Feels like just yesterday the world was arguing over the millenial’s rising importance and impact on the workforce, doesn’t it?
Well, in the blink of an eye, now we switch our attention to the so-called ‘Gen Z’, who begin to make their way into offices worldwide.
Born after 1995, “zoomers” are characterized by digital nativism, a deep connection to social values, and a fair amount of financial woe.
As recruiters, you mustn’t overlook the value that this generation will bring to the table, and make the necessary preparations to attract and retain what will eventually be the majority of the workforce in a few short years to come.
But what is it that they bring to the table, and what can we do to bring in the best of their generation?
What are their priorities, and are there any proven strategies to increase your chances of hiring the most talented of this new workforce generation?
Why are young graduates so valuable for your clients?
If you dig a little deeper beyond the unhelpful stereotypes of Gen Z as a social-media-addicted, lazy, and entitled group, you’ll find traits that have profound value for any company.
Firstly, Gen Z job seekers are seriously motivated when it comes to learning and development.
According to LinkedIn, more than half of Gen Z learners are keen to acquire professional skills in order to make more money.
And contrary to their supposed reputation as entitled, in this book Gen Z @ Work, Jonah and David Stillman suggest that 76% of Gen Z employees are willing to start from the very bottom of the corporate ladder.
And of course, it goes without saying that Gen Z employees offer an unprecedented level of digital and technological know-how, especially in the area of social media.
But it takes a lot more than status and salary to recruit these valuable employees into your company. Gen Z has an entirely different set of standards when it comes to incentives.
Here are the most powerful things you can do to convince young adults to join your clients.
How to recruit Gen Z? Here are 6 major tips
Let’s dive into the steps you can take to effectively attract and hire new graduates and young adults in 2022 and beyond.
1. Emphasize professional development
Perhaps it’s the lifelong access to the unlimted information in the form of the internet that has created such a thirst for knowledge and development in this new generation of employees.
Regardless of the reason, you should recognize the importance of offering ways in which younger employees can round out their soft and hard skills through educational and developmental programs.
This generation’s workforce is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to their futures.
This means that offering free or subsidized access to things like chartering programs to become recognized experts and practitioners of their discipline could be very persuasive.
Not to mention, the additional education and enhanced capabilities of these newly-trained employees can only have positive effects on your client.
2. Understand that money talks
Scarcity is a common theme in just about any piece of research relating to Gen Z’s thoughts and behaviors relating to finances — or, more specifically, an apparent lack thereof.
Naturally, the majority of new graduates worry about their ability to pay off their sky-high student loans. So much so that the loaning system is more often discussed as a ‘crisis’ than a functioning financial scheme.
Pair that with global recessions, a devastating pandemic, and emerging geopolitical conflicts, and you have a recipe for a serious amount of financial woe.
Accordingly, you should be offering as competitive a salary as you can offer — if you want to attract top talent.
But that’s just one dimension of financial incentive to get this cash-strapped generation on board.
Another strategy is offering some kind of monetary gift — stipends, joining bonuses, or in the case of larger enterprises, student loan repayment assistance schemes are all ways to help ease the financial tensions of young recruits.
They all act as powerful incentives for new graduates to join your company.
After all, this generation might be strongly motivated by social responsibility and education, but as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests, these elements won’t be considered if their basic needs are not met — the ability to afford food and shelter comes first.
3. Implement an internship scheme
Internship schemes are symbiotic relationships between talent-hungry companies willing to take on a little bit of inexperience and universities eager to get their students introduced to the workplace.
For your client, however, inexperience is balanced with the ability to offer lower salaries — or none at all. Plus, internship schemes have powerful effects on hiring and retention, as employees who have worked a year at a company are more likely to accept a full-time position with them after graduating.
Finally, your clients can use their time at the company to assess their suitability and potential when it comes to a full-time role without taking the risk of offering a ‘full’ postgraduate salary.
To leverage internships successfully, you’ll have to build strong relationships with universities — preferably ones with students that are a natural match with your client’s company culture and industry.
