They’re here. Setting the scene to engage Gen Z

Sandrine Miller
Head of Emerging Talent Consulting
Alexander Mann Solutions
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Headlines which proclaim the human attention span has fallen to just eight seconds have caused many to criticise the fickleness of the younger generations. However, experts believe this highly evolved ‘eight second filter’ has been developed to enable individuals to separate useful information from the rampant noise, prevalent in the digital age in which we live – and HR leaders must build communications which reflect this.    

If Millennials (Gen Y) are digital natives, Gen Z candidates take it to another level. Those beginning to enter the workforce today were in junior and elementary school when the original iPhone was launched back in 2007 – they are not aware of a time before touchscreens and where 24/7 connectivity was out of the norm.

Consequently, engaging post-Millennials requires a strategy which is firmly centred around technology. And this is particularly true at the initial stages of attraction when big brands invest considerable resources in order to vie for the attention of the brightest graduates and school leavers.

Attracting high-potential individuals relies on a strong and compelling employer value proposition which is communicated through relevant channels. Notably, Gen Z candidates have an innate understanding of when they are being sold to, so authenticity is key. Sharing stories of existing employees through social media, which are then organically amplified through personal networks, for example, is likely to spike interest in individuals who filter out paid-for promoted posts and generic marketing messages. It’s also worth noting that research suggests those under 24 are quitting Facebook in favour of social networks like Snapchat, Instagram, and Whisper, so regularly reviewing where your target audience is active will help to mitigate against wastage at the earliest stages in the recruitment process.

Beyond a seamless digital attraction strategy, Gen Z individuals also expect a fully automated selection process and rich-media and gamification during assessments. When you consider that 79% of Gen Z consumers display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices, it is also crucial that all stages are optimised for mobile.

Gen Z are also adept researchers. They know how to self-educate and find information, as such HR leaders must ensure marketing messages are consistent beyond their own channels, for example, by checking feedback sites such as Glassdoor and the Student Room. It’s useless pumping out one version of a narrative when other sources imply quite the opposite, especially if that other source is viewed as unbiased. Review external brand perception through the eyes of your potential candidates – and use the findings as a catalyst to improve systems and processes.    

According to PointSource, 84% of leaders say their organisation has outdated legacy systems that impact the ability to improve their digital experiences. Nonetheless when it comes to attracting those just entering the workforce, this is an area businesses simply cannot afford to ignore.

A recent survey of the top 100 graduate employers by Highfliers found that 63% believed improving students’ perceptions of their organisation was a key challenge, while 54% said increasing the quality of the graduates recruited was a priority. In response, three-fifths of graduate employers confirmed they had stepped-up use of social media this year. Is your organisation hitting the mark when it comes to engaging Gen Z candidates?    

About Sandrine Miller

Sandrine Miller

Sandrine has worked with Alexander Mann Solutions for eight years, and has been Global Head of Operations for Emerging Talent for three years. With a strong track record in change and programme management, she is responsible for leading, defining and delivering Early Career resourcing programmes and solutions for key UK and global accounts . Part of her role is also to develop best practice early talent operating models in strategic regions (school leaver, apprenticeship, intern and graduate talent programmes) and lead a team of over 160 campus recruiters with direct people management for small senior team. Her client projects span industries (Healthcare and Life Sciences, Engineering, Telecommunications, IT and Banking) and geographies (Europe, APAC, US). Tenacious, resilient, and a natural team leader, she works well in challenging environments to deliver at pace without compromising quality.


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