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How to hire Gen Z: Highlights from iCIMS' Class of 2021 report

May 18, 2021
iCIMS Staff
3 min read

iCIMS’ Class of 2021 report surveyed HR professionals and college seniors to discover the best ways to attract, engage, hire, and advance Gen Z talent. It’s clear that there is opportunity. But to align, HR leaders will need to evaluate existing hiring processes and match them to college graduate’s expectations.

Below are some of the highlights from the Class of 2021 report. To get all the actionable insights on Gen Z graduates and those that will hire them, download the full Class of 2021 report here.

Entry-level hiring is on the rise

HR professionals in almost every industry are facing labor shortages. So, you might be shocked (and thrilled) to hear that there is a substantial increase in ready-to-work applicants. Compared to 2020, applications from ages 18-24 are up 15%! This is excellent news as 60% of HR professionals are opening new positions to entry-level hires.

To make the most of the increase, it’s a good idea to post your entry-level jobs on the platforms most popular with Gen Z. This includes third party job boards as well as your career site.

Find the top platforms for entry-level applicants in the full Class of 2021 report.

Gen Z wants face-to-face interaction

Surprisingly, Gen Z is not interested in a long-term virtual work experience. Only 2% of college seniors want to work remotely full-time. The exact reasons for this preference vary, but college students likely crave the social interaction and relationship building removed from their lives during the pandemic.

This may be a challenge for HR leaders as remote work has become a new normal. Companies may need to start thinking about a post-pandemic future where employees have the option to work in the office, remotely, or a hybrid of the two. Overall, flexible work options will be key to capitalizing on the new market of entry-level applicants.

Video remains a staple for HR professionals

Video technology is here to stay. 97% of HR professionals in the United States plan to continue using video chat and video interview platforms to conduct interviews. It’s no wonder; video interviews drastically reduce the time it takes to source and hire candidates.

Other digital tools, like text messaging, are quickly proving their worth in 2021. Texting makes it easy for recruiters to contact with candidates anywhere, anytime. And college seniors are comfortable using text to schedule interviews, receive status updates, and accept job offers. With so much synthesis between candidates and recruiters, text messaging tools will likely become an essential part of the entire talent acquisition process.

Career sites make an impact

Candidates likely research your business online before they ever talk to a recruiter. iCIMS’ Class of 2021 report found that this is especially true for Gen Z. Job seekers age 18-24 spend 40% longer reviewing a potential employer’s online presence than those over the age of 25.

Employers have an opportunity to communicate their brand, showcase their culture, and illustrate their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through social media and career sites.

It’s also important to support your words with actions. 72% of college seniors strongly expect companies to be committed to DEI hiring practices and look for it throughout their candidate journey. While pictures of a diverse workforce on your career site are helpful, speaking to a diverse hiring panel throughout the interview process has a more profound impact on Gen Z.


Want to learn more? Check out the full findings in our Class of 2021 report.

Download the Class of 2021 report here


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