‘Extra’, ‘Fit’, ‘Fire’: Do you speak Gen Z?
If you remember Take That the first time round, then you might feel a bit of a generation gap with today’s Gen Z.
But for recruiters, this generation is more important than ever. They’ll make up a whopping 27% of the workforce by 2025, so engaging with them is non-negotiable if you want to attract and retain new talent.
But getting a new generation on board is easier said than done – especially when they’ve grown up with communication styles that never sleep.
So how do you speak to Gen Z in a way that’s authentic and makes you their employer of choice? Well, the good news is that you don’t need to be fluent Z to connect with your future talent. But you do need to understand what they like – and what they don’t.
So here’s a few things I’ve noticed to get you started.
Zers don’t like inauthenticity…
One thing Gen Z hates is any whiff of a brand being inauthentic. In fact, they can sniff it out a mile off. So while I’m not suggesting you use Z speak in your job ads, career site and social media posts (peng job, anyone?), corporate jargon won’t cut it either.
Aim for genuine, straightforward communication. Be transparent about your values and make sure they can see you living up to them. Be honest about your culture, showing it in action in videos, testimonials and employer profiles. The more you speak to Gen Z like an equal, the more they’ll believe you’re the real deal.
…And they HATE poor UX design
The average Gen Zer has an attention span of just 8 seconds, compared with 12 seconds for the average Millennial or Gen X. That’s not their fault – it’s simply the world they’ve been brought up in. So poor UI/UX design – from slow loading speeds to dodgy mobile compatibility – is going to be a massive turn-off.
They also hate pop-ups. In fact, these interruptions to their user experience were voted the biggest online annoyance by Gen Z web browsers. That doesn’t mean you can’t use pop-ups at all, or course. After all, they’re a great way of starting the conversation. It just means you need to be careful how you do.
Make sure the colours and typography of your pop-up are consistent with your brand, that they display properly on mobile and that you don’t show the same pop-up to the user more than twice.
If you don’t, you’ll get nothing but bounce.
But they do like interaction and personalisation…
Gen Zers are used to having things personalised just for them, and they’re also used to being entertained. Include interaction on your career site in the form of quizzes and social media integration so your user feels instantly engaged with your brand.
Optimise your website for longer strings of keywords, too. Gen Z often use smart digital voice assistants like Alexa or Siri for full-question searches, so long-tail SEO is important.
Chatbots and assistants can also help get Gen Z on board, as they’re often browsing at a time when offices are closed. The quicker they can get their answers the better.
…And diversity and inclusion
It goes without saying, but diversity shouldn’t just be something you talk about. By all means highlight it on your career site and in your values, but showing it in your visuals is just as important.
Include images as diverse as your organisation, and think about neurodiverse and disabled candidates, too. You should even be looking into optimising your career site for AAA compliance – in other words, making it accessible to the visually impaired and those with learning disabilities. If everyone matters, make sure you show it.
Oh, and they don’t hang out where you do
If you need to recruit Gen Z candidates but are still only posting social ads on Facebook, you need to think again. Gen Z prefer TikTok and Snapchat – and there’s no reason why you can’t reach them here.
Snapchat is the fastest growing platform and is a unique opportunity for users to get real, raw access to your brand. Show behind the scenes of your workplace, highlight your brand’s personality and share those in-between moments. There are no filtered Instagram posts here, so be you and show candidates the parts they don’t see on other social networks.
Make sure you share your Snapcode on other platforms to build your following, too. Snapchat is a unique opportunity to get to know your potential candidates, and offers a great structure for personalisation. Talking about a new role on other platforms? Snapchat’s your chance to take the conversation deeper through audio chat bubbles and video chat bubbles within the private messaging section.
And don’t forget YouTube. Unlike previous generations, who instinctively search for answers on Google, Gen Z prefers to watch videos, so YouTube is their search engine. This is your opportunity to reach the next generation with snappy videos, employer branding films and employee testimonials that share your EVP.
But they do like to show up in real life
Yep, that’s right. Gen Z aren’t always on their phones. You can catch up with them in real life, too, as they want more opportunities to interact with brands in a more personal, meaningful way. Think events, pop-up shops, campus experiences and other interactions.
Communicating with Gen Z isn’t just about learning the lingo. It’s about finding out what they like, how they connect and what they expect from their careers. Then it’s about finding them – on their platforms in the way they want to be engaged.
And you won’t do that from Facebook.