The Hiring Process: How to Cater It to Gen Z’s Expectations

You’re out on a camping trip, and you decide to catch fish for dinner. You get your fishing pole, bait, and hook, then go out into the water and cast your line. For two days, you use the same hook, line, and bait with a great deal of success.

You think to yourself, “wow, fishing is easy.” So when you get an invite from a co-worker to go fishing, you don’t think twice about changing up your tactics. You grab the same hook, bait, and line from your last trip, even though you’re going to a new area to catch fish.

Unfortunately, you don’t catch a thing. At first, it seems confusing. If the same thing worked the last time you were fishing, why didn’t it work this time?

The answer? You didn’t change your tactics to attract the fish you were trying to catch.

The hiring process, not unlike fishing, is a system of constant change. Recruiters are forever tasked with finding the best and brightest talent available for an evolving workplace. From there, HR professionals are responsible for creating a workplace where that talent is able to flourish.

As generations get older and “Baby Boomers” retire out of the workforce, qualified replacements will be needed to fill the gap. Enter Generation Z. These workers were born from 1990 through 1999, and are about to tremendously increase their numbers in the job sector.

In 2015, Robert Half teamed up with Enactus to survey participants ages 18 to 25 to determine how this generation is preparing for the workforce. The results of this survey, published in their whitepaper titled Get Ready For Generation Z, revealed Gen Zers will make up 20 percent of the working population by 2020.

The increase in Gen Zers means the rules will have to change to meet their own unique desires and expectations. Generation Z isn’t anything like their predecessors.

How Generation Z is Different

The results of the Robert Half survey showed 77 percent of Gen Z expects to work harder than the previous generations. Twenty percent of them would like to be entrepreneurs after five years, 24 percent want to be working their way up the corporate ladder, while 32 percent would like to be a manager.

Generation Zers’ attitudes about work also differ from the Baby Boomer generation they will be striving to replace. According to the Robert Half survey, almost 30 percent of them would be willing to take up to a 20 percent pay cut to work for a company with a mission they deeply care about. And while 50 percent would like to retire before age 60, 54 percent expect to work until they’re 61-70 years old.

With so many changes needing to be made, now is the time for organizations to adapt their hiring process to effectively attract them. The first step to doing that, however, is understanding what Generation Z wants from a job.

Here is an in depth look at what Generation Z wants and how to cater to those expectations in the hiring process:

What Gen Zers Want from Their Job

1. Encouragement

Gen Zers just beginning their careers are, understandably, looking for encouragement and guidance. A Bridgeworks 2017 3G Report found 54 percent of Gen Zers want to be encouraged by their boss at work. Another 26 percent said they wanted their bosses to be honest with them.

Organizations will need to work to create a culture that is supportive and recognizes employees. Open door policies, for instance, encourage employees to come to them and get honest feedback about their job performance.

2. Financial stability

Although they prefer their jobs have value and feel valued in their job, the number one worry of Gen Zers entering the workforce is financial stability, according to the Bridgeworks report. As young adults, Gen Zers have a lot of insecurities and fears when it comes to financially staying afloat. It can be hard for them to concentrate on being good employees when they’re constantly worried that their job, and finances, are in limbo.

Great companies looking to acquire and keep Gen Z talent onboard can do a number of things to encourage confidence in their financial stability. First, they can offer financial education and support services, which will help Gen Zers manager their money and create an environment they will appreciate.

Second, managers can encourage them to learn new skill sets to be of value to the company as it grows. Job stability isn’t guaranteed, but some risks can be mitigated if the employee possesses needed skills to evolve with the needs of the company. Managers who invest in the talent of Gen Zers will likely see the results of that investment through the dedication of fully engaged employees.

3. Matches their identity

The Robert Half study stated almost half of Gen Zers (45 percent) want their work to align with their personality and identity. They want to be proud of the organization they work for and the work they’re doing.

Gallup’s 2016 study on Organizational Identity found only 27 percent believe in their organization’s values. Employees that don’t match with their company’s mission, values, and culture are less likely to be engaged, and less engaged employees are more likely to leave their jobs. This turnover will be a red flag in the recruiting and hiring process as more Gen Zers enter the workforce.

The best way to make sure there’s a good match is to actively promote your company culture and the values they strive to represent prior to hiring new employees. Introduce these facets of the organization during the hiring process to ensure they’re a good fit for both parties.

