How Will You Hire Gen Z-ers If You Still Can’t Attract Millennials?

How Will You Hire Gen Z-ers If You Still Can’t Attract Millennials?

Mike Roberts

Everyone’s heard of Pokémon GO, the location-based mobile game that uses lightweight augmented reality (AR) and has people of all ages roaming the streets capturing, battling, and training virtual creatures.

The fact that AR—technology that blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated—has breached the mainstream puts into perspective just how far off the recruiting space is from actually meeting younger job seekers’ expectations.

In many ways, it’s a precursor for how difficult it will be for employers to hire from Generation Z, the youngest segment of the working population. Let me explain.

This perfect storm of companies hiring again and a shortage of skilled labor has shifted power into the hands of job seekers. It’s also left talent acquisition leaders and hiring managers scrambling to figure out why they’re having a hard time filling positions.

Trouble With Attracting Millennials

After analyzing hundreds of employers’ talent acquisition strategies and use of technology, a few key themes have stood out.

Many of today’s companies are learning the hard way their employer brand (how they’re perceived as a place to work) is outdated, their recruiting tactics are considered too spammy, and their digital recruiting presence hasn’t kept pace with the rest of the connected world.

The result is a concerning number of companies are now reactively attempting to modernize their employer brands, recruiting processes, and technology to connect with and hire Millennials.

The question is, if lots of employers are grasping at straws to hire Millennials, what does that mean for hiring Generation Z?

Generation Z (or iGen) has yet to make a mark on the workplace. And, of course, once they do we can expect all kinds of ridiculous stereotypes about them—much like there were for Millennials. But the group is worth discussing from a recruiting perspective.

Enter Generation Z

The cohort of people born after Millennials, Gen Z-ers’ birth years are typically listed around 1995 through today by demographers. This means, the oldest of the bunch are on the brink of graduating from college. Some probably already have.

Whether you know it or not, by now you’ve no doubt encountered Gen Z-ers in the food services and retail industries, as well as around the office if you’ve got interns.

Whereas many Millennials saw first-hand the transformation of things like consumer-internet and mobile, most of Gen Z have spent their life using already exceptional technology. The younger end of the Gen Z spectrum will likely watch innovations such as driverless cars and virtual reality develop in their formative years.

Point is, the world is moving forward—really fast—and a concerning amount of employers aren’t adapting quickly enough. They view their inability to hire talent simply as a consequence of the global skills shortage, and their response is often to rely on what’s worked in the past—hire more recruiters.

But is that really the answer?

Catching Up With the Times

Research shows the ways in which candidates discover and learn about new job opportunities has changed drastically in recent years.

Much like the process of buying a new TV or finding a place to eat, today’s job seekers are scouring the web to learn everything they can about a position prior to applying. You wouldn’t buy a TV with a one-star rating on Amazon, so why would you apply somewhere that has a one-star rating on Glassdoor in 2016?

The Talent Board revealed that more than 3 in 4 job seekers find opportunities on their own (without the help of a recruiter). And other reports have shown that job seekers are using an average of 16 online resources to research positions before submitting their resume.

A case can be made for strategically investing in these resources rather than tactically hiring more recruiters. In other words, focusing on attracting candidates to your company and jobs, as opposed to trying to recruit them with brute force.

We’ve already seen this change in the marketing world. If you invest in the top of the funnel with content, social media, SEO, and more, it will help drive leads to your salespeople, rather than having them rely so much on cold-calling and other traditional tactics. Same thing can be said for getting job seekers to come to your recruiters.

Creating amazing experiences for candidates on the most basic of job seeking resources, like the career site, has simply become the cost of entry for employers. Standing out takes bold action, coupled with modern digital marketing techniques.

Talent acquisition leaders who are struggling to connect with Millennials likely haven’t even considered a Gen Z recruiting strategy. At this point, they should focus on ensuring the groundwork is laid for attracting today’s digital citizens. For instance, lots of companies still don’t even offer the option to apply for a job on a smartphone, despite a rising number of the younger population only accessing the internet from mobile.

Just know, while you’re working on the basics, some innovative companies like HubSpot are encouraging candidates apply via Snapchat. So, how long before we job seekers can put on their Google Cardboard and take a VR tour of your office?

The largest working population is now comprised of millennials. Check out our latest guide 5 Quick Tips for Hiring Millennials for everything you need to know about attracting and recruiting this generation:

Hiring Millennialscareer site assessment



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