Let's not fool ourselves. Gen Z, the TikTok generation or also called the generation goldfish, is not having an easy time. The young generation has grown up in a time of change, marked by economic turmoil (world financial crisis 2007-2008), environmental crises, a rise in terrorist activities and, last but not least, the global Covid 19 pandemic. These challenging events have had a strong impact on members of Generation Z, who often find themselves anxious, fearful and searching for stability and security.
At the same time, it is the first generation to grow up completely on the internet and mobile phones. And in 2007, mobile phones became smart, thanks to the iPhone. Furthermore, the emergence and popularity of social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok ushered in a new era of digital communication and content creation. Because of this and their upbringing by Generation X, many of them have a strong sense of self and like to communicate directly.
These are all points to consider if you want to communicate successfully with this generation and ultimately recruit them. Communication is the key word here – you need a clear communication strategy! And one that doesn't beat around the bush. Because according to a study by the University of Koblenz-Landau, there is a clear desire among Generation Z for regular dialogue and feedback with their superiors, which requires effective communication skills. Let's take a look at this in detail.
There are several communication channels that have proven effective in reaching Generation Z in recruiting. Here are the best channels:
1. Social Media: Obviously, Generation Z has a strong presence on social media. Where else would they be! Platforms like Instagram, TikTok but also LinkedIn are particularly popular. Their parents are more likely to be on Facebook. Companies can use these channels to communicate your employer branding, share videos and give insights into your company culture.
2. Mobile-optimised websites and apps: the 'mobile natives' are clearly digitally mobile and predominantly use smartphones and tablets to access the internet. See that career sites and application processes are optimised for these mobile devices to provide a smooth user experience. This includes design (Gen Z is particular about aesthetics), fast loading times and short processes.
3. Video content: Short, engaging videos are at the top of the list to capture the attention of TikTok, erm, Gen Z. Companies can create videos for employer branding, insights into everyday work and employees stories. Storytelling is very, very important here and boring videos are the best way to put off candidates.
4. influencer marketing: This topic is not trivial. Working with influencers who are popular with Generation Z can increase the credibility and reach of employer branding. Can. Can also easily go down the drain. Influencers must be in line with the company ethos and employer branding. This requires tact and precise communication, otherwise it can backfire.
5. Personalised communication: This generation, like any other, appreciates an individual approach. Personalised content and communication promote the interest and loyalty of potential applicants. Advertising has known this for a long time! Including names, interests and relevant information in emails, messages and other forms of communication shows interest and flatters everyone, including you!
6. Events and cooperation with educational institutions: Since Generation Z enjoys direct communication, universities, colleges and schools are optimal places to interact with them directly (and especially early). This includes career fairs, giving talks and workshops, and collaborating with educational institutions. Use these opportunities to promote your company and attract young talent.
7. Review platforms: This generation compares more than any other generation - so they often rely on reviews and experiences of others to make decisions. Companies should maintain their presence on review platforms such as Glassdoor and Kununu and encourage positive reviews and testimonials from employees. This is also part of employer branding.
The most effective communication channels for your company may vary depending on the target group, industry and company culture. As mentioned at the beginning, a comprehensive strategy that combines different channels helps to successfully address Generation Z and win them over for recruiting.
How do you attract young tech talent?
Recruiting young talent in the technology sector is a particular challenge, as this generation, especially those with a technical background, have high demands and expectations of potential employers. And that's exactly the strength you want as a company! Here are some proven strategies to successfully attract young tech talent to your company:
Employer branding with focus on technology
As said, the young Gen Z tech talent likes to compare - so it is important to build a strong employer brand that focuses on innovative technologies and exciting projects. Emphasise opportunities for professional development, working with modern technologies and involvement in innovative projects. Because Gen Z also focuses on having a say.
Online presence and social media strategy
A solid online presence, especially on platforms like LinkedIn, GitHub and Stack Overflow, is essential to attract young (as well as other) tech talent. Make sure your social media strategy is tailored to the target audience and offers relevant content and insights into your company and tech projects. Don't forget storytelling, we hereby warned you!
Technical challenges and competitions
Young people are often motivated by technical challenges and competitions. Organise coding competitions, hackathons or technical challenges to test their skills and pique their interest. These activities are the perfect way to meet and get in touch with potential candidates. And you get to see their skills first hand.
Career fairs and networking events
Career fairs and technology conferences are similar to contact via educational institutions. So attend to get in touch directly with young tech talent. These events again provide a platform to present your company, showcase technical projects and meet potential candidates in person. Also, use networking events to build relationships with talent and make long-term connections.
Flexible work models and corporate culture
It is not only Generation Z that appreciates a flexible working environment and an open corporate culture. As much as possible, offer flexible working hours, remote work options and an inclusive company culture that encourages diversity and creativity. Continue to show a genuine commitment (not greenwashing) to social responsibility and sustainability, as these values are becoming increasingly important, especially for Gen Z and, more importantly, our society.
For more intergenerational ways to build a meaningful culture for top developers, see our previous article.
What does Generation Z want?
Finally, it is important to note that not all members of Generation Z have the same preferences, as it is a diverse group of individuals (as it is in every generation). Nevertheless, these are some of the common characteristics and expectations that should be considered when targeting and recruiting young talent. The Deloitte Gen Z and Millennial Survey provides real insights here every year.
Meaningful work: Gen Z is looking for meaningful and fulfilling work where they can make a positive contribution. They want to feel that their work has a purpose and makes a difference in the world. And is sustainable.
Flexibility and work-life balance: They place great value on flexibility in working hours and location. They want to be able to adapt their work to their individual needs and achieve a good work-life balance.
Technology and digitalisation: As Generation Z has grown up with technology, they expect their workplace to offer state-of-the-art technologies and tools. They want to work efficiently and benefit from digital solutions to complete their tasks.
Training and development opportunities: This generation is eager to continuously develop and learn new skills. They look for employers who offer training opportunities and career growth to help them achieve their professional goals. This supports their need for security and stability.
Diversity and inclusion: Gender is a big issue, so they place special emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Companies that promote an inclusive corporate culture and value a diverse workforce are highly rated.
Authentic communication and feedback: Generation Z expects open and transparent communication with their superiors and colleagues. They value regular feedback and the opportunity to actively participate in decision-making processes.
Sustainability and social responsibility: And of course sustainability can't be missing. This generation is very environmentally aware and has a special interest in sustainable practices and social responsibility. They prefer employers who are committed to environmental protection and social sustainability.