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Gen Z Recruitment: 5 ‘Iconic’ Ways to Hire & Retain Early Talent

They’re changing language, creating new trends, and probably type faster than you can speak — but who is Gen Z? And what do you need to know about Gen Z recruitment exactly? 

The definition of Gen Z

Generation Z is made up of those born between 1997-2012, representing almost 70 million 7-22 years old in America. In business, Gen Zers will be the youngest team members — also known as “early talent” — and, overtime, the future leaders. 

But that’s not to say Gen Z are a minority in today’s workplaces.

Generation Z is made up of those born between 1997-2012, representing almost 70 million 7-22 years old in America. In business, Gen Zers will be the youngest team members — also known as “early talent” — and, overtime, the future leaders.

According to Pew Research

In fact, by the end of 2020, this cohort is predicted to make up around 24% of the global workforce. That’s why Gen Z is so important — they’re the future of business, and represent an opportunity for brands to grow, adapt, and remain relevant. 

5 essentials for Gen Z recruitment

As a demographic, Generation Z exhibits very different traits to both the Millennials and Generation X that came before them.

1. Gen Z expect tech, so you need a digital recruitment strategy

Gen Z has an intrinsic relationship with technology. They’re the first generation of digital natives, and tech is a central part of their day-to-day lives. 

“For recruiters, your use of technology has to go above and beyond

Sure, we all rely on technology far more than in recent years — especially in the workplace. But for Generation Z, tech is more than just an app or a smartphone, it’s fundamental to how they relax, learn, work, play, shop, communicate — you name it, technology is part of it. 

For recruiters, your use of technology has to go above and beyond. An online application process, on its own, just isn’t going to cut it anymore. You need to think bigger — to show that your business empathizes with, and respects, their needs.

If you already provide work laptops and phones, then you’re on the right track. Over 90% of Gen Z expects their employers to provide these tools.

What’s more, you should invest in a strong — and relevant — social media presence, particularly on the platforms that matter most (Snapchat and Instagram). Relevancy is pivotal as Gen Z will see straight through tokenism and empty efforts. The secret lies in using social media to entice new talent. How about sharing videos of what life in your office is like? Or create video case studies of your newest recruits? 

2. Gen Z’s relationship with technology makes them crave human connection, too 

Despite their reliance on technology, social interaction is still very important to Gen Z. In fact, 90% of them crave human connection in the workplace, and almost 60% would rather work in a team than on their own. 

You might be wondering how this works with the increase in demand for remote working roles, and therein lies your challenge: you need to create the flexible, tech-forward setup that Gen Z has come to expect, while still creating and nurturing a culture of collaboration.

During recruitment drives, celebrate your commitment to both online and offline team building. And don’t forget to maximize on in-person recruitment opportunities, like Gen Z college recruitment and employment fairs. After all, this cohort ranks college career centers and job fairs nearly twice as high as Millennials before them.

This emphasis on physical touch-points will continue to be important throughout the employee lifecycle, too — and goes a long way to retaining the Gen Z talent you have onboard.

No amount of technology will ever replace human interaction. So set up frequent meetings, video calls, group chats, and other opportunities for inter-team engagement, whether in person or through a screen.

Stuck for ideas? Head here: 4 Inclusive Employee Engagement Ideas for Remote Teams.

3. Gen Z is the ambitious generation yet — you can win them, and keep them, with a clear and exciting trajectory

Gen Z craves career progression, success in the workplace, and the money that comes with it — for good reason, too. 

Having grown up through the financial crash — witnessing its impact on both a macro and micro level — today’s young professionals are more risk-averse when it comes to long-term security. They’re looking to make an impact quickly, with 75% of this generation expecting promotion within their first year at a company. 

“Leave your Gen Z employees bored or unchallenged, and you risk losing them altogether.” 

Of course, this also translates to salary expectations, too. Pay packet is a significant driving factor when applying for jobs, and money-focused incentives carry far more weight with this cohort than with their predecessors, the Millennials.

So when recruiting this generation, don’t hold back on promoting the remuneration on offer. A competitive salary, along with a healthy benefits package, will be key to attracting (and retaining) the very best of this ambitious generation. 

Don’t forget to invest in their growth and development, too. Leave your Gen Z employees bored or unchallenged, and you risk losing them altogether. 

4. It’s not all about the money, however…

Financial payback is certainly a driving force in Gen Z recruitment — but it’s not everything

45% of this generation want work that has meaning and purpose, while almost 70% expect brands to care about social issues, like climate change and inequality. So Gen Z employees don’t just want to work for an organization that pays well. They also want to see their employer caring about the world; contributing to it in an ethical and sustainable way.

Be clear about your ethics as a company right from the start, and invest in ways of empowering Gen Z team members to get involved in the organization’s wide social and environmental purpose. If you’re not sure how to do so, or what that would look like, why not ask an early talent recruit to take the lead?

5. For Generation Z, diversity is everything — so it has to be for you, too

To start with, Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet. In the US, 48% of them are non-white, and around half identify as non-heterosexual

It’s no surprise, then, that this trailblazing generation cares deeply about diversity in the workplace, with over 80% believing that a company’s commitment to inclusivity could influence whether they want to work there at all.

The diversity, and views, of Gen Z creates a number of challenges — and, indeed, opportunities — that all recruiters have got to embrace. 

Businesses, first and foremost, should look to develop inclusive application processes that are open and fair to all. They also need to ensure that their recruitment messaging is speaking directly to the values of a diverse crowd, and that — as a result — they’re able to build truly inclusive workforces that reflect the lived experiences, and values, of Generation Z.

As the world’s first diversity driven applicant matching and management system, Headstart is helping businesses across the world boost their diversity by up to 18%, automate the entire process, and save on average $2 million a year.  


If you’re committed to making recruitment fair for everyone, book a free demo to learn more about how we can transform your Gen Z recruitment process, today. 

Headstart is on a mission to transform the way organisations hire! We are the world's first diversity driven Applicant Matching and Management System. We use Machine Learning and Data Science to transform the recruitment process, enabling clients to find the right high potential employees regardless of gender, ethnic status, sexual orientation or age.

With major brands like Accenture publicly supporting our mission, Headstart is already improving the recruitment experience for candidates around the world.

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