college business conferences, science fairs, or competitions. Giving a helping hand will increase knowledge of your company, create positive associations, and build brand ambassadors.

To connect with Gen Z, you’ll want to connect early and often, by lending a helping hand and providing mentorship and opportunities. If you don’t already have an internship program, now is the time to start considering the benefits bringing young talent into the company fold can bring. Look to give Gen Z candidates and students the ability to create their own opportunities and give back in a meaningful way.

Gen Z is coming, and you don’t want to get caught unawares. By getting to know this generation and honing your recruitment tools, you can speak to this new wave of talent more directly and find the very best people to lead your company or clients into the future.

What do you think? How are you preparing for Gen Z? Share in the comments!

Amit Chauhan is the CEO and co-founder of Recroup, an entry-level hiring platform that allows employers to find the right talent by getting to know the person behind the resume. Connect with Amit and the Recroup team on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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