4 Mistakes Every Company Makes When Recruiting Generation Z — and What to Do About Them

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A new generation is now entering the global workforce — one that Deloitte calls the most educated generation to date. How will the arrival of Generation Z affect your recruiting strategy ?

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind right off the bat is that, like any generation, Gen. Z has its own unique tendencies, priorities, and needs. That means the hiring strategies that used to work with millennials may rub Gen. Z-ers the wrong way.

As a result, many organizations are unknowingly turning Gen. Z-ers away from their companies with recruiting tactics that simply don’t speak to the newest members of the workforce. Here are four common errors employers make when attempting to court Gen. Z — and some advice on how to do better:

1. Failing to Go Digital

If you think millennials are tech-savvy, wait until you see what Gen. Z can do. This is the first generation to grow up with smart devices and high-speed internet, so it’s no wonder that a recent survey of more than 12,000 Gen. Z students found 80 percent of them aspire to work with cutting-edge technologies.

As a result of their tech-enabled lives, Gen. Z candidates have certain expectations regarding how recruiters should engage them. Lengthy emails and paper forms won’t grab this generation’s attention. Gen. Z candidates would much rather be contacted through social media sites and speedy text messages.

Your business’s website is also a vital portal connecting you to Gen. Z candidates. If your company doesn’t have a well-designed, easy-to-navigate website, it might as well not exist in the eyes of Generation Z. Because Gen. Z-ers routinely access the internet through mobile devices, you need to ensure your website looks just as good on a smartphone as it does on a desktop.

2. Focusing on Flashy Perks Instead of Traditional Benefits

Growing up in the shadow of the Great Recession and, now, the COVID-19 pandemic, Generation Z is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a particularly risk-averse bunch. Today’s turbulent job market only makes Gen. Z crave stability even more.

These young candidates are prioritizing security and long-term career growth in their job searches. Cool perks like nap areas, snacks, and drinks make little impression on Gen. Z. What they really want to know about are your essential benefits, like health insurance, salary, paid time off, and potential career plans. Despite their young age, Gen. Z-ers are actively concerned with saving for retirement. Perks that might sound dry, like a 401(k), might be key selling points for these candidates.

The takeaway: Be sure to foreground conventional benefits and career development plans when trying to capture the attention of up-and-coming Gen. Z candidates.

Check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine for more career advice and recruiting trends:

3. Neglecting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Generation Z places a high priority on a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. According to research from Intel, 34 percent of Generation Z candidates say diversity is a deciding factor in where they choose to work. Furthermore, 56 percent said they would hesitate to work for an organization that does not have a diverse senior leadership team.

What does this mean for your company? Generation Z has certain expectations for diversity. If your organization fails to display any meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, you’ll likely struggle to attract Gen. Z candidates.

4. Not Being Responsive

Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people. We’ve all accidentally given a candidate the silent treatment before. And while candidates of all generations find the radio silence distasteful, Gen. Z-ers are particularly unhappy with it.

Why is this the case? Gen. Z-ers are used to the interconnected, interactive world of social media, where information can be easily shared with people across the globe in a matter of seconds. They know it’s easy to communicate in the digital age, so they’re less willing to accept the silent treatment.

There’s also the risk that Gen. Z-ers will share their negative experiences with their social networks. On the flip-side, if you deliver a positive candidate experience, they may share those stories, too. Best to play it safe and stay in touch.

One of the easiest ways to avoid the silent treatment is to let candidates know when they’ve been rejected right away. Sure, rejection hurts, but candidates would rather know where they stand than be left in the dark. Plus, there are ways to write effective rejection notices to ensure the relationship ends on a positive note.

With their technological prowess and open minds, Gen. Z candidates can be powerful additions to your business. If you want to take advantage of the new talent entering the marketplace today, be sure to update your recruiting tactics. Remember: You’re appealing to a totally different audience now.

Ha Minh Nghia is a junior marketing executive at Rakuna.

By Ha Minh Nghia