Recruitment Blog

10 things successful recruiters know about Generation Z

Guest Author
Recruitment Expert

In 2020, the generation known for being ‘always on’, will be taking their first big steps into working life. Generation Z are those individuals born between 1996 and 2010. The first wave of Generation Z will be joining the global workforce alongside Millennials, Gen Xers and the last of the Baby Boomers.

It will also be the first time that the modern workplace will have to cater for four very different generations at the same time. But that’s another post. 

Gen Zers demand authenticity and transparency in their dealings with others. For this generation, recruitment becomes more of a marketing effort. When selling a company, recruiters need to sell it as a brand: what makes it unique, exciting and worth being an employee of? For this generation, cultural fit matters, so expect them to ask as many questions about the workplace environment as would be asked of them.

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Below are 10 things to consider when recruiting Gen Zers for roles in 2020.

1. Tech is in their blood

As the first generation brought up on technology, expect this generation to rely heavily on tech tools in their job search and in the way they deal with recruiters. Part of that affinity with tech is an inclination to review everything. Generation Z job searchers tend to look up a company on Glass Door and similar review sites, which means any organisation wanting to recruit them needs to ensure their reviews correctly reflect the sort of workplace this generation would want to be a part of.

2. You need to engage their competitive spirit

They love a good competition, be it in the workplace, with their social circle or even within themselves. Assessments are a great way to bring out this competitive side while giving insights into their skills and approaches to work. In the workplace, Gen Zers would do well with leaderboards and similar ways of bringing out this aspect of their character.

3. They’re on a quest for global impact

This generation is the modern day hippy, wanting to make an impact on the world for the better. So expect Gen Zers to probe into the organisation you’re recruiting for and their contributions to society. On second thought, they’d already have those facts at hand come the first interview! If the organisation has a good standing, particularly from an environmental perspective, make sure you mention it.  

4. They lack EQ

This generation has been brought up on technology and so, their ability to hold conversations face to face, aren’t as well developed. It is, in fact, their biggest challenge. There should be a focus on developing their EQ. Recruiters need to ensure that when they’re preparing a Gen Zer for an interview, to focus on soft skills, particularly communication and the act of shaking someone’s hand and looking them in the eye.

5. They have a limited attention span

Generation Zers are said to have a slightly longer attention span than goldfish. But don’t mistake this as meaning that they are incapable of focus. They actually have a very defined method of filtering out what they don’t want in order to concentrate on what they do. For recruiters it means finding out what interests the Gen Zer sitting in front of you and giving them a reason to pay attention to the role you’re trying to place them in.

6. They prefer being the boss

They much prefer being their own boss than being managed by one. This generation is all about entrepreneurship. This doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to be managed but if the role isn’t one at that level, then focus on the aspects of the role that allow them a chance to demonstrate their leadership qualities.

7. They communicate at the speed of light

Email is fast but chats and text messaging are faster. The good news is that using alternative means of communication with this generation, such as text messaging or SnapChat, will result in higher responses. Recruiters should consider developing their texting and social media strategies to maintain open lines with Gen Zers. They should also keep on top of communications, with this generation expecting an immediate or certainly, very fast response.

8. They prefer to be shown the money

Gen Z are much more focussed on salaries than other perks offered as part of a package, having been the generation who have grown up in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Yet they also very much care about the day-to-day experience of working at a company. If this is something worth highlighting for the role you’re recruiting, then make sure you describe it in detail. Expect also, that Gen Zers will be much more open about salary negotiations and will have done their research as to what to expect in their remuneration package.

9. It’s all about connections

Gen Zers place a high emphasis on friends and family social networks when looking for a new job. For agencies there are two ways to think of this: firstly, make use of your Gen Z recruiters’ networks when looking for talent. Combine this with a competition and you tick two boxes! Secondly, make the most of social platforms that place a focus on networks to reach out to talent. Speaking of networks, they want to be connected to everyone, including their boss. As such, Gen Zers will tend to favour organisations that are flat with greater access to the CEO. Alternatively, a forward-thinking boss with an open communication style would appeal to this generation.

10. They have the power of choice

This generation is enjoying the benefits of being able to pick and choose where they want to work and in what capacity. From a robust economy to the vast array of work methods, Gen Zers know they don’t have to rush at the first opportunity. If the role you’re putting forward has flexible options or the opportunity to work from home then emphasise that. For this generation, spending excessive amounts of time travelling to and from their workplace won’t appeal. Neither will sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. Demonstrating alternative options, even if only after a probationary period, can help sell a role that has these elements.

There’s no doubt that the next generation of employees will bring a great deal of change to the modern workplace. There will be challenges but also opportunities to make improvements and tap into the benefits these technological savants can offer.


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