What’s YOUR story? Tips for Recruiting Gen Z

Gen Z on the roof1.jpgHow can your organization attract Gen Z job applicants? Read the final piece in this 3-part series by our intern, Brent Wallace, on recruitment strategies for Gen X,Y, and Z!

Generation Z, considered to be born between 1996 and later, are beginning to enter the workforce and are likely to be assets to companies in the not-so-distant future. While most members of this generational group are not old enough to join the workforce, planning ahead is critical for success in business. Gen Z may be seen as an extension of Gen Y, but this is far from the truth. There are some key differences between these two generations to consider as you prepare your business to begin recruiting Gen Z.

Gen Z: What we know so far

This generation has grown up with technology readily available, as opposed to Gen Y who grew up alongside technology. Technology and social media have been developed greatly since the late 90s so this generation has been exposed to advanced tech since they were children. By embracing technology, they have been able to become experts in its usage, and look for simpler, more automated ways to do most tasks. “Shouldn’t there be an app for this?” is an expression you’ve probably already heard at least once from someone in Gen Z . This expertise has also led to them using instant messaging and social media to stay constantly connected to their friends and family.

Perpetual use of messaging apps involves communication based on shorthand language, emojis, slang, and the allowance of time for editing responses before sending them. Due to this, Gen Z may feel insecure about their formal writing skills in comparison to other generations. They may prefer face-to-face conversation to avoid seeming less professional. Face-to-face conversation is far less formal than email and could help this group feel more comfortable with you.

Part 1/3 in this series: Don’t forget Gen X! Hiring & communicating with this generation

Use social media to attract Gen Z job seekers

When advertising your job openings, using social media is a great idea to connect with this generation, just like it is with Gen Y. Since a significant amount of their time is spent on social platforms, so you should focus your efforts of attracting them where they are already ‘hanging out’. While it’s competitors are creeping up, Snapchat is the most popular platform for the demographic between 12 and 24 years of age, as 72% of this age group are Snapchat users.

Snapchat can be a great way to give potential applicants an ‘inside look’ at your company and leave them wanting more. You can set photos and videos to be visible for a maximum of 10 seconds before they disappear. Posting a photo or video to Your Story would also allow this generation to see that you’re hiring and share it with their friends, so your advertising expenses can be drastically reduced with an attention-grabbing Snapchat campaign (that has potential to go viral!).

One early example of an organization using this recruitment tactic was Taco Bell. They used their Snapchat to advertise internships at their headquarters, and recieved over 200 applications within a few days!  Just this month, McDonald’s announced it will be using ‘snapplications’ in attempt to lure 250,000 new recruits. Curious about how to get started? Officevibe wrote a great guide for using Snapchat to recruit, which you can get here.

Snapchat might not be an option for your company, and that’s okay. Instagram and Facebook also now have ‘Story’ options. Posting recruitment videos on Twitter is also quite popular. Use social media as appropriate for your organization, but just remember it’s a great place to grab Gen Z’s attention if you’re looking for new targeted recruitment ideas.

Read: Is your message getting across? Using social media to attract Gen Y job applicants

Tips for creating job posts Gen Z applicants will notice:

  • Branding is everything: Snapchat may be one of the easiest ways for you to get your brand out to the public. Snapchat allows you to create a geofilter that can be used when sending a photo or video, which make your business become the focus. Have a graphic designer create a slick image that will draw attention to your business and you should garner some extra applications from Gen Z when you post a vacant position.
  • If you don’t want to use Snapchat, getting your name out to Gen Z can be as easy as giving out (out of the box) gifts at job fairs. Purchase useful yet neat swag like cellphone cases or branded hot sauce keychains. Show Gen Z that your organization is fun and goes beyond boring business cards and pens. 
  • Honesty is the best policy: In a world where all news needs to be fact-checked for us to ensure that it is real, being upfront and honest is important to Gen Z. This makes them similar to Gen X, as skepticism has been cited as one of their key characteristics. When asked what was important to them in a boss, a large portion of Gen Z stated that honesty and integrity were most important. Embrace being honest and show them the ups and downs about their job and you’ll end up with applicants who understand the job they are applying for, which should reduce early turnover.
  • Show them a path: Gen Z does not just want to work to be paid, they want to work to grow themselves. They see work as a way to learn and they expect to grow through challenging work, as well as how you plan to use them in the futureGen Z wants to become professionals quickly, so you should provide examples of how employees have moved up in your company from the position you are advertising. You can make your ad more appealing with this information. If they ask you about how quickly they can move up, do not see this as a negative trait, rather embrace it and understand that they are interested in working and growing within your business.

Want even more? Read: Hiring and Working with Generation Z (aka Generation Mobile)


Gen Z is coming and businesses need to prepare for them. It would be negligible to assume that this group will simply be an extension of Gen Y, as this is simply untrue. Gen Z has seen the mistakes Gen Y made and some may value formal education far less than their older peers, preferring opportunities to learn for themselves. When communicating with Gen Z, show them how they can grow in your company and how they fit into the bigger plan. Meaningless work will be hard to accept for this group, as they see their time as highly valuable. Communicate the greater value of their tasks and the vision of the organization to engage them.

Final thoughts recruiting Generations X,Y, and Z

Understanding the differences between generations can be beneficial when you are looking for a specific type of person to join your business. This knowledge can help to simplify your recruitment strategy and direct the actions you take in job promotion. That being said, not everyone fits perfectly within these groupings of “generations” and it is important to understand that every individual applying to your business is different than the next. We also don’t want to encourage any age discrimination! Prior to hiring any applicant, use your expertise to ensure that they both qualified and a good fit for the culture that your business prides itself on. 

Recruiters & Hiring Managers: Have any insights on hiring Gen Z? Let us know in the comments! 🙂