SmartRecruiters Blog

College Recruiting: How to Zoom in on Generation Z

I was happy so many attended our recent webinar, “10 Tips to Get Campus Recruiting Right.” That’s because as I continue to work with our clients on improving college recruiting, I see plenty of practices that need to change to better engage with today’s students.

In the webinar, which I hosted with Elizabeth Pino, Enterprise Account Manager at Glassdoor, we explored some of these best practices. The main challenge? A major shift in communicating with a new generation now joining the workforce — Generation Z.

Far different than older cohorts, Gen Z is much more interested in how your organization interacts with the world at large and the global community, and a lot less interested in mere job descriptions. Here’s why:

Gen Z (those born since 1995) have grown up in a digital world, so they don’t have much patience for companies that rely on archaic phone and email communications. They’re natives at interacting on Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube — and when it comes to careers, sites like Glassdoor.

On the flip side, it’s a bit ironic that while this generation (with an attention span of about 8 seconds) values short “snackable” content, they also tend to value genuine engagement and interaction. More than other generations, students want to engage with you in a discussion about who you are as an organization, not review some dry list of qualifications and skills and then click an “apply” button.

Employer Value Proposition: What sets you apart?

Just as companies offer value propositions for their products and services that represent significance to customers, successful organizations who acquire the very best talent via college recruiting have a clear employment-related value proposition integrated into their employer brand.

So to attract Gen Z, communicating your organizational values and mission becomes more important than presenting specific jobs. This extends far beyond a business context to embrace how you address wider community and global issues.

One example: Here at SmartRecruiters, we take caring for our planet seriously, doing all we can to reduce our carbon footprint. The Gen Z candidates I talk to appreciate our values, seeing our mission as more on what we care about and less on about what we do.

Does that matter? It sure does. Mission-driven companies demonstrate 30 percent more innovation and enjoy a 40 percent higher level of retention than other companies.

As I noted, even though social media is second nature for Gen Z, they still crave human interaction, placing a high value on meeting the people they’ll be working with. And although you may be offering a job, remember that you are also offering young people an idea to believe in.

Put yourself in the Gen Z zone

As you plan for college recruiting, think about these characteristics. Rewrite job descriptions to be more evocative about what candidates will bring to your organization and what they’ll actually do instead of required skills and duties to be performed. Sell the candidate on the role and what makes your company great.

Other success drivers include participating far beyond campus career fairs — engaging with students through internships and other college events. Introduce students to recent alumni who have joined your company. If you’ve already engaged in discussions with students, the career fair becomes a chance to continue, not just begin, a dialog with promising candidates.

We covered plenty more in our webinar on college recruiting, so view it now.

Just remember that as Gen Z enters the workforce, college recruiting isn’t just an event, but a process. Engaging with students early and often will help you be more effective at attracting the most talented candidates.

Nupur Vilas