4. Leadership opportunities

Generation Z is an ambitious group. The Bridgeworks Report stated 63 percent of Gen Zers surveyed feel confident they’ll be leaders in their organization within five years. As such, they’re looking for a place with professional development opportunities

Managers can shape this talent by having great mentorship programs available and making sure their training programs are up-to-date. If you don’t have a formal training/mentorship program, you can start by finding someone higher up in the department who wouldn’t mind having a mentee.

Also, you can give a Gen Zer the chance to be a leader by slowly giving them more responsibility at work. If there’s a chance to lead a team or be the go-to person on a project, offering this opportunity to a promising Gen Zer is a great way to assure them you value their skills and see what they’re capable of.

5. Gender equality

Generation Zers care very much about equality. Particularly with female workers, the Bridgeworks Report found 50 percent of Gen Zers believe that gender is an obstacle for their career path. Remarkably, 90 percent said they’d like to see more female leaders in the workforce.

The clear way to satisfy this generation’s need for balance is to not only hire more female workers, but also offer better development programs to help employees of all genders rise in their careers. Companies should feature more female leaders in their work culture videos. This will let Gen Zers see during the hiring process that the workplace is fair and unbiased.

How to hire them

1. Up your employer ambassador program

In January 2016, Monster published the “Multi-Generational Survey” about Generation Z. The survey found that 41 percent of Gen Zers expected to find jobs through friends and family as opposed to 36 percent of other generations.

Managers should build, or improve on, their employee ambassador programs. Ambassador programs are an effective way to spread the employer’s brand and build talent. Encourage current employees to share what they love about their company on social media.

Employee ambassador programs that publicize the many positive facets of the company in an authentic and organic way are bound to attract better talent.

2. Show them a greater purpose

As previously stated, money isn’t everything for Generation Z. While they are concerned about financial stability, the Monster survey revealed that 74 percent of Gen Zers say work should have a greater purpose than just money. They prefer work that defines their identity. So, work has to equate to more than just dollars to be fulfilling to this generation.

Make sure to tie everything to the mission statement. Give these rising professionals something to truly connect with. Be very clear in how the position contributes to the organization as a whole so Gen Zers know what their impact will be. And if there’s something the company does for the community or a specific cause, that’ll be an extra incentive for Gen Zers to be part of the bigger picture.

3. Be upfront about salary

Although Generation Z isn’t controlled by money, they are most certainly interested in being paid fairly for their work. Be transparent about how salary decisions are made and what the requirements are for a higher salary.

Also, companies should have a system in place that shows Gen Zers what they can do to earn bonuses and increase their take-home pay. The key here is to be clear with Gen Zers during the hiring process on how their pay rate is determined and how they can increase their salary.

4. Embrace video interviews

Good communication is a highly sought-after soft skill, but it comes in many forms and some generations have proven to be more adept to different methods of communication than others. The Boomers thrived with telephone communication, Millennials preferred face-to-face interaction, but how do you communicate with Generation Z?

The Bridgeworks 3G Report found 74 percent of Gen Zers struggled with in-person communication, however only 2 percent struggled with video interviews.

It makes sense, considering Gen Zers grew up with the most technology to-date. Using video interviews shows Gen Zers you understand the value of current technological advancements and are able to provide them with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed from the interview process through employment.

5. Discuss the future

It’s never too soon to discuss where you see a Gen Zer’s career going. For them, it gives the inclination they’ll be around long-term. When it comes to driving their career, the Monster survey stated 76 percent of Gen Zers said they believe it’s up to their own actions.

Hiring managers should talk to Gen Z candidates about their goals and aspirations of what they want to do within the company. Gen Zers are looking to move up. As such, managers need to discuss mobility options at the company as a way of keeping Gen Zers engaged, while looking toward the future.

Generation Zers are set to become a significant portion of the workplace within the next two to three years. It’s imperative for managers to know how to attract and work with this demographic. It’s also important to know what motivates them as people, not just cogs in the wheel.

The best way to prepare for this change is to have the knowledge to make the necessary adjustments to your hiring process. Gen Zers are hitting the workplace and differ vastly from the generations before them. Successful hiring managers will be the ones who can create a workplace that works in harmony with this transformation.

What are some other ways to cater your hiring process to Gen Zers? Answer in the comment section below!