What you should know about hiring Gen Z

what you should know about hiring gen z

Generation Z is entering the workforce in droves, and many Gen Zers are becoming your potential hires.

Will your existing hiring strategy work?

Gen Z encompasses around 32% of the world’s population and is unique, with strong opinions, values, and beliefs. 

They’re similar to millennials, but they have distinct differences.

Generation Z prioritizes meaningful work, whereas millennials want career growth. Workplace flexibility engages 77% of Gen Zers versus 30% of millennials.

That’s just scratching the surface of this diverse generation. Generation Z wants things bigger and better – and they ask for and expect them.

Let’s go in depth into what makes Generation Z different, what they prioritize, and the top tips for hiring them.

Table of contents

A quick intro to Generation Z

If you’ve got a handle on Gen Zers, you can skip straight to the hiring tips.

Generation Z is the generation of individuals born from 1997 to 2012, which means they’re now entering the workforce.

The US alone has 65 million Gen Zers, nearly a quarter of the country’s total population.

By 2025, millennials and Gen Z will make up 75% of the global workforce, and by 2030, one-third of the workforce will be Gen Z alone.

This means that many of your potential candidates are Gen Z.

Like any other generation, Generation Z has unique characteristics, preferences, and quirks.

Regarding schooling, 30% of Gen Z majors in science and social science, with only 12% majoring in business and 10% in health care.

What about their attitude toward learning and development in their careers?

Gen Z is intensely passionate about professional development, with 40% of Gen Zers willing to accept a pay cut of 5% for a better chance at career growth. This is pretty impressive, considering only 26% of members of other generations would do the same.

Another vital factor to consider is the connection between Generation Z and technology.

Generation Zers are digital natives, born and raised in a world where technology is not a mere tool but an extension of themselves.

Here are some Gen Z tech statistics:

Gen Z tech statistics

It pays to keep your tech stack routinely updated to attract Gen Zers.

Now let’s discuss hiring and managing Gen Z in the workplace.

How do Gen Zers look for jobs?

The first step when hiring Gen Z is to be aware of how they look for jobs.

Knowing this will enable you to tweak and personalize your hiring strategy to better attract the Gen Z talent you’re after.

Generation Z has a strong connection to people, trusting referrals from friends and acquaintances over more traditional job-hunting methods such as job boards and career centers.

Here are the top ways Gen Z prefers to find jobs:

  • 61.93% prioritize referrals
  • 55.68% use job boards
  • 55.11% rely on company websites
  • 54.55% prefer career centers
  • 51.14% attend hiring events

Technology also affects how Gen Z finds work since 54% won’t complete the application process if it is outdated, and 26% would hesitate to accept a job because of a lack of recruiting technology.

It pays to stay on top of digital trends with your hiring strategy, such as by extending your recruitment through social media and adopting skills-based online tests.

Video is another essential digital aspect to consider when hiring Generation Z: 74% of Gen Zers want face-to-face contact with colleagues – although they don’t always equate this with in-person interaction.

To a Gen Zer, face-to-face contact can mean video interviews, video meetings, and touching base on FaceTime.

What does Gen Z value?

Generation Z has unique and strong values.

Their priorities include a high salary, a good work-life balance, and a socially conscious employer.

Ethics are important when choosing a job, with 80% of Gen Z employees leaving their current positions to seek jobs that align better with their values.

This also means that Gen Z prioritizes a work culture they identify with. 

So what else does Gen Z look for in a workplace aside from ethics?

The top five workplace trends favored by Gen Z are:

  1. Free meals in the office
  2. Casual dress code
  3. Games in the office
  4. Team happy hours/events
  5. Work from home/remotely

Remote work is a priority for Generation Zers, but they also want in-person events and activities. Gen Z is a generation interested in a balance between in-office and remote work.

But we’ll touch on that later.

Gen Zers move between jobs quickly, have higher expectations, and are less likely to put up with conditions they find unsatisfactory. 

Therefore, you may have to work harder to recruit and retain them.

More than 25% of Generation Z employees are likely to leave their jobs in the next 12 months. The top three reasons are:

  1. Unsatisfactory salary
  2. Burnout and lack of work-life balance
  3. Not doing what they’re passionate about

Generation Z’s beliefs and opinions are at the center of their decisions. This extends to Gen Z’s strong ties to diversity and inclusion:

  • 48% of Gen Zers are racial or ethnic minorities, which makes them the most racially diverse generation
  • 88% of Gen Zers think it’s important for employers to use preferred pronouns
  • 69% of Generation Z said they would “absolutely” be more likely to apply to a job with a diverse workplace

Showing your commitment to diversity and inclusion is a powerful way to attract top talent. An excellent way to do this is to reduce bias by adopting skills-based hiring practices.

