3 Things to Know About Hiring Gen Z

Attracting the next generation of employees requires strong compensation packages, recognition programs and performance incentives.

Written by Elaine Coffman
Published on Apr. 06, 2022
3 Things to Know About Hiring Gen Z
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Today’s competitive job market has recruiters and human resource departments across the globe reevaluating their employee-benefit packages and reinventing the hiring process on every level — especially when it comes to targeting candidates. 

At nearly 4 million strong, Gen Z is the largest generation in the U.S., according to a 2020 report by Knoema. They have also entered the workforce during one of the most tumultuous times in recent history. However, before the pandemic disrupted work and hiring environments across the globe, it’s important to remember that Gen Z was one of the first to be fully immersed in technology from a young age. 

When developing an approach to hiring Gen Z, it’s essential that you consider both the tech savvy of this generation and the way the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges and opportunities during their entry into the workforce.

3 Things Gen Z Candidates Prefer in an Employer

  1. Strong compensation packages
  2. Recognition programs
  3. Creative incentives — which may no longer include all traditional benefits


From Application to Offer Within Days

Hiring today has become far more streamlined to accommodate more technologically competent applicants — and to simply remove a lot of antiquated steps. 

Gone are the days of filling out a full application, collecting five years’ worth of references and writing individual cover letters. Not only is Gen Z less likely to spend an hour or more filling out a job application or writing a cover letter, they are more likely to want to work for a company that has implemented digital hiring practices. As such, many companies have been transitioning to mobile and one-click applications. There is also an expectation to receive a response from a company within 24 hours with as much information as the prospective employer can provide them.

More Recruiting ResourcesCan’t Retain Your Tech Talent? Try This.


Don’t Fear the Chatbot

Employers today must be quick and think outside of tradition when reaching out to potential candidates. That includes providing continual touch points along the application process. 

Automating some of these processes is vital to hiring success. AI chatbots can be leveraged to communicate with potential candidates by starting the engagement process and providing necessary information along the way. However, employers should plan for a live interaction with a candidate within 48 hours of their application.

Geofencing campaigns and web crawlers are also being used to engage passive candidates and target certain groups. This can be helpful for any company that needs to hire for very specific languages or skill sets. As younger applicants acclimate AI, automated screeners can be implemented as well — further reducing the burden on human resources and recruiting staff. 

Especially in the workforce environment we find ourselves in today, companies need multiple types of interaction in the time between offer and start date, but with departments stretched thin, AI can shepherd the candidate at regular intervals.

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Who Needs a 401(k)?

Compensation packages, career growth opportunities, health insurance and retirement plans have been mainstays of any benefit package. However, this has shifted in recent years, as Gen Z is searching for purpose above all else and is less likely to be enticed with traditional benefits. 

In lieu of a solid retirement plan, a Gallup study showed that Gen Z and millennial employees alike seek out employers who foster ethical workplace culture and employee wellbeing. The benefit Gen Z requests most is the ability to work from home, and it’s often the first question many applicants will ask in an interview. 

Of course, company policies may not allow permanent, remote work depending on industry and geography — in which case employers should be prepared to lose the interest of some applicants. 

In regards to compensation, we’re seeing a preference among younger Millennials and Gen Z candidates for higher compensation over benefits packages that include mainstay perks such as gym memberships, discounts and even healthcare in some cases. In the U.S. specifically, many under the age of 26 are still on a parent or guardian’s health insurance, so as they age and grow their own families, traditional benefits and a desire for long-term financial security will increase in importance.


The Takeaway

Attracting Gen Z employees means offering exciting jobs and opportunities with strong compensation packages, recognition programs and performance incentives. To stay competitive in this labor market, companies across all industries must reevaluate existing hiring best practices and processes.

Hiring Gen Z requires a different approach, but this generation proves to be a passionate and engaging workforce — once you gain their trust.

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