There is so much talk in the marketing and advertising world about the impact of Millennials and Generation Z on consumer trends, social activity and online behaviors, and how to target them effectively. But what about recruitment? What are these groups looking for from employers? Which messages resonate with them? And what’s the best hiring approach? We consider these questions and explore how to recruit Millennials and Gen Z talent for your business.
What do Millennials and Gen Z look for in a company?
Many recruiters have grown up with the idea that work is a corporate ladder. However, most Millennials and Gen Z’ers don't view the working world in that way, in terms of a rigid route to the success in business. They know that information is at their fingertips and choices are everywhere - without borders. They don’t see the same perceived restrictions in their career path, according to class, gender or geography, that previous generations might.
What does that all mean to recruiters? Well, it means that more than ever you need to communicate the “why” behind your business and the job opportunity to get these modern groups of job seekers to pay attention.
Millennials and Generation Z expect work to have a clear sense of purpose. 77% of Millennials say that a company’s sense of purpose is a key factor when comparing jobs. They’ve grown up in a fast-evolving, digitally-influenced world, where information and context are accessible with a thumb-flick. They’re not interested in working just to have a job - they want to know why they should work there. Millennials are environmentally-conscious and keen on sustainability, so if a company’s ethos troubles their social conscience or appears to harm the planet, they just won’t engage.
Technology presents a fear factor too. Gen Zers grew up hearing that robots will eventually steal their jobs. Their parents warned them about taking entry-level jobs, too easily replaced by “robots”. But, many Millennials are still in manual jobs. Automation has not completely taken over--not just yet!
So, what’s the key to working out how to recruit Millennials and Gen Zers? Understand their interests and concerns, appeal to their need for a sense of purpose, and differentiate your business from the droves of companies vying for their attention.
How does Generation Z differ from Millennials?
The key to learning how to recruit Millennials and Gen Zers is to understand their behaviours. Social networks, particularly Facebook, are a huge influence on Millennials. A study by the Aberdeen Group found that 73% of Millennials found their last job through a social media platform. Gen Zers prefer experience networks, which means they’re exploring platforms and tools that allow them to engage with their friends for a more textural experience. This expands into virtual reality conversations and co-working spaces, as they seek to feel part of a community.
Generation Z grew up with smartphones, and it’s estimated that 98% of Gen Z owns a smartphone. When it comes to media and content consumption, it’s embedded in their daily lives. So much so that they’re not even consciously choosing to consume content.
Here’s an interesting snapshot of social media platform usage among Millennials vs Generation Z from a study from Pearson:
YouTube is the most visited website for Generation Z. They spend the majority of their viewing time on YouTube, while Millennials look at content that’s 30-45 minutes longer; a hybrid of traditional broadcasting channels, even though they still lean more towards on-demand services. The report notes that 59% of Generation Z say YouTube is their favorite way to learn.
The key for recruiters is that Millennials and Gen Zers thrive on interaction and storytelling, so getting your message across to these job seekers requires telling your brand story effectively and making it relatable.
What types of messaging resonates most with Millennials & Gen Z
The type of messaging that resonates with Millennials relates to their sense of purpose. Storytelling is what will grab the attention of Gen Z. Focus your messages on human experiences.
Gen Z is more of the friend zone than Millennials. Why? Millennials are more comfortable with networking in the wider sense. They’re taught that this is a good thing, whereas Gen Z will think, “do I really know you?” They rely on faces and recognition.
When you send out spam or random messages to Gen Z that has nothing to do with their interests, they will instantly disengage. They’ve lived through spam. They know how to work around it - they just see it as unnecessary noise. They want one-on-one engagement rather broad networking. Knowing how to recruit Millennials and Gen Zers means knowing how to attract them through the right messaging.
The importance of showing off your brand culture
This goes back to the “why” when understanding how to recruit Millennials and Gen Z. Business communication is so saturated, no matter what industry you’re in. We’re in a global economy. These two cohorts have connections with people and formed friendships across borders. They've had connections via a range of communication apps and platforms for some time now, so their possibilities and choices are limitless.
Why is your company different from a human perspective?
Their information comes to them faster than ever before, so if you don’t communicate why it’s relevant to them, they won’t engage. If they see a job profile from a company which shows numbers and facts, then they see another which tells them the story behind the brand, who do you think will gain the most interest? This is the only difference in a saturated economy. Your brand story and cultural difference must stand out in order to resonate with Gen Z and Millennials.
