The race for Gen Z talent has definitely commenced. Defined as those born anytime from the late 1990s to early 2000s, this cohort (also known as the iGen or post-Millennials) is either graduating from college this month or they’re just a few years away. This is the first time in post-Industrial Revolution history that we’ll have five generations in the workplace: Silents (some of whom still haven’t retired), Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. So it makes sense that there’s been lots of discussion around the generational differences in the workplace. (See Dice’s recent article on the differences between recruiting Gen Z vs. Millennials.) This particular article is a roadmap to what these new college grads want from companies, and methods you can use to attract them. But we do need a standard caveat up front: It’s impossible to generalize about millions of people. While some members of Gen Z may resemble Baby Boomer attitudes, we’re speaking to the average here. So with that said, let’s start by addressing the big elephant in the room:
Your Social Media Recruiting BudgetThe social breakdown for Gen Z is typically:
- Facebook: No
- LinkedIn: No
- Twitter: Somewhat
- Instagram: Yes
- Snapchat: Yes
- Pinterest: Yes (heavily female)
- Amount of recruitment marketing done on those platforms.
- Engagement rates.
- ROI (direct applications from links in profile, etc.).
- Broader industry data on how competitors are successfully using Snap and Instagram.
- A 3-, 6-, and 12-month plan to share with your current social media marketing team and talent acquisition decision-makers.
Once You’ve Got That budget, Start EarlyAccording to a Universum study of nearly 50,000 high school graduates, Gen Z is thinking about entering the workforce now. Around 47 percent said they would consider a job right out of high school, and 60 percent said they would welcome offers from employers that provide education in lieu of a college degree (more on this in a second). The takeaway: Today is the day to build out your post-Millennial recruitment strategy.
Community, Niche Job Boards and the Résumé Black HoleGen Z is the first generation that had full-scale tech access from the time they were in the womb. They are generally going to get it. They know how to find what they need online. The same goes for job boards. If they see big players such as LinkedIn and Indeed as impersonal résumé black holes (which they are to many applicants), they will find another way to connect with the company, which ultimately will be content. Just as traditional marketing practices have been pushed aside, so too will traditional recruitment activities. The theme here is that your candidates want to learn—and it’s your job to provide them with the opportunity to do so. Your next-step: Study the STEM programs of Ford and the content plays of Etsy, Whole Foods and REI. All of these have married employer, consumer and recruitment brands into one easy-to-love digestible media site.
Rotational Programs, Competitions and TrainingAt our HRTX DC event, we hosted a panel on new approaches to university recruiting. A TA professional from AKQA talked about the “Future Lions” program, which is a global student competition to attract the best talent possible. The winners receive an offer to any AKQA office in the world and an apartment for a year. Most companies admittedly cannot do this on the same scale as AKQA, but there is potential for local hackathons or problem-solving competitions (i.e., case study competitions) to draw out some of the best talent in your area, including from local colleges. Let’s look at learning. Some Gen Z are going to consider trading conventional higher education (i.e., college) for on-the-job training. In fact, at our HRTX event in Atlanta, recruiters from Home Depot were telling us they see this regularly. They’re increasingly interviewing 21-year-olds with “insane Excel skills” (a quote from one of the recruiters) but no official higher education background that a recruiter would normally gravitate towards. Maybe it’s worth creating an incubation-style program for 17-to-20-year-olds where you drill crucial workplace skills by function and take the best of the best into full-time roles? Another idea from Home Depot: implement rotational programs. Both Home Depot and Georgia Pacific have done just that because they understand that their new recruits have an attention span of about seven months. Both are seeing that active movement in the organization, learning and meaningful projects have taken precedence over other perks.
Focus on the Individual, Intentionalize Diversity and Drive GrowthThe idea is simple: You don’t recruit to the masses. You recruit to the one if you’re doing it right. Understand what that candidate needs, assuming you think they can bring you something in return. Most people, regardless of age, want the same factors from a job:
- The opportunity to work on projects of interest.
- Compensation they perceive as fair.