How to effectively reach Gen Z talent
This time of year, social media feeds are flooded with photos of beaming graduates in brightly colored caps and gowns. Balloons tied to mailboxes mark celebrations of bright futures ahead. Last year, it was my turn to wear the cap and gown. I smiled in the pictures and toasted to new beginnings. But, truthfully, I didn’t know where to begin.
I had always imagined this moment through rose-colored glasses: I’d instantly land the dream job at the dream company. What I hadn’t considered is that most organizations would claim to be the dream employer. They would promise me the same exciting things – the team outings, the cool office space, the company perks. Opportunity suddenly became opportunity overload.
Spoiler alert: I eventually got the job. Next month marks my one-year anniversary at ThirtyThree as Executive Assistant to Nicole Dorskind – Managing Director. We have the team outings and the cool office space in the East Village, but we also have so much more than that. Here, I can own my role and gain exposure to areas within the business that interest me. I have some great professional mentors, including Nicole, who have guided me in my career path.
“So, how can employers effectively reach Gen Z talent?” said everyone, ever. As part of this generation, I’m here to set the record straight. Throughout my job search, which included everything from career fairs (so many careers fairs) to careers sites, I’ve seen the best, the worst, and the just bland. Here’s what stood out.
Choose reps carefully: The most buzzworthy booths at careers fairs were the ones that offered meaningful conversations. Visually appealing marketing materials and trendy swag drew in the initial crowds; but if recruiters were disengaged or only focused on getting as many names on an email list as possible, students quickly caught on to it (and were on to the next organization). Brand representatives who shared their personal stories and experiences within the business were the ones I was most eager to speak with – and then rush home to apply for a role at the company.
Get social: It’s no secret that Gen Z and social media go hand in hand, so you should make sure your brand has a social presence that highlights the exciting things about working for your business. ThirtyThree’s social channels paint a picture of a young, vibrant, and fun agency, which made me eager to join. It’s important to note that companies should make sure what’s portrayed on social aligns with business as usual. I’m here today because from the moment I first walked in for my interview the energy in the office matches what I’d experienced online.
Be human: Admittedly, most of my peers are glued to their phones. So, you’re clever to get creative with technology to communicate with us (Snapchat filters, memes, VR, the list goes on). But, in a time when real-life relationships can fall secondary to digital ones, it’s important to make sure you add a personal element to these campaigns. Showcasing your people from various backgrounds and roles who have been successful in their own ways allows us to put ourselves in their shoes. We’ll feel a stronger connection to those emotive stories and that feeling will stick with us.
Think about job postings: Let’s be real: the process of finding a job is a job in itself. And, many of the postings I came across were lengthy, confusing, and unappealing. If I didn’t tick every box, I wouldn’t apply. Job postings should not be one-size-fits-all. Consider the type of person you’d most like to work for your organization and make sure you’re speaking directly to them. Detail the most important things they can bring to the table but don’t forget to sell them on what’s in it for them to join you.
If attracting and retaining the best and brightest from the class of 2019 is one of your HR objectives, consider this: if people don’t understand and truly believe the reasons they should come along for the ride, they won’t join you. The more authentically you convey the rewards of working for your business, the easier it will be for candidates to determine whether or not they’re the right fit. Everyone claims to be the dream employer. Instead, why not showcase the people you’ve empowered to live their dreams?