Consider attending campus employment fairs, coming up with persuasive presentations on the benefits of working for you, and even assisting the student’s educational development by offering the use of industry-relevant equipment or resources.
4. Underline company purpose & values
Much is made of Gen Z’s forthright passion and advocacy for social issues, especially equality for women and minorities and protecting our environment.
Which makes sense, given the demographics of the group.
According to Pew Research, the ‘post-millennial’ generation is the most ethnically and racially diverse one yet, with a near majority (48%) of them being non-white.
But their sense of social responsibility doesn’t end at race.
The environment, rising wealth gaps, gender inequality, animal welfare, and other pertinent social issues represent a large part of why this generation is motivated to do what they do.
Working at a company is no longer only a means to the end of being financially stable. It’s a way of producing social good and meaningful change in the world.
Hopefully, your client is already up-to-speed with its own social responsibility measures and manifestos.
If they aren’t, don’t expect the business’s phone to be ringing off the hook with young candidates.
Make sure to clearly underline your client company’s purpose and social values when crafting your postings.
Describe how their participation will contribute to the good that the company promises in its social responsibility claims.
Arrange charity drives for worthwhile causes that showcase your values and let employees give back to their communities.
5. Find their “digital homes” & recruit from there
Sometimes stereotypes are true. Gen Z does spend more time on social media than any other generation.
You can even call these apps ‘digital homes’ rather than simple media channels.
They build communities on social media platforms. Start businesses, do genuinely important networking.
Instead of forcing them through archaic job application processes and portals, get up-to-speed by thinking about how you can integrate your recruitment process with socials.
Social media represents a powerful tool for discovery, contact, and even full-on recruitment of candidates, sometimes without ever leaving the app.
You don’t automatically have to focus on TikTok to “reach the kids.”
Depending on your industry, there may be more appropriate platforms for recruitment. But don’t discount any single platform out of reflex.
If it suits the nature of the company and role, TikTok could very well be the perfect place to identify potential candidates.
Alongside this effort, it’s important for your clients to have developed a strong social media presence themselves. Not only in terms of content but also in range — if your company isn’t everywhere already, consider signing up for the whole gamut of social media sites.
Great talent may be hiding there! But just signing up isn’t enough.
You need to actively create content suitable to each platform. However, don’t try to repurpose a Facebook post for TikTok.
6. Identify the most powerful incentives for them
It’s so important to be recognized.
Given the rough ride they’ve experienced thus far in life as it relates to economics and finances, zoomers naturally have the desire to be seen and catered to in increasingly personal ways.
Don’t assume that your decades-old approach will be just as effective to a generation in a world where the word ‘unprecedented’ has been used as much as it has.
Do the work to find out what it is your candidate desires most, specifically.
For example, these travel nursing companies discovered that trainee nurses are motivated by both gaining experience and the opportunity to explore the world.
Accordingly, they’ve capitalized on this combination of desires by offering positions abroad for newly-graduated nurses.
It may not be remote work or travel, but you can offer other incentives like healthcare for US candidates or a company car for candidates living and working in remote areas that ignites interest in your young workforce.
Or, if you want to hire software developers, you can offer a stipend for hackathons and other learning opportunities.
The point is, you won’t know until you do the research.
With that in place, you’ll have a strong competitive advantage in the recruitment space when it comes to young talent.
How to attract young top talent?
Thankfully, the most effective and time-honored recruitment strategies aren’t completely useless when it comes to post-millennial generations.
It’s not as if salary, benefits, and the opportunity to develop as a professional have lost all their power and meaning in the recruitment space over recent years.
Change of the generational kind happens slowly. It’s our job to recognize these changes and prod the existing system in the right direction.
With this generation, you can still use tried and trusted techniques and incentives.
But don’t ignore the importance of life in the digital space, the broader economic realities these young recruits face, and the increasing desire to do social good in the world.
Vikas Kalwani is a product-led growth marketer and B2B Marketing Specialist skilled in SEO, Content Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. He manages partnerships at uSERP and is a mentor at 500 Global.