Just as your company has mastered recruiting Millennials, Gen Z has started to enter the workforce – requiring a reevaluation of your hiring process. 

Gen Z covers those born roughly around the mid to late 1990s, meaning at this moment Gen Zer’s range from nine to 24 years old. They are the first generation of so-called “digital natives,” having grown up completely immersed in the internet. Smartphones, touch screens, and apps have been the norm since their childhood; unlike Millennials, who can remember a time before the internet, Gen Z has strong tech skills, the ability to multitask, and the desire for personalized, custom-built experiences. 

It’s this outlook that recruiters must recognize in their hiring process. Here’s how this generation will inspire a new approach to recruiting in the coming decade. 

Take a tech-first approach

The term “digital native” is more than just a buzzword. Gen Z has grown up in a hyper-connected environment: they expect to be able to do everything on their smartphone. Companies must have a mobile-first recruitment strategy to find and source talented Gen Z candidates. 

Mobile-first recruiting is more involved than simply optimizing your careers page for viewing on a mobile device. Keep in mind some of these key elements:

  • Use the right social networks. “Major corporations like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Goldman Sachs have already begun using Snapchat, Generation Z’s favorite social media platform, to up their recruiting game with young people just entering the workforce. It’s a clever strategy that has helped big brands get ahead of the curve in recruiting future leaders,” wrote one hiring expert on LinkedIn. Gen Z uses and discards social media networks quickly; what might work one month won’t be as popular six months later. Work with your marketing team to help your recruiters learn on which social media platforms Gen Zer’s are most active at any given time. 
  • Avoid too much text. Unfortunately, on a mobile device, your job description is competing with apps, alerts, and text messages. There’s much more noise you have to cut through to capture the attention of a mobile job seeker. Craft your job descriptions for people with short attention spans. Keep your requirements short; only offer the key information someone would need to apply. Other details can be shared in later parts of the hiring process.
  • Add “click to apply.” CareerBuilder found that 83% of job seekers want to answer fewer than 15 questions in a job application. Make it as simple as possible to apply with a one-click application or LinkedIn profile upload option. 
  • Make interviews mobile-friendly. The entire hiring process needs to be mobile-friendly, not just the application submission step. Look for a video interview tools like Codility and Xobin that are accessible via smartphone app. Allow candidates to perform a skill test through their mobile device to help streamline moving the best talent through each stage of the hiring process. 

Invest in the right HR tech now in order to prepare for the influx of Gen Z applicants. The right software and platforms can help you manage digital applicants without sacrificing the relationship your recruiters build with a candidate. 

Get visual

Speaking of building a relationship: Gen Z wants the hiring process to feel personal. Though members of this generation are technologically proficient, that doesn’t mean they want devices to replace human interaction. Talent acquisition software firm Yello reports that “more than half of Gen Zers [prefer] face-to-face over digital communication in the recruiting process.” 

Face-to-face doesn’t necessarily mean in-person, noted Fast Company. “Gen Z doesn’t equate face-to-face with in-person,” reported one expert. “Employers should use mobile-first video interviewing technology with live and on-demand interviewing. This helps recruiters and hiring managers reach and communicate with Gen Z in a manner that they prefer, through technology that’s already in their hands nearly 24/7.”

Smaller recruiting teams can make use of videos and content marketing to help personalize their company. Empower your employees to post regularly on social media channels and don’t be shy about highlighting life within your organization. Experts say the more you can humanize the brand, the more connected Gen Z will feel to the opportunity. 

Let them retain their independence

The experts at Spark Hire note, “Gen Z has the potential to become the most independent generation ever seen. Growing up, almost any question they had could be immediately answered using Google, reading advice columns, and watching do-it-yourself projects. As a result, Gen Z will differentiate from other generations seeking entrepreneurship, independence, and purpose when looking for employers.” 

This is potentially the area where Millennials and Gen Z differ the most. Millennials like collaborative work environments; Gen Z wants to be left to their own devices (literally). Your recruiting team should highlight flexible work policies, private office space, or competitive salaries to appeal to the work style of Gen Z candidates. Show Gen Z candidates who they can achieve career success by investing in individualized personal development plans and one-on-one mentorships. This is a workforce that’s motivated to reach their goals without a lot of micro-management or oversight.

Elevate Talent helps our partners find and hire the best go-to-market and people operations talent in the market. Get in touch and follow us on LinkedIn.

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