Beyond Millennials: 5 Tips for Recruiting Generation Z Employees


Generation Z in the Workplace - 5 Tips for Recruiting Generation Z Employees

Move over, Millennials: A new generation is poised to make waves in the workforce. Robert Half recently conducted an in-depth survey on Generation Z (in this survey, Gen Z is considered those born between 1990 and 1999). Generation Z will make up more than 20 percent of the workforce by 2020. Are you ready?

Here’s what you can learn from the report about recruiting Gen Z.

Generational Snapshot

Overall, the report states, Generation Z employees are ambitious, dedicated and ready to work. Fully, 77 percent expect they will have to work harder than previous generations to have a satisfying and fulfilling career. And far from being job-hoppers, they expect to work at an average of just four places during their careers.

Among the skills this generation brings to the table, the report says, Generation Z employees are especially good listeners, with a high level of creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset.

Generation Z in the Workplace

When looking for a job, Generation Z’s biggest priorities are:



  1. Growth opportunities
  2. Generous pay
  3. Making a positive impact
  4. Job security
  5. Healthcare benefits
  6. Flexible hours
  7. Manager to learn from

Some good news for small business owners: Generation Z is surprisingly amenable to the type of workplace found in most small businesses. Their preferred work environment is “collaborating with a small group in an office setting.” And if you think this generation (the first that’s never known a world without the Internet) prefers to conduct every interaction by text or chat, think again. Gen Z’s least ideal work environments are “working off-site as part of a virtual team” and “being autonomous at an off-site location.” In fact, 74 percent would rather communicate face-to-face with co-workers than any other type of communication.

Now, the bad news: Having lived through the Great Recession, Generation Z tends to be fiscally conservative. As a result, 79 percent want to work for a big corporation or a mid-sized company, where they believe there’s more financial security. Just 13 percent would prefer to work for a small company or startup. However, limited opportunities at large and mid-sized employers can leave Generation Z ripe for the picking by small companies who can offer them more responsibility and opportunity or the chance to make a difference at a business that shows corporate social responsibility. Fully 30 percent of Generation Z employees say they would take a 10 to 20 percent pay cut to work for a cause they deeply care about.

No matter how much they care, though, Gen Z won’t devote their lives to your business 24/7. Work-life balance is important to Generation Z. They want to know how working at your business will fit into their lives and their personal goals. Be honest about what the job is like — Gen Z can smell a lack of authenticity a mile away.

Finally, managers are vitally important to Generation Z. They want honest bosses who show integrity and also have strong mentoring ability. Accustomed to constantly learning, they want managers who can coach and teach them.

How to Recruit Gen Z

Clearly, Generation Z employees have a lot to recommend then. How can you attract them to work at your business? The report offers five keys for successfully recruiting Gen Z employees:

  1. Become highly engaged in the hiring process.
  2. Highlight examples of personal and corporate integrity in your conversations with job candidates.
  3. Demonstrate genuine ties to the community and authentic social responsibility on the part of your business.
  4. Show potential hires there are opportunities for advancement at your company. There must be a clear path to promotions and opportunities. If they feel that they’re stagnating, Generation Z workers won’t hesitate to leave for greener pastures.
  5. Think about how you’ll retain them while you are recruiting them. Generation Z employees want to hit the ground running, so you’ve got to be prepared from their very first day on the job.

Do you have any Generation Z employees on your team yet?

Young People Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow her on Google+ and visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

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