Navigating Gen. Z’s Demands: 4 Tips for Negotiating Job Offers With the Newest Members of the Workforce

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As a recruiter, you know you need to stay on top of the latest workforce trends if you’re going to keep engaging top-tier talent. And the trends change often: Each new generation that enters the office has its own priorities, and that affects how you sell opportunities and negotiate offers. Millennials, for example, are well known for valuing work/life balance and flexible work arrangements.

But the latest generation to hit the scene — Generation Z — is driven more by salary, and their expectations can make negotiations particularly challenging.

See, recent research  from Clever found that Gen. Z-ers prioritize money-based incentives above the more intangible perks millennials often seek. To complicate matters, Gen. Z’s salary expectations are also higher than the national median salaries commensurate with their experience levels. In more concrete terms: The average Gen. Z undergrad expects to be earning a salary of $57,964 one year out of college, but the national median salary for recent grads with bachelor’s degrees and less than five years of experience is only $47,000.

This puts recruiters in a difficult situation: They need to find ways to successfully negotiate with Gen. Z candidates even when they cannot meet these unrealistic salary expectations.

What can a recruiter do to win over Gen. Z-ers when salary isn’t open to discussion? Here are four simple tips to help:

1. Show Them Value Beyond Salary

Gen. Z may want money, but there’s more to a job than the biweekly paycheck, and an effective recruiter will help Gen. Z candidates see beyond salary when assessing the value of a job offer.

Companies have more to offer great candidates than high salaries. For example, an excellent benefits package can go a long way in winning over Gen. Z-ers. Outstanding health care, stock options, commuting benefits, wellness perks, and even tuition reimbursement can all be highly valuable to money-conscious Gen. Z candidates.

2. Help Them Meet Their Career Goals

Take some time to really get to know what your candidate wants from their career. Not only does this help keep the candidate engaged, but it can also yield valuable insights you can use to make your job offer more enticing.

For example, Gartner found  that 23 percent of Gen. Z candidates feel career development opportunities are a top attraction when evaluating job opportunities. You can create a better offer by taking the candidate’s career goals to company leaders and asking them to commit to helping the candidate reach those goals. For instance, leadership may agree to provide the candidate with two annual development course opportunities with options for bonuses upon completion.

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

3. Bring Managers in for One-on-One Discussions

You may be the lead on negotiating, but that doesn’t mean you should be alone in the process. Manager input is essential to crafting an offer that both the Gen. Z candidate and the company find amenable.

Any candidate you hire will have their future at the company directly affected by their manager — especially in terms of that career development Gen. Z-ers want.

The Gartner study cited above found that an employee’s manager has more influence on the kind of development they receive than anyone else. Bringing the candidate’s future manager into negotiations can help get your new hire’s career development started on the right foot, and these early interactions can build trust between the company and the (eventual) new hire.

Give candidates the chance to talk with their potential managers about their career goals, and let managers show candidates how they’ll take steps to ensure those goals are met.

4. Map Out Their Future With Your Company

Just like every generation before them, Gen. Z-ers want to find meaning in their work. They care about how their work impacts others, and they want to build meaningful relationships with their coworkers. Show Gen. Z candidates that your company can give them these things — both today and in the future.

For example, you could offer candidates a chance to meet and chat with their potential team members, either in person or via video. You could share with your candidates details about initiatives in development that will change the way they work. Consider also sharing stories of other employees who held the same role this candidate will have: How did those employees grow with your company?

Show your Gen. Z candidate that your company can be a strong, long-term career choice, and they’ll be more likely to lower their salary demands.

As a final note, Gen. Z-ers may like the money, but they’re also very big on diversity and inclusion (D&I). According to an EY survey, 63 percent of Gen. Z-ers feel it is important to work on teams of people with diverse education and skill levels, and 20 percent feel it is most essential for teams to include people of various cultures. Be sure to highlight your company’s D&I initiatives throughout your interactions with Gen. Z candidates to further drive home the point that your company is the right place for them.

Josh Tolan is the CEO of video interview solution Spark Hire. Connect with Spark Hire on Facebook  and Twitter.

By Josh Tolan