Generation Z are people born around the 1990s till the present. There is no agreement on the exact dates, and some sociologists are using a different time period than what is mentioned above. They are using a time frame from the mid-2000s till the present. They are teenagers today, but soon enough they will be your interns or employees (some of them are probably already working for you) as this Gen Z will hit the workplace soon.
Gen Z population is often referred to as “Digital Natives.” They have never known life without emails, phones, or computers. They are an IT-savvy generation, and have grown up in a computer environment and will understand technology more than Gen Y. For Gen Y, technology has been an exciting thing because everything was new and didn’t exist at one time in their lives. But for Gen Z, it is just an ordinary part of life.
And if you are not already targeting this group, you will lose the advantage that you can have compared to your competition that already has a plan for Gen Z. So do not focus all your recruitment strategies on Gen Y, because you are going to miss the Gen Z.
Understanding Gen Z
Gen Z people are social media junkies and they are very attracted to strong consumer brands such as Google, Apple, Samsung etc. Building a community around your brand will help you to attract and engage this Gen Z population.
Gen Z is the multi-screen generation; they have no problem multitasking between numerous screens and they communicate through emoticons, emojis, or icon “stickers” which replace text with pictures. Therefore, if you would like to speak with them, you need to use social media and talk in images, emojis, pictures, or videos. For your recruitment efforts, use Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc., and don’t forgot to use humor, keep the message simple and short, and don’t be afraid go viral. This generation just likes to share.
They are focusing more on social and environmental issues. They are thinking more globally and have more friends around the globe than people from Gen Y. Gen Z population are processing more information at faster speeds; however, getting and keeping their attention is challenging. They are living in instant messaging world so they are also expecting instant feedback on their work, and this will keep this this generation engaged.
Are you ready for Gen Z?
Be Open to change
Gen Z kids are trying to do things differently. They will have more experience from startup companies, and they will be looking for work where they can use their creativity and collaborate with people from around the world. They also want to work where they can think outside of the box. With technology, anything is possible for them, and they won’t be looking for fancy job titles, but for work that has a meaning.
Build a credible brand
If you would like to target Gen Z candidates, developing a strong brand is essential. Your brand becomes their own if they start working for you. And because they are sharing everything on social media, they can attract more of their friends to your company.
Engaging social media sites
Gen Z communicates through images, not over text. They are using smartphones for communication. (By the way, is you career website really mobile ready?)
Facebook is still the main channel of their communication, but WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat are slowly replacing Facebook’s role. Vine, Vimeo and YouTube have also started playing a major role in video. Digital media and social sites are their world because they have grown up with them.
To communicate with Gen Z, your company needs to have an effective social recruitment plan. If you would like to create successful social strategy you need to find out what applications Gen Z are using and which sites they are visiting. It’s good to create a social networking plan so you can increase your brand presence and you will be visible for them. If Gen Z are leaving Facebook and they are on Twitter, Secret App or Snapchat, what is your strategy for these sites?
And what is your plan for sites like Pheed, Tsu or Ello? Or have you never heard about these sites? Well, trust me, your competitors have heard about them and they already have a plans.
With the right social networking plan, you can develop loyal relationships with more potential candidates, and you will begin to attract more and more people that follow your updates, news about your company, products, and also your open vacancies.
Also, if you have charitable initiatives like Habitat for Humanity, the sharing and right social strategy will help you make this Gen Z feel more engaged, and they like to feel that they are part of something that makes sense.
A new hiring process
Gen Z is a generation that is really enjoying playing games on game consoles, especially on tablets and mobiles. You can create the application and hiring process more interesting with gamification.
Gamification is an innovative approach to engaging the right talent, and it works by encouraging these talents to engage in game-like behaviors and situations in non-game applications and scenarios. It will keep people (candidates) more engaged and make the whole recruitment process more fun, interesting, and creative. And, definitely, your application process will be very different from those used by competitors.
One of the examples of gamification is the Cicada 3301 challenge.
Gamification techniques are not connected only with hiring, but these techniques are working with badges or points, and these things are here to elevate the “online status” by showcasing the expertise and accomplishments of users. One great example is Stackoverflow .
When is the right time to start connecting with Gen Z?
If you don’t want to miss the “train,” it’s good to start connecting with Gen Z right now! Build your social presence, share your work stories, show you work environment, and basically don’t stop sharing.
If you don’t have an internship program, now is a good time to start thinking about one. Gen Z interns are going to share with their friends and help you spread the word about your company’s brand.
Is your career page mobile ready? If not, create one and be sure that everything on the page is going to fit fine into a phone screen. If you don’t have a mobile application for your hiring process, create one; you can inform candidates about new opportunities, they can contact your HR team if they have questions, and you can do much more with this app.
Gen Z needs feedback instantly; they are not going to write long emails. They are using Twitter (140 characters per message), they are using WhatsApp, etc. E-mails are slow and they are private; this Gen Z is about sharing and is an ‘instant’ generation. They are going to share your answer on Twitter with others, and they are not enjoying writing or reading long e-mails. For them, everything is about speed. They don’t check their emails and that is a fact!
Be ready for new things and do not be afraid to change. If you want to be ready to change things in your company, you will need to adopt flexible BYOD (bring your own device) policies, so your people can use their phones and tablets for accessing your email server and more.
And if you would like to attract people from this generation, you need to be ready to listen to them and offer them new opportunities because they are most motivated by opportunities for advancement. Gen Z are going to be looking for entrepreneurial ventures and startup-us, so if your company is still living somewhere in the past, you are not going to attract candidates from this generation. Gen Z are also more loyal and connected with the company brand.
If your company is still blocking access to social websites, you will be losing people because Gen Z cannot function without communicating through social media, and it’s important to be in touch with their friends and stay connected.
Your online presence
Be active on social sites, but learn how to use them before you start using them (or hire external help) because you can start being too intrusive and you will do more harm than good to your brand. You need to be open and honest when you communicate with them, and be prepared that on the other side is sitting a young but confident person—so don’t treat them as kids.
A few more things to note
Include a social cause that they can fight for. Feed their curiosity and help their creativity.
Optimize your search results. The second page on Google doesn’t exist for Gen Z. Learn about your website visitors and ask them for feedback (e.g. after the interview).
Provide a tech-savvy environment because this Gen Z likes new technologies. Be open to implement to your work process the latest IT gadgets.
Most company recruiters are still not using social media for communication or they are using them in the wrong way. Also, lots of recruitment agencies are going to be affected pretty badly when the Gen Z population starts to enter the workforce, because this generation won’t need them (they have LinkedIn and other tools) and agencies are not prepared for this population.
In recruitment, you always need to think one step ahead, because if you are not prepared to start hiring a new generation of new employees, it will cost you money and precious time in the future to beat your competitors that have already adapted new procedures for hiring this Gen Z.
A new generation is now on the rise, and it is Gen Z. They’re already here, and they will conquer the economy in the coming years. They will influence your current company processes, but the good news is that these “kids” are smart, so it’s great to have them on your team.