6 ways to attract Gen Z job seekers — and what they value most in companies
While no generation is a monolith, people who have grown up and come of age under similar global circumstances tend to share some things in common.
Gen Z is no different. When looking for job opportunities, Gen Zers — those currently under the age of 26 — will be attentive to things that may not have been prioritized by previous generations.
Thus, organizations need to take certain steps to attract this dynamic group. Talent-development expert Chelsea Williams, whose national workforce and development company Reimagine Talent works closely with many Gen Z professionals, shared six things companies need to prioritize in order to stand out to Gen Z job seekers.
1. Express a clear dedication to diversity and social impact
Gen Zers tend to value companies that demonstrate real commitment to "social impact, doing good, and diversity, equity, and inclusion" Williams said, because they're the most diverse generation. They vote with their dollars, they follow organizations on social media to ensure that companies are doing more than paying lip service to philanthropy, and they want employers that do the same.
A company's efforts around building a diverse workforce, supporting employees from underrepresented groups once they're hired, and giving back should be detailed in job descriptions and discussed in interviews, Williams said. She added that companies should also actively provide scholarships and work-based learning opportunities to marginalized communities.
2. Be transparent about pay and growth opportunities
The current hiring market is a competitive one — and Gen Zers know that they can take jobs in the gig economy to earn money if they feel that prospective employers aren't prepared to pay them what they deserve.
"Behind the demand for higher salaries is more confidence in what the population believe they have to offer," Williams said. "Employers should be able to cautiously articulate what their companies have to offer beyond salaries, too."
Transparency and specificity are key, Williams said. Narrow the salary range you can offer as much as possible in your job description and be upfront about career mobility and professional-development opportunities, including tuition reimbursement, professional-development stipends, and training programs. Gen Zers want to know what's in it for them if they come to work for you.
3. Offer community through mentorship and affinity groups
Gen Zers need to see that you know how to build a great company culture and that you can offer them support as part of your team. Williams specifically noted an internal professional community, real-time feedback, and investment in employee mental-health and social-justice efforts among the factors that build an ideal culture for this group.
"Every touchpoint shapes culture for candidates, from the website to interview screening to onboarding," Williams said. "Make them count."
Connect job applicants with new Gen Z hires as much as you can during the interview and hiring process. Build out mentorship programs, affinity groups, and regular Q&A sessions for your Gen Z employees and share those opportunities when talking about your benefits.
4. Focus on skills and competencies, not education
In today's educational and professional landscapes, you'll find more success with landing and retaining Gen Z talent when you emphasize the skills and competencies you're looking for, rather than the major or course of study.
Framing your interview with Gen Zers in this way will give you a better sense of what a prospective hire is really capable of and will help ensure that you end up with the right person for the job, Williams said. A Gen Z job seeker will also be attracted to an organization that talks about their workforce this way, as it's likely that what a student majors in has little to do with the jobs they ultimately pursue a few years after graduation.
"We are in a time when enrollment in higher-education institutions is falling," William said. "Not all students are choosing the higher-education route, so major is a nonfactor."
5. Go where Gen Z hangs out
Recruiting at the same lineup of colleges and universities, reaching out to the same academic programs, and posting jobs in the same places you have for years is not going to get you the Gen Z talent you want, since competitive, high-potential prospects will be looking in other places, Williams said.
Leverage Gen Z employees who are already working within the organization with Q&A sessions. Broaden the scope of your campus visits. Look for ways to brand your company on TikTok and on other social-media platforms.
Storytelling is a powerful recruiting tool. "One of the best ways you can see yourself is through the stories of others," Williams said. "Showing a day in the life is very important for this generation."
Gen Zers want to see that you're changing things up — and you'll find stronger applicants when you do.
6. Cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship
Gen Zers need to know that you're creating an innovative workplace, and building a culture of entrepreneurship within your team is one way you can do that. This generation thrives and succeeds when they know they have opportunities to build and be original, Williams said.
Communicate with applicants about the clarity with which ideas are shared and rewarded and show off examples of products and services led by the team.
"Employers can talk about the ways that you can build projects, processes, programs, and systems and be part of creating something that doesn't exist," Williams said. "That's exciting."
This article was written by Alli Hoff Kosik from Business Insider and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.