Whether it’s pictures of customers, social gatherings, innovative working environments or teamwork, these cultural themes are what Gen Zers will gravitate more towards than brands which are all about a numbers’ game narrative. And this will give employers a competitive edge.
In a more general sense, pride and affinity with the company lead employee loyalty. Twenty-one percent of respondents to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Study said that their company is where they feel the greatest sense of professional belonging, as opposed to their particular role, industry, or manager. See the graphic below:
How your company’s tech stack, infrastructure & processes can attract the right Talent
Attracting new generations of job seekers requires modern recruiting tactics, techniques and technology. AI, big data and machine learning have changed the recruiting landscape. Companies must embrace innovative technology. 82% of Millennials say that company tech would have an influence when considering taking a new job.
When applying for jobs, Millennials and Gen Zers don’t want to see a ton of different steps to get to the end process of applying. Here’s a typical job board application process:
- A job seeker sees a job board
- They click on a box
- They’re then taken to another system
- From here they see a full job profile
- The candidate creates a very specific resume
- The system may prepopulate boxes on an application form
- The pre-filled information must then be edited and the content expanded on
- The candidate completes the application process
- Finally, there are compliance steps before they get a confirmation email
Simplify to attract the new generation of Talent
While Millennials were brought up on this type of time-consuming, formulaic process, and accept it, Generation Z is not likely to adapt to this. They prefer user-friendly apps that are intuitive and super-fast. For example, Uber requires very little in terms of information, process steps or hoops to jump through. The skinnier the process and the less you demand of your candidates, the more likely they are to engage. Missing out on the best Talent because your systems are too clunky is definitely your company's loss.
The wash, rinse and repeat method, and laborious application process, is not attractive. It’s all too much effort just to be rejected or ignored! Plus, they’re vocal in their social communities and they may choose to voice their frustrations online and on social platforms.
The quickest way to get job seekers engaged and show them what the company is all about, and the quickest way for them to be able to see that and get through the application process, the better. Gen Z’ers, in particular, demand a streamlined digital experience, even from job applications, as this is what they’ve come to expect elsewhere in the world around them.
Streamlining the Talent experience is key for mastering how to recruit Millennials and Gen Zers. Recruitment technology can now deliver this experience. There are modern hiring methods and digital solutions to appeal to these new generational groups, such as automation platforms, AI and skills-matching software.
Why Millennials and Gen Z job seekers can help your business thrive
It’s projected that Millennials will make up 75% of the US workforce by 2025, so this generation will be crucial for organizations in the coming years. And If you have aspirations for moving your business forward, you have no choice but to seek out these generations. They’re in the ‘know’, beyond what you can fathom, which is hard for a lot of business owners and hiring managers to recognize.
Millennials and Generation Z don’t look for authority like Generation X and Boomers do. They don’t think of personal success in terms of hierarchy, they see it as a contribution to a common goal. These candidates bring enthusiasm to key conversations within your organization. It doesn't matter who they're talking to, these groups look at the goal and the success of the business with less caution or filter than generations before them.
If you want dynamism and outside-of-the-box thinking, this is what you get with Gen Z and Millennials. If the company wins, they win. It’s not just about the individual getting promotions. This brings new opportunities and breeds a richer working environment, leading to better collaboration and innovation.
Summary: Mastering how to recruit Millennials & Gen Z
There’s a lot to consider when learning how to recruit Millennials and Gen Z’ers. Modern job seekers need a modern approach to recruitment. They’re the future and they’ll drive innovation in your business. You can’t stay stuck in the past, struggling with outdated hiring methods. When crafting your job opening, show the “why” behind your brand to get these job seekers interested. The process must be user-friendly to keep them engaged.
How do you make your process more user-friendly? Make it streamlined. Digital natives are just as fed up with the current job board/advertising platforms as you are. They want the same app-based ease of matching to work as they do for dating, calling an Uber, or finding a MeetUp.
Pepelwerk offers the tools and methodology to enable recruiters to do this. Our intelligent skills-matching software and all-in-one recruitment and HR platform streamline the hiring process. Employers can match to high-quality candidates and job seekers can find an easy way to get matched with relevant job opportunities. Without the torturous resume-based application process!
Find out how pepelwerk help Employers to reach the Talent of the future. Check out our Employer page and learn how to hire smarter with skills-matching. We’re currently offering free job posts for new employers!