Whenever a new generation enters the workforce, employers are faced with all sorts of new recruiting challenges. Enter Generation Z (Gen Z).
Born between the years 1997 to 2012, Gen Z is the first generation to grow up on the internet from day one. Having spent their entire life on the internet, their desire for authentic content online is greater than any previous generation.
To better understand how this desire for authenticity affects how Gen Z finds work, and what that means for your hiring efforts, we sat down with 2 experts in the field: Ben Siegel, Co-Founder of Scholars, and Gabrielle Woody, University Relations and Diversity Lead at Intuit. We learned that Gen Z are using new social media platforms and paying attention to different content, requiring a fresh look at talent acquisition and Recruitment Marketing strategy.
Read on to see if you’re ready to recruit Gen Z talent!
Rally note: For even more juicy insights, you can catch the full webinar on-demand.
Meet the experts
Ben Siegel, Co-Founder of Scholars
Ben Siegel is the Co-Founder of Scholars where he works with some of the top companies in the world to grow their employer brand amongst an audience of early career talent.
Gabrielle Woody, University Relations and Diversity Lead at Intuit
Gabrielle Woody is the University Relations and Diversity Lead at Intuit where she leads the campus recruitment efforts for all product management, product design and CMU software engineers across the United States.
What Gen Z is looking for
Research by the PEW Research Center found that 97% of Gen Z use at least one of the major social platforms and over 45% of people aged 16 to 20 use the internet almost constantly. As the most educated generation, Gen Z is also highly analytical, pragmatic and realistic.
This recipe makes for a generation of people who are always online searching for a variety of sources of information like friends, family and influencers on social media to help them navigate life’s decisions, including choosing brands, products and even jobs.
On the topic of jobs specifically, Ben and the team at Scholars found that 87% of Gen Z would rather learn about your company from someone who is less than 5 years older than them, ideally in a conversational tone over a formal presentation. Similarly, 56% of students say they are equally as interested in who works at a company as they are in what the company does, pointing to the importance of employee-generated content.
So what does all of this mean? The way to reach Gen Z is on social media through authentic, raw content that reads, looks and sounds like it was made by regular, boots-on-the-ground employees, ideally from varying backgrounds and perspectives.
Watch our Pro Tip featuring Ben speaking about what Gen Z is looking for:
With that in mind, let’s dive deeper into how you can put this insight into action on different social platforms.
5 Channels that Gen Z is using to search for career opportunities
While Instagram may not be specific to Gen Z, its popularity continues to make it one of the best places to target Gen Z talent. In terms of what kind of content you want to be posting, Gabby suggests staying true to the “Insta” part of the platform’s name by posting in-the-moment, raw employee-generated content. To get you started, here are few different ways you can leverage the platform:
- Day in the life videos. It doesn’t get much more authentic than an employee showing their unfiltered perspective of what it’s like to work at a company. These types of videos also don’t have to be overly complicated, as a recent Intuit post featured an employee named Kayla simply documenting her day and exploring the Intuit campus
- Live streams. You can have employees create a video in real-time and get viewers to submit questions that get answered “on-air.” This also plays into the current popularity of live streaming on platforms like Twitch.
- Takeovers. A takeover is exactly what it sounds like. It’s essentially allowing someone (your employees) to take over your Instagram account temporarily and share content with your audience. For example, during their intern summit, a 2-day conference for interns, Intuit had their interns take over their social media to show what their training is like.
- Video job posts. As long as you keep them short (less than 15 seconds), fun, and creative, video job ads can be just as engaging as any other piece of content you post. Plus, you can easily direct them to the application through Instagram’s Swipe Up feature or through a link in your bio. See below for a great example from Intuit.
View this post on Instagram
An example of a video job post on Instagram posted by @emily.the.recruiter from Intuit.
Through interactive features like questions, polls and quizzes, you can also use Instagram Stories as a way to find out what students and other early careers talent are interested in learning from you. For example, using the polling feature on Instagram Stories, ask your followers “do you want to learn more about interviewing?” or “what kinds of roles would you like to see day in the life videos for?” By using Instagram to open up a dialogue in this way, you can stay up to date on what your Gen Z talent audience wants to see and learn from you.
There’s no better way to connect with Gen Z audiences right now than on TikTok. As a video-sharing social network focused on bite-sized, amateur content, with videos lasting anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes, TikTok is the perfect place to showcase company culture through a behind-the-scenes, informal lens.