7 tips for attracting and hiring Gen Z talent

Learning how to hire Gen Z doesn’t have to be complicated.

Adopting specific techniques will give your company a powerful edge in attracting new talent, from offering learning and development opportunities to upgrading your digital hiring processes.

Here’s a summary of our top seven tips for hiring Gen Z:

Use campus recruitmentWork with universities to hire fresh talent upon graduation
Offer flexible working arrangementsHybridize your workplace to offer remote and in-office work
Personalize your communication strategyCommunicate in the way that Gen Z relates to (and prefers)
Display your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiativesMake a strong stance and display it
Build a strong employee influencer and referral networkUse existing employees to show life at your company
Make use of pre-interview skills testingUpgrade your tech stack and display your unbiased processes by adopting online skills testing
Offer learning and development opportunitiesOffer professional development programs and growth opportunities to entice new hires

Let’s look at these tips more closely.

7 tips for attracting and hiring Gen Z talent

1. Use campus recruitment

Campus recruitment is the process of seeking out and hiring recent graduates and students nearing the completion of their studies.

It usually involves partnering with educational institutions to set up job fairs on campus to hire directly from colleges and universities.

Since even the oldest Gen Zers are only in their mid-twenties, universities are an excellent place to find them. 

One study shows just how early Gen Z starts job searching, as highlighted in the graph below:

Campus recruitment is a cost-effective way to reach a large volume of Gen Z candidates. Students are also eager for it because 35% of them expect more than one job offer when they graduate. 

Businesses should be ready to implement campus recruitment, and many already are. One study showed that 62% of organizations plan to engage in college-specific hiring events.

Campus recruitment lets you connect with candidates face to face and display your company’s values and ethics – two significant factors for Gen Zers considering a job.

After the recruitment fair, put the best candidates through pre-employment testing to narrow down your choices.

2. Offer flexible working arrangements

Flexible working arrangements are a high priority for Generation Z.

They don’t just want a good work-life balance and fluid schedules – they expect them.

A January 2022 LinkedIn survey showed that 72% of Gen Zers have left or considered leaving a job because it didn’t offer a feasible flexible work policy.

Gen Zers prefer hybrid working environments because most want the option of remote work, but 75% want in-person feedback, and 39% want to communicate with their team in person.

The American transport service Lyft announced in March 2022 that they were switching to a fully hybrid work environment.

Hybrid work at Lyft means that employees can work in-office, at home, or a combination of the two.

Lyft chose this model to not only comply with a growing want and need for remote work but also retain a strong in-person office-life culture.

This hybrid combination is optimal when hiring Generation Z.

Lauren Smith, the vice president of talent acquisition research at Gartner Inc., says Gen Z expects a job to offer flexible work options so that they can work from whatever place fits their lifestyle.

Gen Z puts a strong emphasis on independence and freedom, so a more flexible, relaxed work schedule is a priority.

3. Personalize your communication strategy

Using the proper communication channels can be the difference between gaining a new hire and losing a great candidate in any circumstance, but it’s especially important when hiring Gen Z.

Generation Zers grew up in the height of modern technology and subsequently developed a strong attachment to it, particularly texting.

In one study, 44% of Gen Z consumers said they check text notifications within one minute of receiving them, which is 27% faster than the national average.

Email is also a top communication channel for Gen Z.

Most Generation Zers receive fewer than 20 emails daily, but 58% still check their email multiple times a day.

Email is a great tool to help update them on the hiring process.

Candidates stay more engaged with frequent, personalized emails and text messages regarding their hiring status.

Generation Z applicants want to receive communication frequently and fast – the faster, the better. Nearly one in five Gen Z candidates believe that recruiters should extend a job offer within five days of the first interview.

You can speed up your hiring process by quickly evaluating candidates using pre-employment testing.

Then, when you’re ready to make a formal offer, reach out with a thoughtful onboarding package or personalized letter to let them know.

4. Display your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives

Generation Z regards diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) highly, and they want the organization they work for to do the same.

Gen Z strongly believes in social responsibility, social justice, and equality. They also prioritize mental health, with 66% of Gen Zers wanting to see more investment in mental health and wellness.

When hiring and managing Gen Z, it pays to prioritize value alignment by making your DEI initiatives clear.

Hannah Bartle, a 23-year-old field marketing co-ordinator, says that when job searching, nothing comes into play more than the pride you would feel working for the company.

You can easily weave your values into your hiring process with our Culture Add test so that candidates know how highly you value your culture and ethics up front.

Gen Z wants to see your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in action – they won’t just take your word for it. One study showed that 58% of college seniors look for proof of diversity during the hiring process.

