How to be more appealing to Gen Z job seekers

July 22, 2021 Christina DeBusk

A smiling gen z aged worker in a warehouse

The term Generation Z refers to individuals born between 1997 and 2012, making this the youngest group to be entering the workforce today. As an employer, it’s helpful to know what job seekers in this age range are looking for when deciding where to apply for work.

This enables you to position your company (and the job opening) as one of the frontrunners for consideration. But what is it that Gen Z job seekers want?

Face-to-face communication

Since they were born in the age of the internet, it may seem that Gen Z job applicants would prefer a more digital process. However, one 2019 survey found that only one in four have a preference for digital communication while more than half (51%) reported that they favored face-to-face communication instead.

Certainly, having a digital application can help speed up new employee hiring. Just don’t forget to offer job candidates a more personal experience as well. This could include holding in-person interviews or communicating via video calls versus by email or text.

That said, a 2020 study also notes that 58% of Gen Z respondents indicated that if they go more than four hours without online access, it makes them feel uncomfortable. Providing access to a reliable, high-speed WiFi connection while on breaks can potentially help reduce this discomfort.

A personal referral

The 2019 study also found that 61.93% of Gen Z job applicants consider referrals the most valuable job search resource. In fact, referrals ranked above job boards (55.68%), company websites (55.11%), career centers (54.55%), and hiring events (51.14%).

The question you need to ask yourself is whether you are maximizing your current workforce’s networks to bring in new job candidates. If you send out employee newsletters, include a little blurb encouraging them to make referrals. Offering a referral bonus may also provide more encouragement.

A more diverse and inclusive work environment

An Intel survey reports that another important factor for Gen Z applicants is a diverse and inclusive work environment, especially concerning gender and religious beliefs. The reasons cited were because it creates a broader spectrum of experience, it means that the company puts people first, and it offers a reduced risk of encountering bias or discrimination while at work.

Creating a workplace that not only accepts but actually encourages diversity and inclusion can make your business more desirable to Gen Z candidates. Seek to hire people from different backgrounds and with different experiences. Establish a policy against discrimination with specific guidelines as to what will happen if this policy is violated.

Greater flexibility in work location

Generation Z workers like to perform their jobs “from whatever place fits into their lives” says Lauren Smith, vice president of talent acquisition research at Gartner Inc., in an article published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). For some, this may involve working from home. For others, it might be working from somewhere else.

Giving Gen Z staff the ability to choose where they perform their jobs can increase your company’s appeal. Admittedly, this isn’t always an option. But if some positions can be handled remotely either full or part-time, it may be worth considering this type of setup.

Be a socially responsible company

A survey conducted by Allegis Group revealed that Gen Z applicants would take a lower-paying job if it meant that the company that hired them was more socially responsible. Social responsibility involves taking actions that benefit society as a whole.

One way to increase social responsibility is to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Use biodegradable and recyclable products when you can and minimize waste. Another option is to actively support philanthropic causes, improving the quality of life for certain groups of people.

These are just a few ways to hire for the needs of Gen Z job applicants. Addressing these issues can make your company more desirable to these workforce newcomers.

If you are looking for more hiring tips and tricks, check out our recruitment content library here or download our free recruitment guide with creative new ideas for finding the best people for the job.

About the Author

Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.

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