From social media to gamification – Best practices for Generation Z Recruitment

As the first generation to grow up in the age of smartphones, social media, and constant connectivity, Generation Z brings a unique set of expectations and preferences to the workforce. To attract and retain top young talent, recruiters must adapt their strategies to meet their needs. From leveraging social media and creating personalized experiences to implementing gamification, there are a variety of best practices that can help companies successfully recruit Gen Z candidates. In this article, we'll explore some of the most effective strategies for reaching and engaging with this emerging workforce demographic. So, whether you're a recruiter, HR professional, or business owner, read on to learn how you can optimize your recruitment efforts for Gen Z.

Michael Suitner
updated on
7 Mar

What is Generation Z?

Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, is the demographic cohort that follows the millennial generation. They are the young people born between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s, meaning that the oldest members are in their mid-20s and many are just entering the workforce.

This group has grown up during a time of great change and upheaval, with issues like climate change, social justice, and mental health at the forefront of public discourse. As a result, Gen Z is way more socially conscious and politically engaged than previous generations, with a strong desire to work for companies that share their values and make a positive impact on society.

Traditional recruitment methods may not resonate with them, and employers must find new and innovative ways to grab their attention. A deep understanding of social media platforms, being able to think outside the box, a strong cultural competence as well as communication skills – these are the strengths recruiters should have if they want to successfully engage with these digital youngsters. Interestingly, employee referrals are the most common job source for people belonging to Generation Z, followed by job boards and company websites. Therefore, employers who focus on creating a strong employee referral program can tap into the vast social networks of their current employees to attract new talent.

How to use social media to attract Gen Z candidates

Social media has become an essential tool for recruiting talent, especially when it comes to attracting candidates from Generation Z. First of all, why are social networks so popular among young people looking for a job?

Well, because it is convenient for them. This generation uses their smartphone for almost everything, so why make an exception when it comes to their career? Also, these young people are highly social and grew up with these platforms, you could call them natural networkers even. Another reason is transparency. Social media makes it easy for people to research and learn about potential employers, company culture and their values. How do companies present themselves online and how are they dealing with feedback? This generation is highly sensitive to interpersonal behavior and are usually very proud of their own moral ethics.

Last but not least, Gen Z values customization and tailored experiences. And that'sexactly what they get on social media – personalized content and job recommendations based on their interests and past behavior. Other than older generations, they welcome these conveniences brought by technology and worry less about privacy issues.

So how can you use social media to attract Gen Z candidates? Aim to create a strong employer brand that aligns with Gen Z's values and really make an effort to showcase your company culture. Young people love moving images. Use video content to engage and inform candidates. This can also make you stand out from other employers or recruiters. Be as responsive and authentic as possible in your social media interactions with potential candidates but also overall. If you want to take it even further, invest in targeted advertising to reach this young audience. Finally, use hashtags to help your content reach the right candidates and build your social media presence. By implementing these strategies, you can effectively use social media to attract and engage top GenZ talent, and build a strong pipeline of candidates for your organization.

Creating a personalized recruitment experience for Gen Z

When it comes to recruiting Gen Z, it’s all about making them feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. So, instead of a boring old job description, send them a personalized horoscope that predicts a bright future for them at your company. Or, create a virtual reality experience that transports them to a world where they’re working alongside their dream team, using the latest technology and saving the world from certain doom. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much, but you get the idea. If you want to attract Gen Z, you’ve got to think outside the box and create a personalized experience that speaks to their unique interests and aspirations. 

Gen Z is all about individuality, so to really connect with them, you have to show that you're not just a faceless corporation, but care about your employees. Another important reason to try this approach: Personalized recruitment experiences can lead to higher retention rates and better job performance. When a candidate feels like they have been seen and heard during the recruitment process, they are more likely to feel invested in the company and motivated to do their best work. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and ultimately, better business outcomes. 

Therefore, avoid using generic job descriptions and instead, tailor your messaging to the specific candidate – check. Leverage video content to get their attention – check. Why not get some help and use chatbots also? They are a great way to provide personalized support and guidance throughout the recruitment process. You can set them up to answer common questions or offer recommendations for next steps. And did you know that there are even tools which combine both, autogenerated replies and live chat? Check out our Let’s Connect application for recruitment for example and try it for free. It just takes little time to set up and can help you improve your candidate experience.

If you even want to take it to the next level, try creating a personalized landing page for potential candidates. You then create a creative social media campaign for example and voilà, you will definitely get this generations’ attention.

Building a strong employer brand for Generation Z

In today's competitive job market, building a strong employer brand is crucial for attracting and retaining future top talent. This is especially true for Gen Z candidates, who are looking for more than just a paycheck. As established above, they want to work for companies that align with their values and offer opportunities for growth and development. So how can companies build a strong employer brand for Gen Z?

Values, values, values. Showcasing your company's personality has never been this important. Very popular examples are: diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, work-life balance and innovation. But we have to warn you: don’t just make up anything just because you think it’s what these young people want to hear from you. Just try to detect your organization’s strengths and think about how you can derive value from them. It doesn't make sense to oversell or over promise something, because in the end everyone will be disappointed and frustrated.

