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Gen Z Recruiting Methods: Tips to Attract Younger Workers


One question that’s been top of mind with business and talent leaders at many small businesses recently:

  • What are the top recruiting methods to attract Gen Z employees?

To help you best succeed in recruiting younger talent on the market, we asked several experienced hiring managers and recruiters for their top talent acquisition tips and tricks. Here’s the advice and insights from these TA pros and people managers.

Implement a referral strategy

A strategy that works well for this generation is getting our current and former employees to refer qualified people to us. We give a bonus to an employee who refers to someone we hire. That encourages our people, and even past employees, to keep referring.

Gen Z employees trust referrals to lead to good jobs more than any other type of recruitment and we know that when someone refers them they are likely already a good candidate. It’s a win for everyone.

Baruch Labunski, CEO, Rank Secure

Offer educational alternatives

Gen Z is extremely motivated to continue their education, but they are also concerned with mounting debts, which is a good reason why you should offer education alternatives to attract them.

Over the past five years, the cost of education has soared with some Gen Z talent in nearly six figures of debt by the time they enter the workforce. The idea of adding to that can inhibit their desire to choose a position if more education is required.

Offering alternative programs for them to gain skills and creating pathways to help subsidize further education by paying for learning programs, such as boot camps or online courses, can be a great incentive for them to seriously consider your business.

In creating educational alternatives, you can remove some of the trepidation Gen Z candidates may have about applying for a position that requires additional training, while also demonstrating your commitment to something they value.

Matt Miller, Founder & CEO, Embroker

Shorten your application forms

Around 60% of Gen Z candidates think the application process should be under 15 minutes, and we’d have to agree with them.

Our hiring portal applicants take around 10 minutes to fill out forms and upload essential documents, giving us just enough data to filter quality candidates. After the first application is submitted, we send viable candidates the next step in the application process to complete.

By keeping the forms broken into shorter, more palatable chunks, we don’t lose candidates discouraged by a never-ending application, and we don’t waste their valuable time filling out a long form if they don’t fit our essential criteria.

John Li, Co-Founder & CTO, Fig Loans

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Connect with college campuses

One of our best recruiting strategies for Gen Z employees has been reaching out to college campuses.

Many college campuses have career centers that are always looking for partners to collaborate with. They can assist with setting up internships and slotting your company in at their annual job fair. Maintaining a good relationship with colleges is crucial to finding Gen Z employees because they are largely considered the most educated generation.

Phillip Akhzar, CEO, Arka

Know younger workers’ motivation

Before understanding how to hire Gen Z, you must understand who they are. They are the latest generation to enter the labor market — people born between 1997 and 2010. This generation is ‘fluent’ in technology as a relevant characteristic to employers.

Defining the organization’s values is crucial among the many possible ways to attract and retain Gen Z talents. These new workers care about your company’s social and environmental impact and want you to care, too.

In addition, Generation Z fears being stuck in a job that doesn’t feel rewarding. Lastly, they are interested in environments where the organizational culture reflects their personal values, so it is essential to focus on understanding their motivations and how they can shape your company whether to hire and retain Gen Zs.

Ricardo von Groll, Manager, Talentify

Be highly collaborative from the outset

In a departure from traditional recruitment, we are highly collaborative in the employee recruiting process, something Gen Z job seekers value. From the very beginning of our relationships with prospective employees, we engage in “co-recruiting,” where both the job candidate and our company equally share needs, expectations, and goals.

This is not the traditional process, where the employer dictates to the recruit what they should expect from the experience. Even after recruitment and onboarding, we are building a healthy, collaborative culture with an employee-first mindset. This is something job-seekers from all generations can appreciate.

Lindsay Hischebett, Head of People & Partners, Flaus

gen z recruiting methods

Relay your stance on social issues

We clearly state our stand on social and political issues that are important to Gen Zers on our website and in our job postings. Gen Zers are very socially conscious and they want to work for companies that share their values.

Posting and clearly stating our policies on things like equal pay, diversity, and inclusion helps people know who we are and also helps us attract the best Gen Z talent out there. They know that they’ll be working for a company that cares about more than just making money — we care about making a difference.

Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer, Checkr

Create trust and offer hybrid work

Gen Z talent is a key component to scale, but recruiting them requires a totally new mentality. Companies that rely on micromanagement, bossware, or 100% onsite work are going to struggle. My agency attracts Gen Z talent with a hybrid work policy. Employees are in office at least 2-3 days a week, but we all work from home when we want to.

Additionally, we have flexible PTO. But two weeks is the minimum we require employees to take, not an upper limit. If you want to recruit Gen Z, hire well, give trust freely, and give them the flexibility to have a healthy, happy lifestyle outside of work, too.

Ryan Draving, Head of Strategy, Muhlenhaupt + Company

Offer mental health benefits

Gen Z is the most depressed, stressed, and lonely generation of all, per the American Psychological Association. They look to employers to help them feel more stable and connected to things that can improve their mental health.

Employers should prioritize not just health benefits, but “Mental Health” benefits. Examples include meditation apps, screenless lunches, in-office nature (think plants and waterfalls), and therapy.

A little bit of mental health focus can go a long way in standing out to Gen Z.

Pranam Lipinski, Co-founder, Work With Gen Z

Prioritize work-life balance

In this day and age, work-life balance is at the top of almost any candidate’s wish-list when searching for a new role. Thankfully, hybrid and remote work has become an industry standard for most positions.

Now, this “new normal” has undoubtedly improved the work-life balance of countless companies, but nevertheless, many are still struggling to attract Gen Z talent and aren’t sure why.

Make sure to differentiate yourselves on the open market and truly show that work-life balance is a top priority. Assuming that you have already transitioned to a hybrid or remote environment, the next steps would be implementing a few of these suggestions: Unlimited PTO, Unlimited Maternity (both parents), Summer Fridays (let out early so that your employees can spend time with family/friends).

Overall, Gen Z talent will continue to prioritize work-life balance and will gravitate to employers who share that same notion.

Jesse Tuggle, Director, Technical Recruiting, Beneficial Talent Source

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Embrace a “safe-to-say” culture

As the father of two Gen Z’s and niche recruiter of Veterans, Grads, and Pros for Cities, Utilities, and Infrastructure orgs since 2002, creating a team culture of belonging with “Safe-to-Say” tips the scales in the War for Talent.

Every city, utility, university, hospital, and employer today is revisiting its approach to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), exploring how to be more Vigilant, Agile, and Resilient (VAR).

Leaders who focus on building a Safe-to-Say culture will win creating a sense of belonging that becomes a competitive advantage in recruiting, employee experience, and user experience. Meeting and embracing all employees where they are encouraged to bring their full selves to work.

“Safe-to-Say” cultures are the antidote to red flags and empower employees to focus on effectiveness, efficiency, profitability, and continuous learning for themselves, peers, teams, and the organization as a whole.

Matt Sadinsky, Founder & Executive Consultant, PReP Intl (Prequalified Ready Employees for Power Intl)

Offer L&D and growth opportunities

After surveying 1,500 culturally diverse members of Gen Z throughout the U.S., I discovered that opportunities for growth and personal development were very important to this emerging generation within the workforce.

Therefore, recruiting methods that I use in my business to attract members of Gen Z are opportunities for growth and personal development programs that will enhance their future career aspirations.

Joshua Fredenburg, President, Circle of Change Leadership Experience

Adopt a flexible recruitment process

When recruiting the Gen Z workforce, it is more important now than ever to capitalize on opportunities to disrupt traditional recruiting and retention methods.

Gen Z is the most technically efficient workforce to date. So, encourage hiring managers to focus on their ability to be productive without being micromanaged. This leaves a lot of room for Gen Z to be ambitious.

Highlighting an organization’s ability to be competitive in salary offerings, provide career progression information, tuition reimbursement programs, and professional education and leadership training is essential in gaining Gen Z attention and early engagement in the recruitment process.

More importantly, having skilled recruiters that can create individualized experiences based on recognizing each candidate’s needs will help ensure their orgs avoid falling into any “one-size-fits-all” traps.

Jennifer Johnson, Senior Technical Recruiter, Korn Ferry

Amplify your Gen Z recruiting methods (and recruitment strategy at large) with a leading ATS that was purposely built for SMBs like yours. Schedule your JazzHR demo with our team today.

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