Bridging the Gap with Gen Z: Rethinking Recruitment

Anete Vesere (1)

Anete Vesere

Content Marketer

Gen Z enters the job market and with different demands from employers than previous generations. We’re not talking about a small group here. 

Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, will constitute more than a quarter of the global workforce by 2024. And this year alone, the Netherlands will have 5 million inhabitants under the age of 25. That is 28% of the entire population (CBS).

What does it mean for employers?

Attracting & hiring Gen Z is more than just having a “sound-good” recruitment policy

Attracting and hiring Gen Z has a bit of a balancing act to it. Attracting the young generation now does not guarantee long-term retention – 72% of Gen Zers are already contemplating a career change in the next 12 months after starting a job.

Where does the disconnect between what employers offer and what Gen Z expects come from?

Simply having a “sound-good” recruitment policy and offering a few extras – free lunches, company-wide parties, vouchers, concert tickets, and company holidays – is not enough to attract and retain the young generation.  It’s almost offensive to think that this new generation will stay if employers throw company-wide parties once a year.

3 aspects to consider when recruiting and hiring Gen Z’s

Understanding and adapting to the needs and preferences of this tech-savvy, socially conscious, and highly diverse generation is essential for any forward-thinking organisation. Here are some of the key considerations to keep in mind when recruiting and hiring Gen Z talent.

What worked in the past, won’t work in the future

When it comes to Gen Z, there are two main points to highlight:

  • Firstly, this generation is doubling down on sustainability, inclusivity, and other social causes. Gen Z individuals are highly aware of the pressing global issues and are actively engaged in making a positive impact. They are passionate about protecting the environment, promoting equality, and fighting against discrimination. 
  • Secondly, Gen Z is a generation that has “grown up online.” They are digital natives by heart, having been exposed to technology and the internet from a very young age. 


“The way we see the world is very different from prior generations”, Emma Havighorst, a 2020 graduate, has told Insider. It’s simply a generation that is “wired differently”.  

They appreciate high hiring velocity and a positive candidate experience, particularly when it comes to the length of the recruitment process. To attract Gen Z candidates, it is important to adopt a more personalised approach, offering feedback, realistic job previews, and opportunities to showcase skills. And do so fairly as Gen Z candidates are 204% more likely to engage with an employer when they perceive the hiring process as fair, also in terms of its duration.

Therefore, using legacy methods such as traditional assessments, which are often lengthy and disengaging, not only have adverse impacts on especially minorities but also fail to appeal to Gen Z employees who prioritise a streamlined and efficient recruitment experience.

Put yourself in their shoes

In order to establish a strong connection with Gen Z, it is essential to avoid making assumptions about their preferences, just as you wouldn’t appreciate others assuming what you do or are like. Gen Z brings a unique perspective to the table, and assuming their needs and desires without truly understanding them can lead to missed opportunities. 

Here’s how you can achieve a deeper understanding of Gen Z:

  • Conduct research: Invest time in understanding the characteristics, values, and behaviours of Gen Z through research, studies, and industry reports. This helps gain insights into their preferences and motivations.
  • Actively listen: Actively listen to Gen Z candidates during interviews and discussions. Encourage them to share their experiences, aspirations, and concerns. 
  • Keep up with trends: Stay updated on the latest trends and shifts in the job market, technology, and work culture that specifically impact Gen Z to align your strategies and offerings accordingly.
  • Seek feedback: Actively seek feedback from Gen Z candidates about their experiences during the recruitment process and their perceptions of the organisation.

Diversity and inclusion aren’t a preference. They’re a requirement

Fostering an inclusive and diverse work environment is essential for attracting and retaining Gen Z talent. This generation seeks opportunities to work in environments that celebrate individuality and provide equal opportunities for all. According to TalentLMS survey, as much as 77% of Gen Z’s find it important to work for a company that cares about diversity, equity and inclusion. Moreover, according to McKinsey, Gen Zers have a greater interest in human rights, race and ethnicity issues, LGBTQ+ equality, and feminism than any of the generations before.

If DEI is left unmentioned, there is a high likelihood that candidates will begin to raise questions about these important aspects. In fact, failing to address DEI concerns can also lead to a significant loss of candidates who prioritise a workplace environment that values and promotes diversity, equality, and inclusivity.

This means that stock images and ambitious mission statements won’t be enough to attract and hire Gen Z. On top of that, 75% of people in Gen Z said they’d even reconsider applying to a company if they weren’t satisfied with their diversity and inclusion efforts. 

Creating a hiring process that Gen Z will love

As organisations strive to attract and retain Gen Z talent in today’s job market, it’s crucial to acknowledge that traditional recruitment methods often fall short when it comes to engaging this tech-savvy, socially conscious, and highly diverse generation.

As an employer, of course, you don’t want to completely overhaul everything to satisfy younger employees – after all, you also have other generations to consider. 

However, adapting to Gen Z  expectations is crucial as this generation will constitute more than a quarter of the global workforce by 2024. 

However, here are some questions to ask yourself to determine what areas of your current recruitment process might need some improvement:

  1. Does your hiring process offer an interactive and engaging evaluation experience?

  2. Do you gather insights into Gen Z’s capabilities, motivations and potential without the interference of assumptions and unconscious biases?

  3. Are you focusing on objective evaluation of skills and abilities?

  4. Are you actively promoting diversity and inclusion throughout the hiring process?

  5. Does your hiring process ensure an equal playing field for all candidates, regardless of their background?

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