Here are some ways to show them that your business embraces diversity:

  • Engage in bias-free hiring
  • Form employee resource groups
  • Display employee video testimonials
  • Have a chief diversity officer

Make DEI an integral part of your branding by incorporating it into your landing page, hiring strategy, and social media presence. It’s beneficial to your Gen Z hiring initiative to be one of the 40% of companies that display their commitment to diversity on their website.

5. Build a strong employee influencer and referral network

An employee influencer program is a marketing and PR initiative to turn workers into social media influencers to bring awareness to your brand and business.

Your existing employees are a valuable resource when hiring Gen Z.

Since 61.9% of Gen Zers prefer referrals, it’s a good idea to rely on real people and testimonials to help attract new talent.

Many companies create their own hashtags to help draw attention to their programs, such as #LifeAtGartner, #LifeAtVisa, or #LifeAtDell.

Here’s an example from Dell’s Instagram:

This is also an example of Dell publicly displaying its stance on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Ask your current team to share their experiences and work lives on social media. They can post when you have positions open or when you’re having a special event.

You can then share these social media posts with applicants for a fresh, authentic view of your organization and its culture.

Regardless of the posts’ content, adopting an influencer program will show potential candidates that your company culture values the voices of real people.

An employee influencer program can also make a great employee incentive program by offering incentives and rewards to participating workers.

6. Make use of pre-interview skills testing

Pre-employment skills testing is essential to any hiring process, and Generation Z is no exception.

Online skills-based testing applies to hiring Gen Z candidates in two ways:

  • Equity – bias-free hiring processes support equality and inclusion
  • Technology – an advanced, digital hiring strategy is crucial in attracting this new generation

Generation Z prioritizes a socially aware employer. You can show them your company’s social awareness by choosing the best candidate for the role without unconscious bias.

TestGorilla offers a variety of skills tests to assess candidates:

CategoryTest examples
Cognitive abilityAttention to Detail test; Critical Thinking test
LanguageSwedish (Proficient/C1) test; English (Intermediate/B1) test
Personality and cultureEnneagram test; DISC test
Programming skillsPython (Coding): Entry-Level Algorithms test; TypeScript (Coding): Debugging test
Role-specific skillsAccount Management test; Working with Data test
Situational judgmentCommunication test; Business Judgment test
Software skillsAutoCAD test; Terraform test

Making online skills testing a part of your hiring strategy is imperative to your equity initiatives and an invaluable part of your tech stack when hiring Gen Z. 

It also benefits your company internally since you’ll be hiring the best candidate for the position.

7. Offer learning and development opportunities

Opportunities for professional development are a huge draw for Gen Z job seekers.

A LinkedIn study from 2021 showed that 76% of Gen Zers believe learning is the key to a successful career.

It also found that Gen Zers clocked 50% more hours of learning in 2020 than in 2019, showing that their desire for professional development is trending upward.

Fostering an environment of learning and development should be a part of your culture that you publicly display, whether through your website, campus recruitment efforts, or employee influencers. 

Hiring millennials vs. hiring Gen Z

Let’s look at the differences between hiring millennials and hiring Gen Z.

Soon, millennials and Gen Z will encompass three-fourths of the workforce, so they’re the two biggest groups you need to understand.

Being only one generation apart, the two are similar but have key distinctions.

Let’s compare hiring millennials with hiring Gen Z:

PointGen ZMillennials
Online hiring23% have experienced a completely digital hiring processOnly 14% have experienced an exclusively digital hiring process
Top work priorities70% prioritize a high salary84% prioritize work-life balance
Have taken on another job in addition to their primary job43%33%
Learning and development29% work for their current organization just for learning and development opportunitiesLike Gen Z, 29% choose to work for their employer for learning and development opportunities
Top reasons for quitting a jobUnsatisfactory salary; Lack of work-life balance; Not doing what they’re passionate aboutPay wasn’t high enough; Mental healthFeeling burnt out

You can see that both generations prioritize salary, learning opportunities, and personal passions and goals.

One of their key differences is Generation Z’s emphasis on technology since they’ve never known anything else. 

Gen Z also shows a strong interest in only pursuing what matters to them.

You’ll want to have a strong mission statement, communicate promptly, and have a job offer ready within a week of the interview to align with Gen Z’s hiring priorities.

Create bias-free assessments for Gen Z hires

Hiring Gen Z isn’t like hiring any other generation. 

Learning and development, flexible working conditions, and diversity, equity, and inclusion are crucial factors for Gen Z in the workplace.

Your hiring process and recruitment strategy need to be personalized, fast paced, and centered on strong social beliefs.

Clearly show that you follow these practices by adopting unbiased skill assessments as a part of your hiring process. Generation Zers appreciate forward-thinking and skills-based hiring, and you’ll get the best possible candidate for the role. Everybody wins.

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