3 Ways to Attract the Next Generation of Talent

August 2, 2018

For over a decade now, the media has fixated on the millennial generation – wondering who they are, how to reach them and what future employers should expect. But as the oldest of this generation enter their mid-30’s, it’s time to make way for a new demographic of job seekers. Coined, Generation Z, this group is typically regarded as those born in 1995 or later and make up the most significant percentage of the U.S. population – more than 25 percent.

Although Gen Z-ers aren’t vastly different from their predecessors, catering to these newly minted professionals requires a slightly altered approach. From their lightning-speed technology use to their emphasis on giving back, Gen Z’s priorities have shifted, and recruiters need to address the challenges and expectations that this new group will bring to the recruitment industry. With the first members of this cohort graduating college this year, here are three ways recruiters can get a head start on attracting Generation Z talent.

1. Start with an Employee Referral Program

Gen Z-ers talk, a lotrating “word of mouth” as the third go-to place to receive news, according to a recent report by Talking Dog, a full -service, student-run agency at the University of Georgia. While lack of trust is at an all-time high, Gen Z places a notable (and surprising) amount of confidence in others as news sources.

Today’s sophisticated candidate rarely trusts “blind” recruitment. Instead, job seekers want to know the benefits and opportunities for development at their potential future place of employment, and your employees should be your best spokespeople.

In this highly social generation, consistent interaction with social media and the tendency to job-hop will mean much higher engagement with social job postings. Starting with your talent acquisition software platform, employers should look to implement a well-functioning and sustainable employee referral program that makes it effortless for employees to share open positions on their respective social sites. Plan to engage employees as “brand ambassadors” and encourage them to spread the word about open opportunities.

The results of executing a robust ERP are mutually beneficial. Employers reported a decrease in critical metrics such as cost-per-hire, time-to-fill, and turnover, and referred employees reported overall higher job satisfaction, better cultural fit and more preparedness to execute on their job duties. With a thriving employee referral program, your current talent pool can and should be your company’s best hiring source.

2. Implement a Mobile Recruitment Strategy

Sure, millennials were tech-savvy; iPods and MySpace defined their teenage years. But most Gen Z’s barely remember life before smartphones.  Everything in their world is immediate, including their communication.

Gen Z-ers are adept at multitasking and thrive in a dynamic environment but also understand that their attention spans are limited to the screen in front of them.  Convenience is key. As the first generation of solely digital users, Gen Z-ers do not view electronics as a luxury but more a necessity and the only way to communicate.  Companies should capitalize on the mobile movement and look to utilize innovative technology.

Gen Z-er’s ranked texting as their most preferred means of communication, and in a world where 90 percent of text messages are read within the first three minutes of being received, integrating mobile recruiting options should be top of mind for recruiters. Moving beyond the traditional means of email enables Generation Z job seekers to text-in and apply to career openings from anywhere, at any time. Concentrate on widening the range of candidate communication and engage applicants instantaneously by leveraging text as a recruitment medium.

3. Capitalize on Company Culture

In contrast with their millennial predecessors, when asked to rank the criteria of consideration for staying in a job for more than three years, Generation Z respondents overwhelmingly agreed that empowering work culture is the most important asset a company could offer, with a high salary and raises falling significantly behind. Gen Z-ers are intrinsically motivated and are likely to seek out a purpose-driven workplace that emphasizes giving back and fosters a winning employee value proposition.

Create a company culture that rewards curiosity and ambition by providing the internal mobility, mentorship, and professional development Gen Z craves, along with the transparency and flexibility they and millennials both cherish. Consider supporting a charitable cause and establishing corporate social responsibility programs that appeal to this causal-driven demographic. Successful organizations today are not merely implementing corporate philanthropy as an aside project but instead upholding it as a critical identifier for their brands.

Brand engagement is pivotal to attracting the best Generation Z talent, and recruitment efforts should go where the candidates are: on social media. With 52 percent leveraging social media as a research tool, don’t be surprised if candidates are turning to Instagram to gain a better sense of your company’s day-to-day.

To meet Gen Z’s exacting standards, employers should focus on controlling employment brand perception through social and mobile channels and establish a clear message of company culture across all platforms.

Connecting with Generation Z requires a fair amount of preparation to embrace the modern trends which have defined the lives of this talent pool.  Utilizing social media, mobile communication, and employee referral programs are effective ways to pique interest in your company, especially among youth. Implementing an inclusive, value-based company culture will ensure that Gen Z will remain engaged, loyal employees who will lead the business into the future.

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