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Gen Z Recruiting Trends: How to Effectively Engage and Hire the Next Generation of Workers 

4 Mins read

With Gen Z now entering the workforce in larger numbers, recruiting this demographic requires employers to reexamine the tactics they’ve relied on for decades, including creating digital-first experiences for a digitally-native generation.

Gen Zers have very different values, preferences, and priorities when looking for a job. Below are five key characteristics of this generation of workers and the top three digital recruiting trends for attracting this next wave of job candidates entering the workforce.

5 Key Characteristics of Gen Z Workers

1—Stable & Secure

In contrast to many millennials, whose cravings for unique experiences led to a generation-wide reputation for excessive job-hopping, Gen Zers plan on sticking with an employer for more extended periods. One study found that nearly half of new graduates named security and stability in their jobs a top career goal. This contrasts sharply with compensation and work-life balance concerns of new job seekers just half a decade ago.

And who can blame them? As younger children, many watched their parents and older siblings experience one financial setback after another while struggling through The Great Recession in 2007 and record-high unemployment rates in 2020.

2—Diverse, Equitable & Inclusive

Gen Z is the most diverse generation in the U.S. According to Pew Research, 52% are non-Hispanic whites. Regarding workplace priorities, Gen Zers view employer values as almost as important as salary regarding a potential position, including diversity.

Demonstrating a company culture committed to inclusivity upfront during the hiring process provides candidates a window into their future of working for that company, creating a sense of belonging and buy-in from the onset.

3—Politically-Engaged

Gen Zers are politically motivated—voting in higher numbers than the previous generation (55%  vs. 46.1%). And the values driving the youngest generation to the polls are overwhelmingly more progressive than those of previous generations. Gen Zers expect both their elected officials and employers to embrace policies with a progressive stance toward issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation. To attract these workers, companies must demonstrate their commitment to hiring a diverse and inclusive workforce starting with the hiring process.

4—Digital-First

Gen Z is the first generation considered to be “digital natives.” They grew up on social media and blended the digital and physical worlds like never before. In fact, 58% say they have a hard time going four hours or more without internet access.

As a result, Gen Zers now expect more and more advanced uses of technology from the organizations they build relationships with, especially their employers.

5—Flexible About When & Where Work Gets Done

At the end of 2019, 51% of college graduates rated geographic location as a “very important” part of their job search; today, that number has dropped to 39%. Even before the start of the pandemic, many planned to embrace remote work regardless of where they lived. With so many Gen Zers treating geography as more or less irrelevant to their employment, employers should do the same.

Top 3 Digital Recruiting Trends to Attract Gen Z Workers

Companies implementing a forward-thinking approach to technology, coupled with a continued prioritization of diversity and belonging, are having greater success with hiring and retention. Our 2023 global hiring trends report found that 1 in 3 companies have turned to technology to meet hiring demands with fewer resources. That includes upping their talent game with virtual interviews (70%), standardized assessments (58%), job matching technologies (53%), automation (46%), chatbots or text (40%), AI (38%) and game-based assessments (32%).

As the workforce continues to be more digitally inclined, talent teams that innovate will be much more equipped to meet the demands of the moment. Here are three current recruiting trends to engage and hire Gen Z workers more effectively.

1—Incorporate AI and texting automation to keep them engaged.

Gen Z grew up with technology– computers, the internet, social media, and texting. According to the Financial Services Job Seeker Trends Survey 2021, 79.4% of candidates prefer scheduling an interview via text over email or the phone. Not to mention, texts have a 98% open rate versus 20% with email. To engage this generation, employers must incorporate text and chat tools into their hiring approach.

Candidates can quickly reply to texts no matter where they are, and recruiters can engage 4x more candidates 5x faster than email. Plus, text-powered chatbots pre-screen candidates and allow them to schedule and reschedule interviews from the ease of their phones.

2—Promote flexibility with on-demand video interviewing.

Did you know that 42% of the HireVue interviews completed in 2021 were conducted outside normal business hours? The hiring experience is a reflection of the employee experience. In fact, 78% say the overall candidate experience indicates how a company values its people, making an elevated one a powerful competitive advantage for employers.

Offering on-demand video interviewing allows candidates to put their best foot forward—which may not be 9-5 when there are school and work demands.

3—Use automation to promote DEI goals and mitigate unconscious bias. 

According to Intel, diversity “will be a workplace deal-breaker for Gen Z.” Over a third of Gen Zers say if given two similar offers, they would undoubtedly choose the company they perceived as more diverse and inclusive. Gen Z candidates are seeking companies that align with their values, and they’re 204% more likely to engage with that employer when candidates perceive the hiring process as fair.

Technology solutions, validated by data scientists and IO psychologists to actively combat bias, allow hiring managers to build and structure interviews with validated questions to provide the same experience for all candidates, ensuring consistency and fairness.

Key Takeaways

In today’s hiring world, experience and engagement really matter to job seekers, and that is especially true of the youngest generation of workers. Tech tools like conversational AI-powered recruiting assistants can engage job seekers wherever they are, whenever they want—and guide them through a set of easy next steps.

Employers are widely embracing tech hiring tools. Not only do they provide a better experience for candidates, but companies who automate more of their hiring process also report a significantly shorter time-to-hire, experience greater flexibility, and have an easier time identifying the best candidates.

Natalie Dopp is the Chief People Officer at HireVue, the leader in human potential intelligence, enabling organizations to elevate the hiring conversation from evaluating candidates’ credentials to understanding what they are capable of.

Gen Z stock image by PeopleImages.com – Yuri A/Shutterstock

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