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The Generation Z dilemma: How do you target 20 year olds?



There’s a new generation of workers poised to enter the workforce in great numbers and with them brings a need to change how we recruit. 

We need to attract and engage with the shifting experiences and expectations this new generation brings to the workplace, because if we don’t, we won’t ensure we generate a pipeline of future talent to help meet our evolving needs.

Generation Z, defined as those born from around 1997, currently comprise 26% of the population, with the oldest members of the generation now 20. They are the first generation of true natives to technology, having been exposed to it almost from birth and it’s vital that recruiters know how to reach and engage with this diverse and tech-savvy group.

Getting the attention of Generation Z is a lot different than those of other groups and it’s especially essential to treat them differently from Millennials. 

So, how do you target Generation Z?:

  • Think like they think: having grown up through one of the worst recessions in history they are frugal and discerning and are less brand loyal, think comparison websites here, than other generations. They have seen entrepreneurial achievement come from simple ideas such as Zuckerberg’s Facebook and they like to experiment and try new things.
    They have grown up in a more diverse, tolerant and inclusive society than any generation before them and this makes them collaborative team players with a deep social conscious and a willingness to shout about it on social media. Therefore, corporate social responsibility and brand reputation will be very important to them.
  • Be aware they see things differently: they think in 4D, they communicate with symbols and images and their reliance on mobile devices has left them with a lack of situational awareness. 
  • Be aware they communicate differently: Generation Z respond and consume media differently and respond to a 5 screen approach: phone, computer, TV, tablet and wearable devices.
    They respond to new easily digestible creative mediums including instant message, chat and live-streaming video. They use social media channels such as Snapchat and Instagram and according to the latest research they are not on Facebook, making the recruiting landscape different than with other groups. 
  • Respect their attention span: Generation Z are used to having lots of choice and for things to be available instantly. Their attention span is declining; therefore, it’s essential to tailor information about your company in a way that can be easily found and responded to quickly.
However, not all things are different when recruiting Generation Z; relationships are still of paramount importance to them and most candidates do ultimately want to know what’s in it for them in terms of salary, benefits, potential for advancement, culture and skills development.

Above all else, Generation Z believe that if you can’t deliver what they want, in the way that they want it, there are probably a number of other employers out there who can. 

This means we only get one shot to impress and if we blow it, it could mean being dismissed as irrelevant; this is Generation Z.

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