Gen Z is the latest generation to enter the workforce, and in the coming years, they’re projected to make up a larger percentage of global workers than the Boomer generation. That’s why forward-thinking employers are already focusing their attention on recruiting these up-and-comers through early career talent programs.
But don’t expect to use the same Recruitment Marketing tactics on Gen Z! This generation is unique and you’ll need different strategies to get their attention.
That’s because Gen Z is slated to be the most diverse and most educated generation yet. They’re also the world’s first digital natives. Gen-Zers are extremely savvy, pragmatic and often reject traditions and stereotypes. They see right through corporate messaging, so when it comes to employers, they'll hold you to a new standard of providing authentic, valuable information about your organization.
So how can you recruit Gen Z candidates? You’re likely developing partnerships with colleges and sourcing early career talent for your internships and roles, or maybe even trying new social media platforms like TikTok. No matter which channels you use, the key to connecting with this talent audience is getting your content right.
The messaging and content that will attract and engage students and early career talent are different from every other type of Recruitment Marketing that you currently do. From the platforms they use to the tone of voice, to what influences them to take action, Gen Zers will push you to rethink your content approach.
Data collected by Scholars from more than 1.2 million college students and recent grads over the last 12 months shows what questions Gen Z talent has for prospective employers and what areas they want to learn more about. Based on that data, here are 10 topics that emerge from Gen Z FAQs along with recommendations for how you can create content that answers these questions.
10 Content Topics and Messages You Need to Engage GEN Z.
#1: What are the best ways to cold message a recruiter? And what should I say in the message that will actually get them to respond?
Students and early career talent want to understand what platforms they should leverage to network with your recruiters and hiring managers. Email and LinkedIn are obvious. But Gen Zers are also active on Twitter, Instagram and Clubhouse — do you have an employer brand presence on these channels too and are you and your recruiters leveraging them to connect with talent?
How to Answer:
Share an example of a message from a candidate that stood out to you and talks about why it caught your attention.
You can do this in many ways but here are a few thought starters...
- A short video talking about the message and what you liked about it.
- A screenshot of the message (make sure to remove any candidate information) with an explanation of why it was successful.
- An interview with the candidate who sent the message having them explain their process for reaching out to recruiters.
#2: What are the different types of jobs in your industry?
Many students and early career talent may not have previous exposure to the inner workings of an organization. While they may have had a part-time job or internship before, they may not know all the other areas of a business and how their skills and experience can translate into potential roles for them.
This is where your content is critical to helping Gen Zers picture themselves working at your organization and, importantly for this audience, how they can make an impact.
How to Answer:
- Create a write-up for each of your departments and include an explanation of each role, and feature this on Team Pages on your careers site.
- Have employees from across the company record short videos of themselves talking about what they studied in school and how that translates (or not) to what they do now at your company. Try to choose employees who may not have traditional titles that students would are already familiar with.
#3: What does XYZ job actually mean? What will I be doing on a day-to-day basis?
Candidates often like to see A Day in the Life content, and that’s especially true for Gen Z. For example, while some prospective candidates may have heard the job title “Business Analyst” and may even have some understanding of what it is, they probably don’t know what it means to be a Business Analyst at YOUR organization.
Providing a realistic job preview and creating day-in-the-life content helps ensure you're getting a candidate with the right expectations. Video works really well here. And no need to get fussy — unfiltered videos captured on an iPhone can be just as effective as professionally produced videos.
How to Answer:
- Have an employee take over your company's Instagram story for a day and take your audience through their day at your company.
- Film short videos of employees talking about different parts of their day. Make it interesting by asking unique questions like “What do you do on a Tuesday afternoon?”
#4: How should I follow up with a company after an event or interview?
Most recruiters receive hundreds of messages per day — especially after a recruiting event. Students want to understand how their messages can cut through the clutter and how long they should wait before following up.
They also want to understand how to best follow up after an interview. Similarly to events, students want to know when is the appropriate time to reach out again and how frequently they should check in on the status of their candidacy.
How to Answer:
- Create a short video that you can send to all event attendees with guidance on what you’re looking for from them. This should include tips like how to reach your recruiters, what to include in their job application and what to expect in your interview process.
- Create a resource (video, article, podcast) that you share on your careers website or through email that clearly explains your full recruiting process. This will help set expectations and guide candidates through the journey without having too many questions.
- Have employees share short clips explaining what they did in the interview process that helped them get hired.
#5: How should I use LinkedIn and social media in my job search?
It’s not just companies and recruiters creating content on LinkedIn and social media to attract candidates to their organization anymore — early career talent is also here vying for the attention of those exact companies and recruiters! They want to understand the best ways to leverage their
LinkedIn and social media accounts. Here are a few questions they typically have about best practices:
- What should I post on LinkedIn to grab a recruiter’s attention?
- How can I optimize my LinkedIn profile?
- Is LinkedIn Learning legit? Will it enhance my profile?
- How can I use my school's alumni network?
