Youth of today: How to hire ‘Generation Z’

By Robert Half on 3 September 2015

Born from the mid-1990s to 2010, the digital generation will soon be applying for jobs and commencing their new career.

So let’s talk about what this group will expect from their employment opportunities and how you can prepare for hiring Generation Z.

Consider how you communicate

Generation Z grew up with digital technology at their fingertips. When you’re planning to recruit, you need to know how to reach them and speak their language. Unlike Gen X and Gen Y, who embrace email, Gen Z chooses text as their main form of communication, using abbreviated text talk and ‘slanguage’, as well as the odd emoticon.

It’s also worth considering which platforms they use to communicate. Social media is the busiest area of communication, so it’s important to learn how to introduce social media policies in the workplace. YouTube is Generation Z’s Google – it’s all about the visual. Employers need to be prepared to conduct initial interviews through video calls. These candidates will be confident – they’ve grown up in front of the camera as the star of their own selfies and videos. Gen Z is also highly efficient at processing information, so they’ll expect a high level of self-service technology and access to information on the job.

However, when it comes to communicating in the workplace, recent Robert Half research has revealed that although the digital world dominates their lives, their preference is for face-to-face contact.  

No more nine-to-five

The same research tells us that this generation is more conservative than their Gen X and Y counterparts. They crave job security and, surprisingly, don’t necessarily aspire to work in a ‘Silicon Valley’ style start-up or the next ‘Facebook’. Generation Z has grown up in a tougher economic cycle and are drawn to the security of mid-to large companies. They only expect to work for four companies in their work life, which is a stark contrast to the job hopping Millennials.

Don’t expect Gen Z to conform to standard working hours. Given their ability to communicate wherever and whenever thanks to mobile technology, nine-to-five workdays will no longer be relevant. Video conference meetings at 8.30pm and rocking up to work at 11am may become the new norm.

Work should be fun for Gen Z

With parents in the Gen X and Gen Y groups, Generation Z will be educated about doing what they love and not just working to pay the bills. As they see their parents rebel against the baby boomer school of thought, which embraces the concept of work for the sake of working, Gen Z will expect to derive fun and personal fulfilment from their careers. They’ll want to learn and grow on the job. They’ll hold high expectations of training, constant feedback, personal support and, above all else, praise. So get ready to forge very intense relationships with the up-and-coming Generation Z.

The current work environment is set to change as we welcome a new generation of workers into our businesses. You can ease this transformation by making some simple preparations, and by taking the right approach, you may in fact be surprised at how much your business learns from its new Generation Z employees.

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