Having grown her own personal TikTok account to 12,000 followers in less than a year, Gabby offers the following tips for recruiters looking to build an audience with Gen Z on the platform:
- Share tips and answer questions to help early-career talent get hired. For example, Gabby has published videos such as “3 things I look for on a resume,” “consider getting a certification” and “do these 2 steps after your interview.”
- Learn what your specific Gen Z audience wants and make content around that. To find this out you can look at what other companies are doing, as well as take note of what questions candidates are leaving on your videos
- Build off of videos that do well. For example, if you notice that your “ask a recruiter” video gets a lot of views or comments, make a running series based on that topic!
In terms of length, Gabby specifies 9-15 seconds as the sweet spot for your content. Similarly, to stay top-of-mind, aim to post at least 1-2 videos per week.
Hear Gabby talk more about posting on TikTok in our Pro Tip:
Clubhouse, an invitation-only audio app launched just last year lets you create and join “rooms” where you can listen to presentations, join discussions and even host a talk yourself. Because of its informal, conversational tone Clubhouse has taken a hold of Gen Z users, leading many companies to turn to the platform for their virtual events.
For example, through Intuit’s university recruiting club on the app, Gabby has taken the “stage” alongside other recruiters and hiring managers from around the world to share opportunities at Intuit and hear elevator pitches from attending candidates. Intuit then connects with candidates who seem like a good fit after the event on LinkedIn to further the recruiting process. Through these types of events alone, Gabby has hired 2 co-ops, sent diverse candidates to Intuit’s European counterparts and even connected with a VP of Finance for a phone screen.
Beyond career fairs, here are a few other ways you can leverage Clubhouse for recruitment:
- Host info sessions about your organization
- Host networking events
- Have SMEs from your organization facilitate a round-table discussion on a topic in your field
- Join as a guest on another group
Through their original research, Ben and his team at Scholars found audio to be the top way (52%) early careers talent consumes information. That means that if you’re not leveraging this approach to content, you’re likely missing out on a large portion of your audience. A great way to capitalize on the current demand for audio is to start a podcast.
This is the path that Ben took when people could no longer travel to career fairs as a result of the pandemic. Still wanting to help students land their dream jobs and internships, he started a podcast called Scholars: The Internship Show.
The podcast invites hiring managers, leadership and internship coordinators from different employers as guests to come on to talk about career advice tips, all to help listeners secure work at their company. Here are some episodes from the show.
To give you an idea of the podcast’s success, Ben explains that one company had over 150 applicants mention their guest feature in the podcast during their interviews. You could say this is the result of the Scholars podcast capitalizing perfectly on what Gen Z is looking for: conversational, helpful and employee-centric content.
An example of Ben Siegel promoting The Internship Show podcasts on LinkedIn.
Other than posting your full-length podcast episodes, you can also cut up longer episodes into smaller, themed clips for sharing on social media, email and any other platforms you’re active on.
While email likely won’t be how Gen Z applicants interact with you during their research phase, it will be their main method of staying in touch with you after they apply. The last thing you want to happen is to lure a candidate in through an amazing top-of-funnel experience, only to lose their interest farther down the funnel with unhelpful, boilerplate emails!
Ben describes it like this: “if I apply to 10 companies, 9 will reply the same with basic emails of ‘thanks for applying, here’s our interview process and so on. One company will send a selfie video of someone from their marketing department, or a clip from a podcast that will help me interview the right way. Naturally, I’m more drawn to that company, not the other 9. That’s the company I’m going to talk about positively with friends and family.”
To help make your candidate communications more engaging, Ben recommends sharing links in your email signature to promote unique early careers content like the example below.
Getting buy-in from leadership
Naturally, to make the sorts of changes outlined above, you’re going to need buy-in from your leadership, and both Gabby and Ben agree that this requires data. An affordable way to get this data, Gabby describes, is to start by running tests on personal accounts.
For example, TikTok allows you to see the gender breakdown of your audience, their watch time, their activity on an hourly basis, where your viewers are located in the world and all kinds of other metrics you can pitch to leadership.
Another way to build your case is by surveying your candidates and asking about what platforms they use. This could look like sending a survey in a follow-up email after an event, or even after a candidate’s submitted an application or had an interview. This gives you concrete data you can bring to leadership showing the exact platforms your target audience is spending time on.
With an idea of what Gen Z is looking for, where they’re hanging online and how you can convince leadership to give you the green light to make the necessary changes in your strategy, hopefully, you can use the information above to better recruit Gen Z talent in the months and years to come!
For even more insights, be sure to check out our full How to Recruit Gen Z webinar discussion with Ben and Gabby.