3 Fresh Perspectives to Help Your Company in Recruiting the Next Generation of Talent

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How to unpack what’s new with Gen-Z to make your business a top choice.

When you’re looking to hire younger workers, consider this: Gen-Z works from a people-first perspective. They want to know if the company they’re joining aligns with their values. They want to understand the company’s corporate social responsibility and impact commitments. Companies that can deliver on this will have a leg up in the fight for emerging talent. Some things to consider:

Early Engagement Is the New Internship

Invest in early engagement programs that allow students to learn about your company, decide they’re interested, and know what will be expected of them, and then provide ways for them to build requisite skill sets to become successful when applying to internships and full-time roles. Earlier on, showcase your people, not just your positions. First-year students and sophomores are more likely to connect with this approach as it’s much less intimidating and starts the recruitment funnel with a reminder that there are human beings — not just applicants and hiring managers — on both sides of the process. These efforts will make direct internship and full-time recruiting more efficient and equitable. When your company talks about “conversion,” push them to think about this as an early engagement to internship conversation, not only internship to full-time.

“Un-campus” Recruiting Is the New Campus Recruiting

Consulting is now more of a job function, not an industry that requires students to come from consulting-track schools. But the assumption from students who haven’t been directly engaged is that they are still not eligible for consideration. Same for finance — helping students understand that a large percentage of internships and entry-level roles are in nonrevenue and engineering areas, thus not requiring technical finance skill sets, will perhaps allow you to more meaningfully engage with the close to 80 percent of HBCUs that don’t offer a finance major.

Focus on finding ways to engage students from schools that don’t have traditional feeder programs based on majors and degrees and that aren’t part of your historical campus-based efforts. Celebrate these connection points — nonprofit partnerships, tech platforms, and others — as much as you do your campus programs so that students from all backgrounds and experiences feel included and prioritized. This will help you connect not only to new campuses but also to the majority of students who are on your campuses but not engaging with their career centers.

Candidate Requirements Are the New Position Requirements

Start with the position description, and throughout the entire recruitment funnel, focus on and prioritize what candidates are looking for as much as what you’re looking for in a candidate. At every opportunity, communicate clearly the things that empower and motivate Gen-Z: financial and professional security, transparent and clear communication, community, culture, and value alignment.

For financial security, do your best to list your comp regardless of whether it’s required by law. Highlight benefits like bonuses and housing and relocation stipends, and be prepared to provide these in advance, not as a reimbursement. Candidates often have to pass on phenomenal well-paying roles in large cities because they’re not able to put required housing deposits down months in advance.

Professional security is powered by transparent and open communication. Expectations should be clearly outlined providing a visible pathway to success. Upward mobility for Gen-Z is three-dimensional: lateral, upward, and outside.

They’re looking for an employer who is invested in helping them get to the next level whether it’s in their current role, a lateral role, or even outside of the company.

This generation is committed to social justice and to knowing an employer is committed to advancing DEI in the workplace. Some may want to bring their full selves into work each day, some might not, and some may want an environment where they can continue to discover who they fully are as people and professionals. They need to know an employer will value and respect them as people first and empower them professionally.