The Generation Z is searching for purposeful work. They want it to have a meaning or change the world for the better. You won't catch them with a boring nine to five job, they love getting involved and further, they love growth opportunities. Maybe it seems like they are overly confident with little experience, but on the other hand: why not give them a chance to prove themselves and experience little successes early on for motivational purposes?

Last but not least: Make sure your recruitment process is streamlined, efficient, and respectful of candidates' time. Not getting back to a young candidate can cost you. Respectful behavior towards each other is very high on the list of Gen Z when it comes to looking for a new employer.

The importance of diversity and inclusion in Generation Z recruitment

Generation Z is the most diverse generation yet, and they place a high value on inclusivity and social justice. They want to work for companies that value and celebrate diversity, and they expect their employers to be socially responsible.

Diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords to them, they are key drivers of business success. In their opinion, a diverse workforce brings different perspectives, ideas, and experiences to the table, which can lead to innovation, creativity, and better decision-making. A culture of inclusion also fosters a sense of belonging and engagement among employees, which can improve retention and productivity.

To attract and retain Gen Z talent, it is essential for companies to take these values inconsideration and try to integrate them in their recruitment and retention strategies. This means creating a diverse candidate pool, removing biases from the hiring process, and creating an inclusive work environment where all employees feel valued and respected. Companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion will not only attract top Gen Z talent but also build a strong and successful workforce for the future.

Generation Z communication style: How to tailor your messaging

Yes, this generation even communicates differently. Recruiters can tailor their messaging to these people by using social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, which are popular among them. They can also use short, snappy messages that get straight to the point and incorporate emojis and other visual elements. Or try sending a video message instead. Gen Z appreciates everything extraordinary and loves a creative approach in recruiting.

What could such a message to a candidate look like you ask? We came up with an example to give you a better idea:

"Hey Daniel, we noticed that you're interested in digital currencies and NFT. Our team is looking for driven and innovative individuals like you to join our family. We believe in creating a work culture where you can grow and achieve your goals. Let's work together to make a difference! #joinourteam #innovatewithus #futureleaders" 

That’s enough? Yep, this message contains everything you need in order to catch a young person's attention if they are open to a new job opportunity. It’s personal, addresses the candidate’s interests, showcases the company's values and enhances the message with catchy hashtags.

How gamification can boost productivity and performance among Generation Z

By incorporating elements of game design into your work tasks, you can tap into Gen Z's competitive spirit and drive their productivity through the roof. Suddenly, that spreadsheet isn't just a bunch of numbers and formulas, it's a race to the finish line. And who doesn't love a little competition? Plus, with instant feedback and rewards, employees feel like a superstar every time they complete a task.

Deloitte, for example, developed a virtual game called "Deloitte Leadership Academy" which is designed to teach employees leadership skills through interactive case studies and simulations. Microsoft uses gamification in its employee training programs to make the learning process more engaging and interactive. Employees earn badges and points for completing various training tasks.

By incorporating elements of game design into the workplace, such as leaderboards, points systems and badges, organizations can create a sense of competition and achievement that resonates with this generation. Gamification can also help break down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable parts, making it easier for Generation Z employees to stay focused and productive. Overall, incorporating gamification into the workplace can help boost productivity and performance among this group of people, while also creating a more engaging and enjoyable work environment.

Retaining Generation Z employees once they join your organization

Retaining Gen Z employees can be tricky, but don’t worry, we have got some tips for you. With the right approach, you can keep them happy and engaged for years to come.This might seem odd to you but make sure you're offering plenty of perks like ping-pong tables, bean bag chairs and snacks. Google has implemented things like these a long time ago. Some employers are worried that their employees will spend too much time taking breaks and goofing around. This is a completely wrong perspective since it is natural to not work eight hours straight. Youngsters get inspired by spending some time with colleagues and why not over a game of table soccer? They are almost allergic to companies trying to take advantage of them. It is important to them to be seen and valued as individuals and need a certain amount of flexibility.

Generation Z is drawn to digitalization. So don’t forget to embrace their love of allthings tech by setting up a virtual reality room for brainstorming sessions (because nothing says teamwork like battling zombies together). Make sure to provide high-speed internet, powerful laptops and cutting-edge software to keep them satisfied. Gen Zers love games, so why not gamify tasks and projects to make them more engaging? This can include turning mundane tasks into challenges or using gamification tools to incentivize employees and encourage friendly competition.

 Another important recommendation is that you make sure you're providing regular feedback, even if it's just a simple "thumbs up" emoji. Why is that such a thing with them? Gen Z has grown up in a world where instant gratification and constant feedback are the norm. Feedback is crucial to their personal growth and development and once again, it makes them feel valued.

In conclusion, recruiting and retaining Gen Z employees requires a different approach compared to previous generations. The use of social media, personalized experiences, and gamification can make a big difference in attracting and keeping this tech-savvy, diverse, and feedback-driven generation. Employers who understand and adapt to Gen Z's unique characteristics, values, and communication styles are likely to have a competitive edge in the ever-changing job market. By building a strong employer brand, showcasing company values, and creating a culture of inclusion, employers can establish a workplace where Gen Z employees can thrive and contribute to the organization's success.