Helping them answer these questions doesn’t just help your employer brand (as you demonstrate that you care about their success) but it will also help improve your overall quality of candidates! Plus, when prospective candidates have high-quality profiles and content, this can help you better assess if they’d be a good fit for your organization.
How to Answer:
- Create a video of a recruiter reviewing a LinkedIn profile. They should highlight areas that are well done as well as areas that could use improvement.
#6: How can I get the most out of my college experience?
Many students go to college hoping to improve their career opportunities, but landing their dream job isn’t a given. With the economy still recovering, new grads may find the job market isn’t what they expected. So, students want to know what they should be doing now to set themselves up for success. Here are some frequently asked questions that students have on their minds:
- Are there particular classes I should take to support my future career path?
- Should I take classes in college that don't directly relate to my major?
- What student organizations should I participate in to enhance my resume?
- Is traditional college still viewed more positively than a boot camp or other forms of alternative education and training?
- Does my internship have to be a traditional internship or could it be something like working as a waiter, camp counselor or other general labor position?
- How do employers and recruiters view externships, fellowships and unpaid internships?
A great way to answer these questions is by tapping into your recent grads who work for your company.
How to Answer:
- Interview your new grad employees about what they did in college and the classes they took. Use this content to create write-ups and short videos that you share on your social channels and your careers site.
- Create a 2-minute video of recruiters explaining what stands out to them on a resume or in an interview.
#7: How can I make sure I ace my interview?
Let’s face it, interviewing is probably the most nerve-wracking aspect of the job search for everyone, no matter how experienced you are! One of the reasons why is because every organization approaches interviews differently.
If you want your early career talent to be successful here, then consider creating content that provides them with coaching and tips so that they can be fully prepared to ace their interview. Because a confident candidate is a successful candidate! Here are a few common questions that Gen Z talent has about interviews:
- What questions should I ask a prospective employer?
- How should I prepare for the interview?
- What’s different about a virtual interview? Any tips to prepare?
- What is the STAR method?
You can send this type of content to candidates 1-2 weeks before their interview to help them prepare.
How to Answer:
- Record a mock interview and give feedback about each question/answer. Splice this up into multiple short clips so you can share content about how to answer specific questions.
- Create a checklist of how to prepare on the day of your interview (what to wear, making sure the technology is good for virtual interviews, etc.).
#8: What does your company culture look like?
As with any candidate, Gen Z talent wants to understand your company culture, but not just our traditional interpretation of office culture. Let’s take a look at a few of the topics that this talent audience is interested in learning about to gain culture cues:
- Employee resource groups (ERGs)
- DEI initiatives
- Community involvement
- How the company celebrates success
- What the “day-to-day” looks like
Your career site and your social media channels play a huge part in communicating culture and values to candidates. Consider using a platform that enables you to add podcasts and videos to your site in real-time, especially if the stories are told directly by your employees.
How to Answer:
- Record a podcast episode discussing DEI or sustainability from different employee perspectives.
- Produce a video from social images shared during the company's Day of Giving to highlight how the company supports volunteerism.
#9: What does a good resume look like?
Early career candidates know that a strong resume can help them get noticed, but they aren’t always sure how to present the skills and experiences they’ve gained so far. A big challenge is that what’s considered a “good resume” can vary from organization to organization — and even from recruiter to recruiter! You can help out here by providing tips such as:
- Format (ah, the debate as old as time — is a 1 or 2-page resume better?)
- What information to include (particularly if you have zero to little job experience)
- How to customize a resume for your company’s jobs
Consider asking one of your recruiters to host a LinkedIn Live and show examples of resume Do’s and Don’ts. Don’t forget to take questions and engage with your viewers!
How to Answer:
- Do a live resume review with a recruiter and invite candidates to attend. Record the event and share it on social media, website, email, etc.
- Create a short video series that asks employees to share their #1 tip for a resume. Do this across multiple departments since engineering resumes are different from non-technical resumes.
#10: What’s the best way to network as a college student?
Many students and new grads understand that the best way to get a job is through networking. That’s why they are actively looking for tips on networking basics and tactics that will work for both virtual and in-person events. In particular, Gen Z talent wants to understand the best ways to network with fellow students, alumni, professors and people from your organization so that they can land their dream job.
How to Answer:
- Create a shareable infographic with a networking checklist of effective ways that students can network — virtual and in-person, while in school and after they graduate. Think outside the box here!
- Create an explainer video showing how to virtually network on LinkedIn. Include an example of an outreach message that a student could use to get someone to actually respond to them.
Time to put this into action.
As you can see, Gen Z is a completely unique generation, with different drivers and preferences from the Boomers and Millennials before them. The way we attract and recruit this demographic needs to be completely different from our regular recruitment and Recruitment Marketing tactics. If you want to be successful with this generation, then it’s time to get creative and try new strategies and channels to deploy content tailored just to them.
The tips covered above should help you create your own Gen Z candidate persona, and identify the topics, messages, and questions that your content should address. Pretty soon you'll be on your way to creating the content you need to attract and engage the next generation of talent!