The Gen Z Hiring Playbook: Attract, Hire, and Retain the Next Generation

Monique Mahler | May 3, 2024

Generation Z, Gen Z, Zoomers, post-millennials… call them what you may, but this demographic, born loosely from 1995 to 2010 are graduating college and are already making changes to the way we hire and recruit. What they want from their employers looks a bit different from generations past.

Gen Z is set out to be the largest demographic, making up over 33% of the global population, and is projected to represent 27% of the workforce by 2025. Meeting them where they are is key in successfully attracting and retaining the largest generation of workers ever born.

So who exactly are these job seekers and what are their terms? Read on to learn everything you need to know about recruiting Gen Z.


Understanding Gen Z

We need to understand Gen Z in order to reach them.

Gen Z is different. They are true digital natives. They are independent and open-minded and are focused on authenticity. Their experience and values, which have been shaped by economic and societal challenges impressed on their minds by digital media, set them apart from other generations.

According to Roberta Katz, a senior research scholar at Stanford, a typical Gen Zer is a self-driver who deeply cares about others, strives for a diverse community, is highly collaborative and social, and values flexibility, relevance, authenticity, and non-hierarchical leadership.


Reaching Gen Z

As we begin to get a better understanding of Gen Z as a whole, we can pinpoint what matters to them most when it comes to recruitment in the workforce. Here is our list of the top seven focus points when it comes to recruiting Gen Z candidates:

  1. Emphasizing purpose and values: Organizational values are important to Gen Z and they need to be known from the get-go. Values like cultivating positivity, defaulting to transparency, “you can be serious without a suit,” etc. are the things Gen Z candidates want to know. Do your employees spend 1% of their time volunteering in the community? Shout it out. These are the points that will attract Gen Z candidate interest.
  2. Flexible work arrangements: 67% of Gen Z survey respondents ranked spending time with family and friends as a top life ambition, outweighing career goals.

    Dr. Diane Gayeski, former dean at the Roy H. Park School of Communications stated, “They want to work for organizations they admire, and they want to build a life that gives them the time to relish family, friends, hobbies and other interests.”

    Offering Gen Z candidates remote work opportunities and flexible daily scheduling is at the top of their list of must-haves, so lead off with how your company offers flexible work hours, your established communication hours, how you have replaced meetings with asynchronous communications, and any other initiatives you have in play that support your focus on work-life balance.

    Using remote interviews and online scheduling tools to help in your hiring process subconsciously shows your flexibility, even if you’re an “in-office” organization.
  3. Career development opportunities: 87% of undergrads say learning and development benefits are either important or ESSENTIAL when evaluating a job opportunity. Gen Zers tend to prioritize a clear route into management and senior-level roles. In fact, about 74% of Gen Z are ambitious to learn new skills and develop professionally and don’t seem to shy away from maintaining their professional development and training.

    Do you currently have a mentorship program? If not, now is the time to get one going. Do you provide a clear career pathway with contribution recognition that is rewarded with promotions, increased responsibility, and leadership roles over time? Either get a plan in place or promote your current career development plan so you can attract the top Gen Z talent.
  4. Authentic employer branding: Transparency: the quality of being easy to perceive. Authenticity: the quality of being real. Both are keywords when talking about Gen Z job seekers. Gen Zers want open, honest communication and they want you to just lay it all out on the table. So do just that. Don’t make them guess what the salary is, because chances are, they will scroll right past your open position. And be clear and concise in your job description – there should be no surprises when it comes to responsibilities and expectations. Transparency not only draws candidates in but builds a foundation of honesty which is what Gen Zers are looking for.

    For example, add custom branding to your interview process. Welcome videos in one-way digital interviews allow you to communicate your company’s values and culture, as well as a way to reiterate job expectations. Branding digital interviews is a great way to communicate about your organization in a way that translates to a generation that grew up online.
  5. Streamlined application process: It should be no surprise that Gen Zers expect a streamlined application process… After all, their time is valuable and important to them. They live in a fast-paced, digital world and their recruitment journey should reflect this. They expect mobile-friendly applications so they can have access anytime, anywhere, preferably with just a click. They do not want to be dragged through the trenches during the application process. Communication should be clear, concise, and most importantly, timely and should be seamless across devices.
  6. Digital recruitment strategies: DIGITAL NATIVES. Enough said. Gen Zers expect seamless and tech-driven recruitment processes. To effectively attract Gen Z talent, companies must leverage digital recruitment platforms, including social media platforms like LinkedIn, X/Twitter, and Instagram. Companies need to go where the candidates are, and they can connect with them through platforms where they are active users and engage regularly. Digital job boards like Glassdoor and Indeed are also essential for reaching Gen Z.

    But it doesn’t end there. Companies need to get creative with their digital recruitment campaigns. Think innovative, fresh, and interactive because the same old is not going to get the attention of your Gen Z talent.
  7. HR technology for Gen Z hiring: Once again, when reaching out to a generation raised on the latest and greatest technology, companies need to be on top of the most current technology trends when it comes to hiring. Video interviewing tools are where it is at when it comes to what Gen Zers expect… time-saving, mobile-friendly, and provide a positive candidate experience. And when you add on the latest and greatest AI recruitment tools, you have the perfect combo to scoop up the top Gen Z talent.

    Check out our recent blog on how to make AI recruiting work for you!


Enhance your Gen Z Recruitment Strategies with interviewstream

Gen Z is forcing employers to do one of two things: adjust to the needs of the new young talent set out to dominate the workforce, or remain stuck in the past and miss out on new talent. If employers want to remain relevant and attract fresh, smart talent, they need to embrace the change and adapt to Gen Z’s expectations.

This new generation hitting the workforce is incredibly tech-savvy, independent, open-minded, and innovative and your recruitment tactics need to reflect those characteristics. Companies need to speak their language, communicate their values clearly, and offer them the flexibility and growth they crave.

Let interviewstream help you help yourself recruit the top Gen Z talent. Reach out to an expert today and add interviewstream to your recruitment toolbox in order to catch the attention of this unique generation from your first interaction!

About The Author

Monique Mahler is the CEO of interviewstream. She is an avid researcher of facts, a self proclaimed marketing geek, and an equestrian in her spare time.


interviewstream is dedicated to the success of more than 900 clients from K-12 school districts, emerging businesses, midsize companies, large enterprises, colleges, and universities.

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